Well, we finally made it through Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair piece on Iceland. We’re a busy bunch, and these long narratives take us some time. But now that we’re done with it, we think we know how to fix this financial meltdown problem.
Promote Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Sheila Bair. Follow all of Meredith Whitney’s advice, hire Erin Callan to run a bank.
You see, they are women. And women did not get us into this mess. Men did. Therefore we need to stop listening to impulsive men who screw things up. At least that’s part of the moral of the story in Iceland:
Vanity Fair: One of the distinctive traits about Iceland’s disaster, and Wall Street’s, is how little women had to do with it. Women worked in the banks, but not in the risktaking jobs. As far as I can tell, during Iceland’s boom, there was just one woman in a senior position inside an Icelandic bank. Her name is Kristin Petursdottir, and by 2005 she had risen to become deputy C.E.O. for Kaupthing in London. “The financial culture is very male-dominated,” she says. “The culture is quite extreme. It is a pool of sharks. Women just despise the culture.” Petursdottir still enjoyed finance. She just didn’t like the way Icelandic men did it, and so, in 2006, she quit her job. “People said I was crazy,” she says, but she wanted to create a financial-services business run entirely by women. To bring, as she puts it, “more feminine values to the world of finance.”
Today her firm is, among other things, one of the very few profitable financial businesses left in Iceland. After the stock exchange collapsed, the money flooded in. A few days before we met, for instance, she heard banging on the front door early one morning and opened it to discover a little old man. “I’m so fed up with this whole system,” he said. “I just want some women to take care of my money.”