Bankers Giving Banking a Bad Name

Nicholas Kristof hopes young idealists can save American capitalism
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2012 1:29 PM CST
Participants, including Occupy Wall Street protesters, march and take part in a candlelight vigil to honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in New York, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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(Newser) – Nicholas Kristof was dumbfounded when, during a recent college lecture, a student asked him if banking jobs were immoral. "I've been sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement, but look, finance is not evil," he writes in the New York Times. It's an essential force, allocating capital to efficient uses. But there's a caveat: When young people do get banking jobs, "I hope that they'll show judgment, balance, and principles instead of their elders' penchant for greed and rigging the system."

"Just as communists managed to destroy communism, capitalists are discrediting capitalism," he writes. Banks have vastly overpaid CEOs, got bailed out after the financial crisis even as they evicted working class families, and routinely buy political access. The public has noticed—40% of Americans now view the term "capitalism" negatively, a December poll found. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, more view socialism positively. "Maybe today's young socialist sympathizers," Kristof writes, "can help rescue capitalism from the crony capitalists." (Read more Nicholas Kristof stories.)

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