Thanking Ivy League Schools Posted by: McQ
on Wednesday, October 22, 2008
A hedge fund manager who made about 80 million last year betting against the subprime mortgage market has decided to retire at 37, but not before he gave a shout out to those who were responsible for his windfall. In a letter he says:
"The low-hanging fruit, ie idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking," he wrote. "These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government," he said.
"All of this behaviour supporting the aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."
I forget who said it, and it certainly isn't true of all graduates of these fine educational institutions, but for, let's say, the bottom 2/3rds of the classes, it isn't about the education so much as the connections they make during their time in school.
And he has a point - if you think about the Washington DC/Wall Street - Ivy League connection, it is pretty overwhelming. People tend to hire people with whom they're comfortable, and wearing the old school tie doesn't hurt.
However, as this financial mess indicates, not to mention the mess in which we find government, the graduates of those schools seem just as capable as anyone of screwing things up pretty badly.
Perhaps it is time, in both DC and Wall Street, to begin to look outside that inbred circle for some fresh blood and fresh ideas.
In the meantime, Andrew Lahde, plans on taking the rest of his life of with thanks to those who were rather arrogantly sure they knew better than he did how the world of finance worked.
Yeah, but read the rest, which the Graun doesn’t link to: He goes on to talk about what a Great Man George Soros is, how Democracy has allegedly failed — and Soros in his great wisdom should take charge of inventing a replacement — and the virtues of hemp, the miracle plant. He’s a crank, that’s all.
It seems that Lahde has an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson, which is a top school. As for the people at Lehman, Bear, and others, their background isn’t that different. Only J P Morgan, before the merger with Chase, had overwhelmingly "top draw" Ivy backgrounds.
However, I’m not unsympathetic to his complaint. There is too much incestuous “establishment” thinking. Everyone was making the same bet. It wasn’t just the USA either. Wiki’s numbers (which are roughly correct) shows that most subprime writedowns are outside the USA. It’s amazing how the risk was spread through out the world with everyone drinking the Kool Aid.
Lahde comes off like a one-trade idiot savant. Or like Ross Perot. A crank that had success in a narrow venue but now spouts off on every topic. There’s such a thing as sore losers. I never new there was such a thing as sore winners.