Bubbles, bailouts and why we never seem to learn

Feb 24, 2009 | 05:39 AM |

What were our captains of industry and finance doing during their years in the hallowed halls of education when they were supposed to be learning history and its lessons? Cramming for a quiz on discounted cash flow or copying their fraternity brothers' accounting homework? Or maybe they were skipping class to buy a term paper to get through a useless liberal arts course like history. What does history teach about quarterly earnings and capital expenditures? Who wants to read all that nonsense about the French Revolution all over again? They had had their fill of it in high school.

Obviously they didn't.

History does repeat itself, and it seems to do it with greater frequency in the financial world than elsewhere. Yet those who are in the executive suites of banks and lending institutions seem to have been elsewhere when their professors were lecturing.

Financial crises seem to occur with increasing regularity these days—a few years ago there was the dot-com bubble; in centuries past there was the tulip mania in the Netherlands—or maybe it's just the media talking about it too much and making it happen. Actually, all of us are at fault.....

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