There is a belief system widely espoused today that the financial crisis of 2008 is behind us and the reckless and unethical policies, leverage and practices that caused the crisis, are no more. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately a reversion to old habits is the predictable outcome when people are saved from paying–legally and financially–for their destructive choices. This is Taleb’s “Antifragile” thesis personified, and it is the reason that our financial system will not recover until actors are finally left to their just desserts. I have no doubt that the financial crisis is alive and well and that the next wave will bring greater pain and less forgiveness for those who have made bad decisions to date.
Former Citigroup (C) forex trader Chris Arnade details why Wall Street has a hard time being ethical. It’s his view from working on Wall Street for 20 years (he left in 2012 to pursue writing and photography):
“What surprised me and ulitmately drove me off of Wall Street [was] I expected after the financial crisis, we would all sort of look at each other and say ‘this philosophy of unregulated free markets, it didn’t work’…I had expected many people on Wall Street would say ‘hey, let’s rethink what we’re doing,’ and actually the opposite happened…people doubled down in their philosophy…not only that…they managed to blame everybody but themselves.” Here is a direct video link.