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Greenspan revives Casablanca character

10/24/2008

In the movie classic Casablanca, the corrupt local government official, who goes to the casino every night, indignantly admits to being “shocked” there is gambling there. Yesterday’s congressional testimony by Alan Greenspan reminded me of that movie. He said he was shocked that Wall Street would take on excessive risk. In theory, a firm would not and therefore needs no regulation. In practice, however, the compensation plans of individuals within the firm eventually overwhelm the best interests of the firm itself. There are a lot of very wealthy former bond salesmen who have lost their jobs and are now sitting on the beach!

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