Why hedge funds are crying
It may be a case of shutting the stable door after the thundering herd has bolted, but law and order is being brought to the wild wild west of global financial markets.
G Brown will, for example, in the coming days put on his Wyatt Earp costume, and will ask the financial gunslingers to hand over their weapons.
A huge and totemic encapsulation of the imminent arrival in town of a new breed of marshals and sheriffs is buried away in an article in today's Wall Street Journal.
It's an excerpt from an e-mail sent on April 12 2008 by Richard Fuld, the somewhat tarnished former chairman of Lehman, the investment bank whose collapse last month brought the global financial system to the brink of meltdown (the e-mail was uncovered by Congressional investigators who've been examining Lehman's demise).
In an message to Lehman's General Counsel, Thomas Russo, Fuld summarised a conversation he had over dinner with the US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
According to Fuld, Mr Paulson said he wanted to "kill the bad HFnds + heavily regulate the rest."
No wonder "HFnds," or hedge funds as most of us know them, are a teeny bit anxious at the moment.
After years of stellar performance, many of them (but not all) have suffered serious losses in the past few months of extraordinarily volatile markets.
Their increasingly risk-averse backers are asking for their money back.
And the likes of Paulson - who you might think would be on their side, as a former chairman of Goldman Sachs - apparently wants to slaughter the cowboys among their ilk and put the rest in shackles.
Of course, we only have Fuld's word for this.
But my own conversations with politicians and regulators are indicative that the tide has turned massively against this trillion dollar industry.
The authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have belatedly noticed that hedge funds' speculation in unregulated markets - such as the mind-boggingly huge credit-default-swaps market - has exacerbated the instability in regulated markets, notably stock markets.
They've belatedly noticed that hedge funds have vast amounts of power to decide the fate of banks and other financial institutions of central importance to the functioning of the global financial system - and yet there's almost no formal system for holding them to account for the use of that power.
And the authorities have abandoned their staggeringly naïve view that hedge funds are the girl guides of the financial community (I kid you not), because of the near-truism that when hedge funds fall over, they tend to hurt mainly their well-heeled backers in a direct sense, rather than millions of ordinary savers or taxpayers (I say near-truism, because the 1998 LTCM debacle notoriously precipitated a financial markets tsunami).
The point about hedge funds is not what happens when they make big booboos.
What matters is whether their activities make the financial system more or less adept at allocating capital in an efficient way, to the long-term benefit of our economies, and whether they enhance or undermine the robustness of the financial system.
As economic boom turns to bust, because of a systemic malfunctioning in the financial system, that's moot.
A few far-sighted hedge funds can argue that they were the good guys, that they shouted from the rooftops (through their profitable trading strategies) about what was going wrong before it went wrong (and more fool politicians and regulators for ignoring them).
But the industry as a whole hasn't even begun to address the central charges against it: namely, that it helped to stoke up the credit bubble by providing a market for toxic investments; and that it has brought disorder to the puncturing of that bubble, through the poisonous combination of deliberate strategies to destroy the credibility of weaker financial firms, and through massive automatic sales of assets in a falling market.
Proving that they've enhanced the general good, such that they protect themselves from being regulated into a dull and lifeless industry, may turn out to be somewhat more challenging than the trials of Hercules.