In a recent speech, the influential economist Jeffrey Sachs made the following statement, one that was both remarkable and yet predictable about the culture of Wall Street:
"I'm going to put if very bluntly. I regard the moral environment as pathological...these people are out to make billions of dollars and nothing should stop them from that. They have no responsibility to pay taxes. They have no responsibility to their clients...to counter-parties in transactions.
They are tough greedy aggressive and feel absolutely out of control...and they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent. And they have a docile President, a docile White House, and a docile regulatory system that can't find its voice. Its terrified of these banks. If you look at the campaign contributions the financial markets are the #1 campaign contributors in the US now.
We have a corrupt politics to the core...and both parties are up to their necks in this. The corruption is as far as I can see everywhere. But what it's led to is this sense of impunity that is really stunning...and it very unhealthy. I have waited four, five years now to see one figure on Wall St. speak in a moral language and I've not seen it once.