By Simon Johnson
Two diametrically opposed views of Wall Street and the dangers posed by global megabanks came more clearly into focus last week. On the one hand, William B. Harrison, Jr. – former chairman of JP Morgan Chase – argued in the New York Times that today’s massive banks are an essential part of a well-functioning market economy, and not at all helped by implicit government subsidies.
On the other hand, there is a new powerful voice who knows how big banks really work and who is willing to tell the truth in great and convincing detail. Jeff Connaughton – a former senior political adviser who has worked both for and against powerful Wall Street interests over the years – has just published a page-turning memoir that is also a damning critique of how Wall Street operates, the political capture of Washington, and our collective failure to reform finance in the past four years. “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins,” is the perfect antidote to disinformation put about by global megabanks and their friends.
Specifically, Mr. Harrison makes six related arguments regarding why we should not break up our largest banks. Each of these is clearly and directly refuted by Mr. Connaughton’s experience and the evidence he presents. Continue reading