Tonight is the evening of Yom Kippur, and usually at this time of year I ask for forgiveness from my readers if I have in any way injured them by something I wrote over the course of the past year.

This year, though, I feel rather more inclined, on behalf of myself, and on behalf of my colleagues, to ask forgiveness of my fellow men for the damage done to the global economy, whether on account of my actions or whether on account of my inaction. There are, of course, genuine villains in my industry, as in any industry and any walk of life, but things like the credit crunch we’re currently in the middle of are almost never primarily the result of active villainy – nor, even, of good men doing nothing while villainy is perpetrated by others. Which means those who look back on their careers and say: you know, I think I acquitted myself pretty well; I wasn’t one of the bad ones – we who think that way are tempted not to engage in the introspection and repentance we are commanded to.

Here’s to a better 5769.