Thank you to Roger Cohen of the New York Times for writing a thought-provoking Op-Ed column about the current situation on Wall Street. Cohen explains that the market drop represents not just a financial crisis, but what he calls “the death of a culture.” Hidden in the middle of the piece are snippets from Senator Obama’s commencement speech at Wesleyan:
But why do freshmen bursting to change the world morph into investment bankers?
“I guess the bottom line is the money. You could be going to grad school and paying for it, or earning six figures. And knowing nothing about money, you get to move hundreds of millions around! No wonder we’re in this mess: turns out the best and the brightest make the biggest and the worst.”
According to the Harvard Crimson, 39 percent of work-force-bound Harvard seniors this year are heading for consulting firms and financial sector companies (or were in June). That’s down from 47 percent — almost half the job-bound class — in 2007.
These numbers mirror a skewed culture. The best and the brightest should think again. Barack Obama put the issue this way at Wesleyan University in May: beware of the “poverty of ambition” in a culture of “the big house and the nice suits.”
New York Times: The King Is Dead