Monday, November 16, 2009

Wall Street and Carbon Trading "Wall Street Makes It Hard to Earn Legal Living"

Neither of these pieces is about C&T, just the culture of corruption.
Two from Bloomberg. First up a Nov. 13 op-ed by Alice Schroeder:
A group of university students I spoke to recently asked if it was possible to make a living on Wall Street without compromising your values. I had to tell them no.

Wall Street has many decent, honorable people, but they work in a system that fundamentally compromises people’s ethics. The high pay is like an anesthetic that numbs you from feeling how you are being corrupted. Not only that, many honest people who work there would agree with an even more extreme statement: It’s hard to make a living legally on Wall Street.

The goal of investing is to get an edge, whereas the securities laws presume all investors should have the same information at once. If ever there was a recipe for a system rife with abuse, this is it. The harder that money managers, traders and analysts must work to get information that gives them that edge, the more likely some are to cross a legal line....MORE

To those who argue (either naïvely, foolishly or with malice aforethought) that carbon markets can be regulated, let's take a look at current attempts at regulation:

Banker ‘Oligarchs’ Block Break-Up Moves, Kay Says
Investment bankers are wielding their political influence to override popular support for legislation to break up lenders’ trading and retail operations, economist John Kay said.

“You have a group of politically powerful oligarchs, whom other people hate, but who are entrenched there,” Kay, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, said in an interview yesterday. “It will require something of a political earthquake” to reduce the bankers’ sway, he said.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said in September that a debate on the structure of banking is needed and described an article by Kay as “the most important piece written on the subject in 10 years.” King also cited Kay as he argued in a speech last month for splitting retail operations from investment banking.

“I’m struck actually when I talk to an audience like this, or indeed to people in the City who are not investment bankers, how much support for breaking up the banks there is,” said Kay, who was speaking after a debate in London....MORE

If you look at the recent history, in the last twenty years the wizards of finance have brought us the junk-bond induced S&L crisis, Long Term Capital Management, Dot.coms and the Nasdaq bubble, sub-prime and derivative devestation.

And some think turning cap-and-trade over to these people is a good idea?

See "The optimal design of Ponzi schemes in finite economies"