The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
from Financial Regulatory Forum:
It is easy to fall into the belief that we are living in special times; that greed, avarice, fraud, and swindle are at new heights; that bankers are worse than they've ever been; that public trust in them is at historic lows. Nearly every day we learn of yet another major fine imposed on a bank for some wrongdoing, all this while the leaders of finance lament the burdensome rules they must now work under.
Pity them, and pity us, but life has always been that way, or at least that is the lesson drawn in reading the latest edition of Lapham's Quarterly "Swindle & Fraud." We are reminded that humans have a long history of behaving badly, and efforts to change that reality have usually run aground. Deception, lies, fraud and confidence tricksters are part of our fabric, whether in business or finance, on a New York street corner, Barnum’s circus, or ancient Greece.
Companies in the 21st century can learn from 13th century England. Overmighty, overpaid CEOs are the new King Johns held to account, sort of, by the barons of fund management. What’s needed is more respect for finance’s neglected yeomanry: ordinary savers. Financial fiefs should be subjected to a modern Magna Carta.