In a 1996 interview on PBSs News Hour, the New York Times
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Thomas Friedman said: "There
are two superpowers in the world today in my opinion.
Theres the United States, and theres Moodys
Bond Rating Service [sic]. The United States can destroy you by
dropping bombs, and Moodys can destroy you by downgrading
your bonds. And believe me, its not clear sometimes
whos more powerful."
The main credit rating
agencies, among which Fitch Ratings, Moodys Investors
Service and Standard & Poors are dominant, have long
defended their judgement calls on the creditworthiness of the
financial institutions and
mere opinion, and seemingly nothing more.
Indeed, it could be argued that these agencies played a
crucial role in the financial crisis of 2007/08 not