BGI turned me on to this article from The NewYorker. I found myself on the one hand questioning the writer's scruples and on the other hand thinking systemically about what Wall Street environment was like when he did his work. It's an interesting thing to think about; if the "system" is working in such a way as to support such activities, does that make it OK to go along with it? I don't think so. I mean, I'm part of the "mainstream" economy...it's not like I'm tossing it all and moving to a farm (maybe I'll do that soon!), yet I am asking some pretty hard questions of myself and my lifestyle that I try to share (in a non-threatening way) with those around me.
Of course, we all collectively created the system in which we function...
A short excerpt from the end of the article:
Last month, my neighbor, a retired schoolteacher, offered to deliver my oysters into the city. He had lost half his savings, and his pension had been cut by 30 percent. The chain of events from my computer to this guy’s pension is lengthy and intricate. But it’s there, somewhere. Buried like a keel in the sand. If you dive deep enough, you’ll see it. To know that a dozen years of diligent work somehow soured, and instead of benefiting society unhinged it, is humbling. I was never a player, a big swinger. I was behind the scenes, inside the boxes. My hard work, in its time and place, merited a reward, but it also contributed to what has become a massive, ever-expanding failure. For that, I must make a mea culpa. Not a mea maxima culpa, mind you, but some measure of responsibility, a few basis points of shame. Give my ego a haircut.