Almost a decade ago, the world plunged into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression—a crisis from which we are still recovering. This crisis was driven largely by a culture of greed, excess, and reckless risk-taking in the financial sector. In the aftermath of that crisis, the Obama administration opted to bail out Wall Street rather than Main Street, prioritizing the balance sheets of banks over homeowners. At the same time, hardly anyone in the sector was held accountable, and its culture did not change. According to a recent survey of 1,200 financial professionals, 20 percent felt it was sometimes necessary for people to engage in illegal or unethical behavior to succeed. Over the past decade, Wall Street firms have been embroiled in wave after wave of financial fraud and malfeasance—receiving barely more than a slap on the wrist for each ethical transgression.
Not only does Wall Street continue to operate with almost complete impunity, but it enjoys outsized influence in the halls of power. With the new administration, even limited attempts at reform such as the Dodd-Frank Act could now be on the chopping block.
This is a core issue where ethics bumps hard into economic reality, as unethical action can have deep and lasting consequences for individuals and society. It also raises vital questions about the kinds of values that should underpin our economy.
At this event, Professor Jeffrey Sachs will moderate a robust discussion on the role of the financial sector in furthering the common good of society. It will address what Wall Street does right, what it does wrong, what reforms are needed, and what role ethical deliberation should play in guiding financial market participants.
Our distinguished panel includes:
- Judge Jed Rakoff, US District Judge for the Southern District of New York, Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
- Sheelah Kolhatkar, Staff Writer at The New Yorker and author of Black Edge
- Ari Melber, MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent
- Bob Ivry, staff reporter for Bloomberg News and author of The Seven Sins of Wall Street
Signed copies of books by Ms. Kolhatkar and Mr. Ivry will be available for purchase after the event. Professor Sachs will also be signing copies of his new book, Building the New American Economy (foreword by Bernie Sanders).
Please join us by registering at the attached link. This event is free. Following the discussion, you will have a chance to ask questions of the panelists.