Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jamie Dimon and the Fall of Nations

Simon Johnson discusses Jamie Dimon and the entrenchment of power in U.S. institutions in a recent NYT Economix blog post.  He says:
"Many societies have done well for a while — until powerful people get out of hand. This is an easy pattern to see at a distance and in other cultures. It is typically much harder to recognize when your own society has an elite less subject to effective constraints and more able to exert power in an abusive fashion. And given the long history of strong institutions in the United States, it appears particularly difficult for some people to acknowledge that we have serious governance issues that need to be addressed. The governance issue of the season is Jamie Dimon’s seat on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
... We had strong institutions for a long time in this country — including effective checks on the power of bankers. Many people remember that history and still hold its image in their mind’s eye as they look at modern Wall Street. It’s time to wake up. In recent decades we abandoned the governance mechanisms that previously served us well. Global megabanks have obtained excessive and inappropriate power – the power to take a great deal of risk, with cash for their executives on the upside and huge damage for the rest of us on the downside.
More to worry about at the link.

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