No big surprise: Most of the bankers, politicians and regulators who got us into this mess went to a handful of elite universities and business schools.
These schools obviously helped frame their philosophies, while providing the networking opportunities needed to climb the highest rungs of the corporate and political ladders. It turns out, of course, that those ladders were planted in mud, rather than solid earth. Whoops.
While you may get a kick out of sneering at the people who went to elite schools, that’s not the point. The point is that these schools may have seen their glory days already, and enter a permanent state of decline. Why? Well for one thing, the money and power networks that supported these schools through generous contributions are crumbling. What’s more, you can no longer go to one of these schools and be assured that they’ll open the doors to the investment bank you thought you were going to get a job at. A big piece of that network has been lost.
But beyond that, when the crisis is over and the American economy starts to rebuild, we might ask: Gee, do we really want to hand the controls over to a Harvard MBA again? Do we really want to trust our money to a University of Chicago or Penn graduate, armed with formulas and beliefs about perfectly efficient markets?
In other words, do we want to hand power to the same class of folks that has it now? Or might we opt towards something fresh and new, that doesn’t originate in the same aged, campuses of the Northeast.
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