This evening I watched an engaging 67 minute lecture by William Black delivered at Lewis and Clark College. He spoke of the economic crisis and the moral crisis. His last observation is that our not recognizing that we have a moral crisis is part of the moral crisis. Did I say that right? I commend the speech to you. He articulates the mechanism by which senior management makes its fraudulent intentions known without giving explicit directions to commit fraud. It is through the incentive systems. Work needs to be done on this. I see it every day.
What is a fraud?
deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
Does anyone think that fraud goes on in our most reputable financial institutions? Based on the definition above, fraud is the business model. Some frauds are illegal and some are just “sport”. The vast majority are just sport. They are for profit (bonuses) and for advantage in the competition with peers for recognition, advancement, and money. If one does not commit these frauds, he/she is not aggressive enough, competitive enough, ambitious enough. The customers are just actors in these dramas. Or so it seems. Really though, it is blood sport. Like bullfighting. The bull is really sort of hapless in a bull fight. The Matador knows the bull’s instincts, his eyesight, his agility. The Matador has the edge, unless he trips.
The [warning graphic photos] goring of the famous matador this past week was at a bullfight during the great celebration of the Festival of Saint Isidro in Madrid.
Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, (Spanish: San Isidro Labrador), (c. 1070 – 15 May 1130) was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba,Honduras.
How creepy is that? Sorry Bill, I’m not sure how the bullfight story got mixed up with your post. But really, how creepy is it that an animal is tormented and killed during a celebration of a farmer known for his goodness to animals? Somehow it fits this Financial Crisis morality play. I’m not sure how, but somehow it fits. Maybe the Wall Street connection. Someone make sense of this.