Inability to recognize predictable outcomes.
Belief that the party will never end.
Belief that facts don’t matter, only perception. (This is particularly true for pseudologues — simultaneously pathological liars and sociopaths.)
Inability to self-regulate or restrain the self.
Strange use of words. “We need oversight” when the very structure presented allows no oversight whatsoever by design. Sociopaths seem to think that words have a tangible realty in and of themselves, as opposed to having meaning only and as far they do in fact represent reality. But I forget, it’s perception that matters.
180 degree lying: “public service,” “taxpayers’ interests come first,” calling uncollectible debt assets, etc.
All that said, I’m not inclined to consider either Paulson or Bernanke to be actual sociopaths, at this point. Except for the arrogance and contempt I don’t see what I look for in attempting to ascertain sociopaths. Of course, both of them are polished public performers, so they are well masked. However, also, their lying just isn’t that smooth — think of burglars who convince law enforcement personnel to hold the ladder. . . . Hmm . . . Or think of Charles Ponzi whose own victims asked for his release from jail to continue his magic. I do think of Bernanke and Paulson as conmen, but while all sociopaths are conmen, not all conmen are sociopaths. I’m not dogmatic about this however, these two (or one of them) may very well be sociopaths.
Charles Ponzi, of course, reminds us of the long history of sociopaths in economic flim flammery. I have no doubt that this fiscal crisis is the direct result of not restraining sociopathic bankers. In prisons, sociopaths are often model prisoners because proper behaviors are clearly delineated and punishments for crossing same swift. The same needs to be true for investment banks, stockbrokers and investment bankers. If corporations are given the freedom to act sociopathically, sociopaths will climb to the top and/or corrupt individuals will follow the sociopathic example.
Further, it’s hard to imagine anyone else who would believe a serial bubble economy would be viable. All sociopaths are cause and effect disordered. This childish sense of cause and effect cause sociopathic inventors to invent and reinvent, over the ages, perpetual motion machines. A let’s-inflate-bubbles economy is the economic equivalent of perpetual motion. If the perpetrators and looters come across as “learned worthies,” all the better for their purposes.
I don’t believe the Paulson bailout plan is actually intended as a bailout plan, at all — it is merely a swindle to take care of themselves and their cohorts before worse happens (one last chance for the looters to have a go at it). In solitary investment bank bankruptcies you see this all the time, management will reward themselves great bonuses knowing that the house is going down and that ordinary employees will lose their jobs and much of their 401Ks.
I was at Drexel when it went bankrupt. Shortly before the denouement, the directors called a meeting to discuss what was happening. Many of the support staff showed up, after all their lives and livelihoods were being severely impacted. Also, to my experience, most of the foot soldiers of Wall Street are very proud to be working for Wall Street and Fortune 500 firms. Once seated, a chosen secretary informed the assembled group that it was for banker professionals only. Even in a lifeboat, the Drexel bankers would allow no thought of equality or that anyone else could matter.