Decade of deception
New York Times columnist Frank Rich has written an apt and important summary of the past decade, and it's not pretty. In short, Rich believes that the 21st century -- to date -- belongs to the spinners and the sham artists.
If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, (Ben) Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled. The men who played us for suckers, whether at Citigroup or Fannie Mae, at the White House or Ted Haggard’s megachurch, are the real movers and shakers of this century’s history so far. That’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy).
Here in Canada, we can boast, I guess, that we're not as easily fooled -- we didn't join the Iraq war to search for imaginary weapons of mass destruction and our banking system kept us insulated from the worst of the damage of the U.S. market meltdown. But Rich's (kind of gloomy) retrospective is a good reminder of the need for healthy skepticism.