The controversial former drug tsar David Nutt told the London Sunday Times this weekend that cocaine-using bankers with their “culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more … got us into this terrible mess”.
Nutt, who was sacked for claiming that ecstasy was as safe as horse riding, told the Sunday Times that abuse of cocaine caused the financial meltdown.
“Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess,” he told the paper adding that the drug made them “overconfident” and led to them taking more risks. Nutt, who is professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, claimed that cocaine was perfect for a banking “culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more. It is a ‘more’ drug”
There were also lots of stories about some of the big swingers in New York enjoying a line or 10 of an evening. Bernie Madoff’s office was apparently known as “the North Pole” such were the gargantuan quantities of “snow” to be found there and most bankers are aware of the published allegations that Jimmy Cayne (former CEO of Bear Stearns) had an anti-acid medication bottle that was filled with cocaine.
Dr Chris Luke, an A&E specialist based at Cork University Hospital, Ireland, who has studied the effects of cocaine on bankers, has stated that “prominent figures in financial and political circles made irrational decisions as a result of megalomania brought on by cocaine usage”. He concludes that “people were making insane decisions and thinking they were 110% right … which led to the current chaos.”
Greed, selfishness, ignorance and ruthlessness also played their part, of course, but I think it would be foolish not to see the role that the drug played in creating the bubble.
Did cocaine use by bankers cause the global financial crisis? | Business | The Guardian.