Occupy Wall Street has done a decent job over the past year exposing corruption and greed on Wall Street. While they mean well, I believe they may be accidentally growing what they want to curb.
So, here’s a fun fact: don’t smoking signs actually make smokers want to smoke even more. Having a picture of a cigarette remind them of cigarettes, and thus makes them crave one.
I thought of this as I was watching some OWS news clips today. They point out the ridiculous bonuses bankers are receiving even after the financial crisis, the nice cars they still drive thanks to tax payer money, the millions they pocketed without going to jail…wait, I kind of want that job….
Despite depicting the bankers in a negative light, these news clips are reminding naive college students of the nation that you can still make a lot of money in finance if you have a looser set of morals. While its ideal that everyone does a job they love, showing million dollar bonuses and luxurious lifestyles of bankers to kids still uncertain about career could be rather dangerous.
Pointing out the obscene amount bankers are being paid and how bankers involved in illegal transactions that make them millions are never thrown in jail is probably going to in fact draw more people towards a career than away from it. Michael Lewis, a prominent voice in recording the sketchy workings of the financial industry wrote many books like Liar’s Poker and The Big Short to discourage careers in finance. However, he notes that he frequently encounters college students who approach him at book signings to ask him how to get in on the action.
So, do OWS messages actually guide college kids towards a career in finance? I’ll be running some little experiments, and get back to you all.
DISCLAIMER: I am neutral towards OWS. I agree with some things they say, and disagree with others.