Will Obama pay Goodwin's pension?
Only yesterday, or the day before, financial globalisation was supposedly about making sure that capital was transferred to those parts of the world that could invest it most productively.
That so much of the exporting nations' surpluses in effect ended up going to ex-cons and former bankrupts in middle America, in the form of subprime loans, rather exploded the idea that only good could come from the unfettered flow of capital across borders, as channelled by brilliant investment bankers.
Today's iteration of financial globalisation is - in part - about clearing up the mess left behind by the bankers' extended party.
Here is a topical example of the detritus that still needs to be cleared up: the bill for Sir Fred Goodwin's £703,000-per-year pension.
Now the government is mad keen for Royal Bank to retrieve some of the cost of this pension through legal action - and, as I disclosed the other day, Royal Bank is taking advice from leading counsel on whether resorting to law could recoup a bob or three for the bank and its owners.
Let's just say there is some kind of case to answer - although that's thought unlikely by Royal Bank's lawyers, Linklaters.
If there were any potential liability and if it were to rest with Royal Bank's former directors or with Sir Fred himself, they would probably be protected under the specialist insurance policy taken out by all directors of big companies, what's known as "directors and officers insurance" (D&O).
This is insurance that protects directors against the financial consequences of their boo-boos.
Which insurance company was a global market leader in D&O cover?
You guessed it: AIG, the crumbling insurance giant, recipient of almost $173bn of financial support from US taxpayers, and 80% owned by the US state.
In this instance, Royal Bank's D&O cover came from a panel of insurers, of which AIG was one: AIG is liable for something less than 10% of any claims made against RBS's former directors.
There is a wonderful resonance bout even the possibility that AIG could find itself picking up some of the bill for Sir Fred's pension - because in a way it would mean that US taxpayers, as represented by President Obama, would be helping to finance the most controversial pension in British corporate history.
It's another illustration - not the most significant, by any means, but one of the more striking - of how financial globalisation took a wrong turn.
In theory, financial innovation coupled with borderless flows of capital was supposed to distribute risk to those with the knowledge to understand that risk and the capital to absorb it.
Somehow I don't think anyone told the US president, or the taxpayers of America, that they might one day be underwriting Sir Fred's £16.9m pension pot.