Friday, March 27, 2009

Losing sight

from Atlantic:
Wall Street is a very seductive place, imbued with an air of power. Its executives truly believe that they control the levers that make the world go round. A civil servant from Washington invited into their conference rooms, even if just for a meeting, could be forgiven for falling under their sway. Throughout my time at the IMF, I was struck by the easy access of leading financiers to the highest U.S. government officials, and the interweaving of the two career tracks. I vividly remember a meeting in early 2008—attended by top policy makers from a handful of rich countries—at which the chair casually proclaimed, to the room’s general approval, that the best preparation for becoming a central-bank governor was to work first as an investment banker.
As a former government regulator told me, you had people who wanted nothing more from their job than to be the good cop ... and then you had those who always wanted to be something else. They wanted to be one of the Big Money Boys. And they lost sight of who they served and what it was they were hired to do.

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