Dear Mr. Dimon:
Thank you for writing your recent piece entitled, The United States is still in an Extraordinarily Good Position.
It seems to have taken a
page right out of your chat with Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign
Relations event in October of last year.
I honestly can't say that I concur with many of the 'facts' stated in
this article or the CFR conversation, but for the sake of a more
constructive discourse, I commend you on your positivity, and will also
say that you have made some very salient points about policy reform,
regulatory dynamics, and even make an interesting case for 'market
That said, you mentioned two critical things in the CFR talk which beg extensive exploration: collaboration and
Let's assume for a moment that our debt woes can
be managed, and that capital and liquidity can establish more stable
foundations even in the most volatile (and seemingly unmanageable)
markets like Greece or Spain. Let's say that China's systemic risk can be stabilized
through its currency offsets (more like manipulations and swaps, but who's judging?), and that 'easing' can be achieved without
having to print more fiat. Let's say that investments in emerging
markets will include broader efforts to build infrastructure, schools,
better technology, environmental solutions, etc. Let's say that America
can benefit from all of this not only as an 'economy on the rebound' but
also as a progenitor of innovations that drive growth and spawn
alternative forms of credit, lending and investment, in addition to creating more jobs.
Perhaps the notion of 'free markets' can be revitalized, if not
reinvented altogether. We can 'change the story', as you've alluded to
in various interviews. If, per Joseph Campbell, metaphors are such catalysts for change, then perhaps we really are looking at a paradigmatic shift in the way the world operates, materially and euphamistically... and better yet, spiritually.
But all of this will require that banking itself changes.
Central banking, in particular, must change. Putting conspiracy theories aside, we would expect people like
yourself to use their power and influence to force the hand of reform at
the highest levels of economic hegemony. The protocol of banking is not so much
the issue; to the contrary, investment banking is a prized discipline
when used with better intentions, and was of course a key part in how
this country (the U.S.) developed a market engine in the the first
place. Central banking has experienced very empowered phases of
existence, such as the systemic growth Canada went through in the 70s.
Yet we (the people) have been consistently let down by the
calamities in trading, grand abuses of debt instruments (like
derivatives) and grossly misrepresented notions of what happens when
lenders and borrowers are essentially played against each other in a
marketplace (call it collusion if you like). It seems that causality and correlation are confused for
one another, or put into elusive positions, to which austerity
measures take on polarizing perspectives. In other, more sensational and slightly horrific ways, they actually reorient the social fabric of geographies 'on the fringe'. (take, for example, the uptick of anti-semitic Zionists in parts of eastern Europe...).