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Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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The Dearth of Leadership Today

Question: Why have we seen a dearth of leadership in the past \r\ndecade?

Joe Bower: I don’t know.  It really bothers \r\nme.  Basically what’s happened is that the size of capital markets has \r\nbecome huge, and then trillions of dollars move around the world every \r\nday in the banking system.  The result is that you can really make huge \r\nsums of money in activities that are fundamentally trading or \r\narbitraging and lots of capital in the financial system has gone into \r\nthose businesses.  So, in financial service firms, we see proprietary \r\ntrading, proprietary venture capital and so on, and then you do those \r\nactivities and you can leverage it because the banks are willing to put \r\nin large sums of money.  The earning on those activities are much more \r\nattractive than conventional finance.  This is why we see the financial \r\nsystem, in effect, drifting away from the industrial and commercial \r\nsystem.  The industrial and commercial system is much more boring, it \r\ndoesn’t seem to offer the kind or profits, it’s more complicated, than \r\nfinancial.  So, I guess I’m saying that the leaders of great financial \r\ninstitutions have found that they can make a lot of money by building \r\norganizations that in effect have traders.  And we can be critical of \r\nthat, but that’s the way the markets have developed.

Recorded\r\n on April 1, 2010

The financial system has drifted away from the industrial and commercial system, and the leaders of financial institutions have found they can make a lot of money by building organizations of traders.

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