I totally agree that the “Wall Street financial services sector attracts psychopaths” far beyond the norm in the general population. I have worked, at least a year, for some seven investment banks over the last 25 years, including 11 years at UBS, so I claim to speak with personal knowledge. Deceitful ruthless cutthroats rise to the top.
Part of this is due to corporations having the freedom to act sociopathically (as someone else pointed out, they can be sued if they don’t). Sociopaths naturally will rise to the top — they have no ‘friction’ or ‘drag’ from consciences holding them back from going for the greatest profit. And part is due to the nature of capitalism itself and the profit drive.
My suggestion is simply to keep corporations relatively small, so sociopathic or not, the damage they can inflict is limited. Taking an example from nature, infants do indeed get murderously angry, but being small it doesn’t matter (unless they grow up with unmollified, unresolved infantile rage). As an added bonus, smallish corporations couldn’t overpower democracy.
There were suggestions that Wall St. employees be given psychological tests for sociopathy. I don’t think that is necessary (or would be effective, see below). I don’t mean to be flip, but we don’t want millions of sociopaths on welfare. There is nothing rare about sociopathy.
Just as sociopaths very often make rule abiding prison inmates they can also be rule abiding investment professionals. The rules just have to be very clear and punishment sure and swift. Unfortunately the financial services sector has been set up by and for sociopaths. So we have a problem.
Regarding tests, I don’t believe there is a psychological test in the world that advanced sociopaths wouldn’t simply laugh at. However, research has shown that there are now detectable brain structure differences in sociopaths. All regulators need to be tested for and filtered out by these structures. (See links at bottom.)
These advanced sociopaths are called SAPs — socially adept psychopaths, who can be unbelievably skillful at both manipulation and avoiding detection.
In terms of unionization, it’d be great if it could work. Though to my experience Wall St. support staff are incredibly loyal to and proud to work for Wall St. Of course the loyalty is only in one direction. I was at Drexel at the end, I recall a meeting to explain the firm’s demise and many of my co-workers went (I was freelance so I couldn’t go), seeking to find out what had happened to their livelihoods — only to be told the meeting was for professionals only. The support staff were clearly only ‘so many truck o’ dog’ to the bankers.
“Political Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes” is one of the great books of history. It is a scientific study of the development of pathocracies (governments under the control of evil individuals and movements).
Selections and commentary on “Political Ponerology”: http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/political_ponerology_lobaczewski.htm, http://www.sott.net/articles/show/159686-In-Memoriam-Andrzej-M-obaczewski . To purchase the book: http://www.ponerology.com/ .
It is discussed further here:
If interested here are some links to my own blog: