Someone once described the difference between an American and an Irishman as follows: an American and an Irishman walk by a mansion.
The American says, "One day, I'm going to live in that mansion." The Irishman says, "One day, I'm going to burn that mansion to the ground."
Perhaps it's a silly stereotype - with only a flicker of veracity - but I've been feeling pretty Irish lately, despite my Welsh protestant lineage.
Since the worldwide economic collapse of 2008, there have been many flashpoints for anger against wealthy speculators who amassed billions at the expensive of ordinary folk.
These people are thieves on an unimaginable scale.
They rode a wave of deregulation, dogmatically preached and implemented by free market extremists at the highest levels of power - notably former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.
In the decade leading up to 2008, these financiers conjured an imaginary web of profits out of thin air, based on outlandish speculation. Hundreds of billions of dollars existed only on paper. They conjured deals based on perceived value of future investments.
In some cases, they even wagered both for and against the success of those investments.
Having constructed this massive chimera of wealth, they sucked real money out of the real economy to pay themselves obscenely fat bonuses. When the mirage finally vanished, ordinary citizens were left holding the bag - foreclosed homes, empty accounts, worthless stocks and a decimated job market.
This sequence of events has been analyzed and re-analyzed ad nauseum over the past three years. There is little doubt who the culprits are, and how despicable their actions were.
In a just world, the majority of them would be thrust behind bars for a long, long time.
But there's a problem.
The problem is that in this day and age, the untethered, unregulated hoarding of perverse amounts of wealth is not only tolerated, but encouraged, admired and tirelessly facilitated.
Corporations and their backers exert enormous pressure on governments to loosen rules and reduce tax burdens.
Why should we finance a proportionately larger share of society's well-being, they ask - as if they owe nothing for the privilege of reaping huge fortunes at the pleasure of the populations they exploit. As if the market were merely some traceless treasure in a Persian cave.
The West owes its prosperity to the pursuit of capital. Of that there is little doubt.
Open-market competition has proven an effective way to accommodate the innate forces of human greed in a controlled fashion.
But greed is not a virtue.
It cannot reign unchecked.
It must be monitored and regulated. And anyone who argues otherwise is living in a dreamland.
Radical corporatism must be challenged - challenged as diligently as one would confront any ideology bent on reshaping the world into some twisted vision of utopia.
Such "visionaries" must be discredited, mocked and exposed. None more so than News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch, who uses his vast media empire to lie, distort and obfuscate the truth as a means to further the radical corporatist agenda (an agenda masked by forever waging battle against an imaginary left-wing bogeyman).
The meltdown of 2008 - and our ongoing economic woes- prove beyond a doubt these ideas are, unchecked, a recipe for economic anarchy.
They threaten the very fabric of everything modern participatory democracies have achieved. And if they continue to prevail, we are undone.
I'm not about to burn down any mansions. But to say I've become perturbed at this new reign of reckless greed and thievery is putting it lightly.
And I'm hardly alone.
Peter Jackson is The Telegram's commentary editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.