Lewis’ recent Vanity Fair piece on German banks and culture is easy to criticize for being reductive, thin, and conflicted. But the following paragraph is a clear summary of how our financial industry has mutated from something empowering into something destructive:
The global financial system may exist to bring borrowers and lenders together, but it has become over the past few decades something else too: a tool for maximizing the number of encounters between the strong and the weak, so that one might exploit the other. Extremely smart traders inside Wall Street investment banks devise deeply unfair, diabolically complicated bets, and then send their sales forces out to scour the world for some idiot who will take the other side of those bets.
With this business model, you’re not hoping for business investments to grow and succeed. You’re hoping for others to fail. One wonders how this practice can remain sustainable.