Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Could Machavelli have worked on Wall Street... College Football preview...
Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.
- Lou Mannheim, Wall Street, 1987
Several years ago, my barber made small talk about the World Com collapse. He told me that a lot of average everyday people lost every cent they had. He went on to tell me that the same thing happened at Enron. I told him that I don't know how people can sleep at night knowing that they are bilking billions of dollars. His response was simple. "Don't you realize it, the people on Wall Street don't worry about stealing, as a matter of fact they lie awake at night thinking of ways to do the stealing."
During the Renaissance patrons encouraged enlightened thinkers. After all, it was a time not only to see the world as it should be, but more importantly it viewed the world as it really was... Nicollo Machavelli understood how the world really worked. He had been involved in public service for a good portion of his life. After working for a variety of rulers, he wrote the treatise The Prince. While it is surely over-simplification, one could argue that the premise behind the novel would be that the ends always justify the means. Or as long as the goal is achieved, then it makes no difference as to how the goal was accomplished. That information is secondary and useless.
It has become increasingly apparent that Machavelli could have easily ascended to the upper echelons of public and private service if he were alive today. Where can a person get paid $150,000,000 for running a company into the ground...pushing it to the verge of bankruptcy. Note that the CEO's of Fannie and Freddie do not face criminal charges. The board of directors from both companies are still sitting! Taxpayer dollars are now being utilized as the backstop. Wall Street is currently suffering from a credibility crisis. It will continue to worsen until self-policing and ethics are rediscovered. Until then, hang on to your portfolios, it is going to be a wild ride!
College Football Preview
Year record 4-2
Games I like...
1. Missouri -25 to Nevada
2. Penn State -26 Syracuse
4. Wisconsin +2 Fresno State
Posted by at 7:41 PM