erik lundegaard

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

"But a few of the old hands within Salomon Brothers suffered a more complicated response to their money [in the 1980s]. Not that they ever doubted they were worth every penny they got. But they were uneasy with the explosion of debt in America. (In general, the better they recalled the Great Depression, the more suspicious they were of the leveraging of America.) The head of our bond research at Salomon, Henry Kaufman, was, when I arrived, our most accute case of cognitive dissonance. ... As he wrote in the Institutional Investor of July 1987:

One of the most remarkable things that happened in the 1980s was [the] sharp explosion of debt, way beyond any historical benchmark. It was way beyond anything you would have expected relative to GNP, relative to monetary expansion that was taking place. But it came about, I think, as a result of freeing the financial system, putting into being financial entrepreneurship and not putting into being adequate disciplines and safeguards. So that's where we are.

That is where we are: wild, reckless, and deeply in hock.

— from Michael Lewis' "Liar's Poker," pg. 60


Posted at 08:10 AM on Sat. Jun 13, 2009 in category Culture  
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