Thursday, December 24, 2009
Scrooge and Wall Street
Watching A Christmas Carol last night, I found myself thinking, if only evil businessmen were lonely, twisted and unhappy like Scrooge! Actually the world's evil businessmen have wives and families, live in lavish townhouses, and spend their vacations hiking in the Patagonian mountains and sailing off the Hamptons. The men who did things like bundle bad mortgages into securities that they sold as highly secure investments to pension funds, then bet against them, so that they both made money on the first sales and then really raked it in when the investments tanked and their clients went broke (see here), are probably cheerful fellows who like to drink with the boys and donate lavishly to their old prep schools and other favorite charities. In a just world they would now be sentenced to several years of working as garbage men in Gary, Indiana, but we don't live in such a world. One of the main architects of the scheme I just described has become a managing director of Goldman Sachs.