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The Financial Crisis in Perspective (Collection) by Mark Zandi, Satyajit Das, John Authers

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20. Masters of the Universe

During the Great Depression, finance was unfashionable: “Don’t tell my mother I’m a banker, she thinks I play piano in a brothel.” Now, the best and brightest business school, mathematics, science, and computing graduates take jobs on Wall Street: “When it’s profit you’re after, why go after it the hard way? I intend to be a stockbroker...One attempts to make the most money with the least work.”1

In Lucy Prebble’s play Enron, the character Jeffrey Skilling, Harvard MBA, CEO of Enron and soon to be convicted felon, outlines the basis of the new economy: “the only difference between me and the people judging me is they weren’t smart enough to do what we did.”2 Money and brilliance became synonymous: “One of our culture’s ...

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