Adventures in national stereotypes
The Epicurean Dealmaker has invented a new parlor game: match financial-market participants to Russian national stereotypes circa 1865! Can I play too?
|Frenchmen||A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women.||Investment bankers; recent MBA graduates||All investment bankers under the age of 40; most hedge-fund managers|
|Englishmen||An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct.||Goldman Sachs employees; private equity professionals||IMF/World Bank employees; economists|
|Italians||An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people.||Hedge fund managers; CNBC commentators||Traders|
|Russians||A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known.||“I am completely unaware of anyone currently operating in the financial sector who will admit to knowing nothing, much less take pride in it.”||EMH devotees in general; buy-and-hold index-fund owners in particular|
|Germans||The German’s self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truthâ€”scienceâ€”which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.||Economists; derivatives structurers||Chartists|
Incidentally, the stereotypes age well. Have you met a French investment banker? A Bank of England technocrat? Nouriel Roubini (who counts as Italian for these purposes)? Josef Ackermann?
But of course there’s still a burning question: Why is the American self-assured?