Playing the Financial Crisis Blame Game

People around the world are concerned and angry about the global financial crisis, with blame falling on the United States and "greedy" bankers on both sides of the Atlantic.

With the crisis seeming to deepen as governments of developed nations pour trillions of dollars into solutions, the search for villains appears to be well under way.

Today in Great Britain, the rage was directed at what the tabloid newspapers called "fat cat" bosses from the British bank Barclays. The executives embarked on a luxurious "all expenses paid" business trip to Italy, just a day after the U.K. government put up $865 billion to bail out the country's banking system.

Comments posted on the Web site of the U.K.'s Daily Mail show the anger of ordinary people. "We need to stop their greed before they have squandered all our money on pay, bonus and flights of fancy like this," wrote Eliza from London. Penny from Bristol posted: "I think this is really disgraceful and very insensitive."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quick to point the finger last week. "This problem started in America. They have got to sort it out," he said then.

However, Brown, who was the country's finance minister before becoming prime minister, has since stepped back from those comments after coming under attack from the press and public for a lack of regulation of the country's financial markets and for not saving enough during an economic boom.

Today, Brown admitted the United Kingdom shared responsibility for the financial crisis. On the British daytime TV show GMTV he said: "These guys have taken irresponsible risks; that is completely unacceptable. The problem is they didn't know what they were buying from America."

Other European leaders have tempered their remarks about the U.S. too, since the crisis has spread to nearly all world markets in the past two weeks.

On Sept. 25, German finance minister Peer Steinbr├╝ck echoed earlier comments made by the country's chancellor, Angela Merkel, saying: "The United States is solely to be blamed for the financial crisis. They are the cause for the crisis, and it is not Europe and it is not the Federal Republic of Germany."

Germany's weekly news magazine Der Spiegel featured a cover showing the Statue of Liberty with its torch extinguished. The Die Zeit newspaper printed a graphic of a Bald Eagle falling to Earth while holding a European Union flag.

But as Germany then faced its own financial woes, the critical voices dimmed.

A few few days later, Germany's second-biggest commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate, was threatened with collapse. The government was forced to bail out the company for around $68 billion.

Germany's opposition Green party, Reinhard Buetikofer admitted that: "For a while, a large segment of the public considered all this as innocent German banks caught in an American mess. ... Only recently has the public started to understand how much we are involved, and how much of this has been our doing, too."

According to ABC News' Christel Kucharz in Germany, the country's politicians and media have not heavily criticized the United States in recent days.

Who's to Blame?

So why is there less finger pointing at the United States, where the subprime mortgage mess originated?

"The eyes have been on a different ball," Ruth Lea, director of the U.K. Center for Policy Studies, told

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