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How did Harvard give us George W. Bush?

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"I once told a lie that was this big."
Photo via Shutterstock.
It's an interesting question now that yet another French trader is at the center of an ugly loss. That said, I believe the question needs to be opened up well beyond France, since the problem extends far beyond France. The Wall Street crash that required an industry saving bailout was mostly caused by rich, American men. The French have played their part, but let's not kid ourselves.

The Wall Street trading world is heavily dominated by graduates of the top schools, especially top Ivy League schools. Even the Bank of England's Mervyn King complained a few years ago about the financial industry sucking up all of the smart kids. The reasons for their decision is obvious. No other industry can propel them into big money so quickly. When the game is fixed, as much as it is on Wall Street, who wouldn't want a piece of that action?

So the real question that the AFP should be asking is "what's wrong with the top students that our elite schools graduate and why do we allow cheaters to run these companies?"
In 2008 Jerome Kerviel cost Societe Generale nearly five billion euros ($7 billion at the time), in what the bank described as rogue trades.

Two years later Goldman Sachs paid regulators half a billion dollars amid charges it defrauded investors, with Frenchman Fabrice Tourre at the heart of the scandal.

The "Fabulous Fab", as Tourre described himself, flogged exotic mortgage securities and was accused of misleading customers in the process.
Somewhere along the line, the system is failing the world. In theory, these are the best and brightest both in terms of of education and jobs yet they keep failing miserably. Are the schools overrated and teaching poor values? Is it the banks that corrupt everyone with mega-dollars? Whatever it is, we're making an enormous mistake to keep buying into the brilliance of this elite.

Going full Sarah Palin and attacking the elite is too vague and silly, but at the same time, there also comes a time when we need to stop worshiping the products of the top schools. It was a Harvard MBA that forced tax cuts, and started two wars, that the US couldn't afford. (Romney has an MBA and JD from Harvard too.)  A bit of diversity and fresh air at the top would be a refreshing change after years of failure by the chosen few.

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