A striking feature of the speculative attack on the Hong Kong dollar is the outrageous lack of transparency and accountability of the speculative 'movers and shakers'.
This is always an astonishing feature of such attacks. Bizarrely, it continues to be a feature which arouses little comment. Why is this so? The hedge funds and other speculators and their banks are not from Mars; they are mere Earthlings like the rest of us. Yet, time and again, one reads references to grey (or is it green?) spectres, often not even fully identified, moving billions. If they are identified, almost invariably they cannot be contacted for comment or refuse to confirm or deny their activities.
Of course, these creatures of the free market are often in the forefront when market players are demanding greater transparency and accountability from governments and regulators around the globe. Yet they conduct their own business in near total secrecy. How can this be? These operators are making decisions which affect millions of people overnight, often drastically and adversely.
They wield awesome power. That really says it all. It may be that these money-movements are appropriate given certain economic circumstances. What is utterly inappropriate is that any person or entity possessed of such power can deploy it in secret or within their own shadows. We expect this mode of operation from organised crime. So-called legitimate businesses should take place in the open.
The principle here is remarkably simple: all serious power, not just governmental power, should be accountable to the general public. The money knaves are no exception.
RICHARD CULLEN Visiting Fellow Department of Professional Legal Education Faculty of Law City University of Hong Kong