Now raising intellectual capital
The bursting of the dot-com bubble pales in comparision to the financial crisis. In retrospect, it seems a comic-book lesson about the all-too-obvious consequences of irrational exuberance: What were they thinking?
Yet the Internet bubble was in many ways a warm-up for the much larger credit bubble. The common thread, Jonathan Knee, a senior managing director at Evercore Partners, writes in DealBook, is the enabling role played by financial institutions.
In both crises, a bank had to agree to sponsor the poisonous security, whether shares of a profitless dot-com or a risky debt instrument. Banks leave such decisions to the commitments committee, a “once-hallowed, almost sacred institution.” Knee says:
The seriousness with which these firms undertook decisions to underwrite reflected not only a self-interested preoccupation with the long-term value of their own reputations but a genuine belief that they were playing an important role in protecting the overall integrity of the financial markets.