According to Robert Reich’s article, If You Took the Greed Out of Wall Street, All You’d Have Left is Pavement: Why Greg Smith’s Critique is Way Too Narrow, today’s Goldman Sachs greed is not an aberration.
It is not an aberration for Goldman Sachs and it is not an aberration for Wall Street. Reich reminds us of past history of Goldman Sachs taking it clients to the cleaners time and again.
Perhaps even Reich doesn’t cast his net wide enough. It is not an aberration for some humans in all periods of history. To think that there does not need to be proper regulations of financial activities is to misunderstand human nature.
I have never liked political systems and theories that need to ignore human nature for them to work. Thus extreme capitalism and extreme communism will never be satisfactory models for me. Actually any “model” has its limits by its very nature. A “model” is always something less complete than reality. It is purposely simplified so that humans can understand some aspect of the system being modeled. You have to always be cognizant of the fact that if you expect the “model” to predict reality outside of the bounds of the implicit and explicit assumptions, then you are bound to be disappointed. It is not always easy to tell where those boundaries are. Sometimes it is even difficult to pin down the assumptions that you have made in creating the model.
You might refer to my previous post, Financial Modelers’ Manifesto, to see how professionals in the financial modeling business try to deal with the limits of financial models.