Matthew T. Phillips

Casual corruption

NPR: Exploring Wall Street’s ‘Dirty Business’

George Packer (New Yorker) describes his observations from the trial of Raj Rajaratnam, head of the Galleon Group hedge fund. Through the trial, Packer began to see a culture of “casual corruption.” Government and industry insiders failed to see what was happening around them. (Were they ignoring what they saw, or did they have inattentional blindness?)

Packer says that at its core, the financial crisis was driven primarily by short-sightedness, but at the margins there was fraud and wrongdoing. Rajaratnam is a nearly unbelievable example: he strategically corrupted others by hiring them as consultants, maneuvering them into his debt, and then asking for them to conduct illegal activity on his behalf.