Andrew Ross Sorkin on Financial Risk & Recovery (2009)

“The financial industry had always been intended to be something of an unseen backroom support for the broader economy, helping new businesses get off the ground and mature companies adapt and expand. Yet, in the years leading up to the crisis, the finance sector itself became the front room. The goal on Wall Street became to generate fees for itself as opposed to for its clients … Meanwhile, Wall Street, [now] bent but not broken, rumbles on in search of new profits. Risk is being reintroduced into the system. Vulture investing is back in vogue again, with everyone raising money in anticipation of the collapse of commercial real estate and the once-in-a-lifetime bargains that might be available as a result. Perhaps most disturbing of all, ego is still very much a central part of the Wall Street machine. While the financial crisis destroyed careers and reputations, and left many more bruised and battered, it also left the survivors with a genuine sense of invulnerability at having made it back from the brink. Still missing in the current environment is a genuine sense of humility.”