Saturday, 3 January 2015

Bankers are inherently dishonest?

In What cheek: the unwashed are breeding John Birmingham mentions research that found that bankers, when reminded that they were bankers, were more dishonest than other professions.
A report in the journal Nature has found that among the professions, bankers "distinguished themselves by their dishonesty". Crucially, they became more dishonest the more they were reminded that they were bankers. Sneaky scientists asked a bunch of suits and bizoids to report the result of a series of coin flips in return for a pay off. After being asked about their jobs, the other professions behaved as before. Honestly. The bankers, suddenly remembering they were bankers, started to cheat.
As Jason Karaian put it, reporting for Quartz on this fascinating research, "what makes the persistent misconduct and toxic culture of modern banks so galling is that, in the words of a former head of Britain's financial regulator, so much of what they do seems 'socially useless'."

There is even evidence, suggests Karaian, that once the financial industry gets big enough, it actually restrains or even subtracts from economic growth.  "Untethered to the economy it is meant to serve, banks devise self-serving, self-referential products and services with massive risks and meager rewards."

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