Jamie Dimon Should Debate Us

By Simon Johnson

This weekend Jamie Dimon (head of JP Morgan Chase) told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he needs “better access for bankers to politicians” and that the banking industry could do with more influence on politicians.   He also mentioned the need for a forum where banks can “demonstrate their arguments to politicians and supply them with the right facts” (that wording is from Reuters’ summary).

We would welcome a debate with Mr. Dimon in any forum, preferably in public and with TV cameras present.  We have previously extended a similar invitation to any bank executives – including but not limited to the 13 Bankers in the title of our book. 

One of the 13 appeared in an off-the-record panel last summer with me; it’s not clear that he would agree to do the same again today.  One other leading person from the financial sector – although not a current top executive – has expressed interest in a public debate; we agreed and now the ball is in his court.

Mr. Dimon regards himself as just trying to make a reasonable case regarding what is sensible public policy regarding banking.  We feel the same way about 13 Bankers and the content of BaselineScenario.

If you would like to offer a venue for such a debate or to propose the format, please add that as a comment below or send me email (sjohnson@mit.edu or through this website).

And if you work with or are otherwise in contact with Mr. Dimon, please do share this post with him.

43 responses to “Jamie Dimon Should Debate Us

  1. Look at The Godfather. Michael said, “it has to be a public place, a bar, a restaurant, someplace I feel safe.”

    I would recommend a college campus, preferably one where they would feel safe.

    Just don’t let them go to the bathroom.

  2. I hope MIT offers good health care benefits.

  3. Jamie Dimon, do a public debate at a college campus??? Heresy!!! One of the self-anointed mixing with one of the subcultures??? Forget about a trip to the bathroom, Dimon would get dry heaves breathing the same air. The chances of Larry Summers visiting a state unemployment office to cheer up the “troops” would be only .00001% better.

  4. No joke, if I was Simon Johnson or James Kwak I’d rent the Popemobile for that debate (obviously not for themselves, but in case of crossfire).

  5. He needs better access to the politicians? He owns the politicians. Has one of these banksters ever said anything that isn’t public relations doublespeak?

    You think he is going to have an argument with two geeks promoting their book? Be satisfied with your place on the NYT best seller list. Incidentally, it was great strategy starting this blog and then writing the book. It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good.

  6. I hear a great unused space is the WaMu lobby…plenty of seating, may have to have the utilities turned on first tho.

  7. As for the venue, I propose something like this.

  8. The fact that Dimon is saying this to a German paper makes me kind of sick to my stomach. It seems that he already has the political spectrum locked up in the US so he is reaching out across the pond. It just shows how depraved our politics have become with the recent Supreme Court decision…

  9. Coming from a student of finance and economics. The best venue these days still comes up with our nation’s most economically distressed states, in the order as they came in last February 2010: Nevada (21.4), Michigan (17.84), California (16.94), Florida (16.26) and Illinois (15.37).

    Since I live in South Florida, of course I will have a bias to have the interview and debate occur at the University campus of Florida Atlantic University and /or Palm Beach State College Schools of Business.

    Just a thought, to send a message to America that the pain of a nation can speak out and be heard as can the voices from the east and the west.

    James

  10. I guess we should all send a link to this post to our Senators and House Members.

    Under Oath.

    Herb

  11. Just shows how out of touch Wall Street really is. Did someone forget to tell Dimon that he already has a “relationship” to Congress? Or does he just think Americans are too stupid to know that Wall Street owns politicians? Incredible arrogance!

  12. Simon or James if you’re out there,
    Please contact Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) ASAP. He appears to reaching out for help on how to publicly advocate the breakup of TBTF firms. I think he could use your guidance. A quote from Huff Post:

    Making those banks smaller, said Cornyn, would reduce the risk. “Sixty percent of all the banking assets are concentrated in ten banks in the country,” said Cornyn. HuffPost asked if he’d support what’s known as the Volcker Rule, an administration plan to split off risky trading done by banks for their own gain from standard commercial banking activities.

    “Yes,” he said, “I think that’s one approach.”

    Without prompting, he added: “Glass-Steagall, we need to look at that.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/gop-warms-to-breaking-up_n_539412.html

  13. Good one, Nemo! :D I’ll second your proposal!

  14. Far-fetched, the reasons behind the venue choices; is the failure of the government programs for modifications and for banks to engage the public conditions.

    This also sets the stage for common american (Joe Citizen / Student / Professors) in the region to be invited through advertising campaign to come alive and be heard. Be heard and pose a question by being invited through their effort to post to their local news paper, college attending and /or to your blogs, the questions or comments they would want to ask the 13 bankers during the debate.

    Once these folks are chosen, they would submit a final draft of their comment and question pre-debate and be given entrance to this event to ask this question and state their comment they had written.

    This should be held in a format as what was done when Warren Buffet and Bill Gates held there Town Hall Meeting on CNBC and/or Cramer went on the road with his Mad Money; as seen on CNBC, that I am sorry to say, I watch from time to time; as the professors have made it part of the courses.

    To have a top moderator is critical to have it give credence to credibility for historical purposes and for possible causative moving purposes that get positive actions politically and for the human conditional plights to be lighten to an acceptable measurable level.

    One such Town Hall Public Campus Forum that would rank high on a per viewer would be that of Charlie Rose of Bloomberg, along with the other moderator of Bill Moyers.

    These two gentleman hold the highest regards of their peers and of the industry. They are high on the list in the University when using materials and research. I will go one step further and bring Bill Moyers as a master at his craft for his journalistic high ethics and morals.

    I will rest my case on these ideas for the current moment for the questions you posed Professor Johnson.

    Far-fetched, Not Anymore… Good things happen with the thoughts of one then become accepted and acted upon by two or more…

    James Gornick Student At-Large

  15. I just faxed it to my senators – they don’t read their emails -too backed up.

  16. Needs “better access for bankers to politicians.”

    Given how banking influence unraveled regulation over the past 30 years. It scares me to think what Mr. Dimon hopes to achieve with “better access…”

    song currently stuck in my head: “epistrophy (live at carnegie hall)” – thelonious monk quartet w/john coltrane

  17. Jamie Dimon can always come here to debate, with the added benefit to him that he can take as long as he wants for an answer, and the added benefit to the interlocutors that there is a possibility the laws of chances will produce the most competent, experienced, or probing echo chamber.
    Of course he could hire a robot to debate on his behalf. In person, he probably picks places where he knows in advance he can win, the same as with his various financial product offerings.
    If, however, the encounter was not set up as rivalry, a duel (is that zero-sum?), but as a place for a possible generation of understanding, meeting of minds, redirection (a loaded word, I know, to social worker types), then we have something.
    Not Star Wars but something else.

  18. Charlie Rose is so successful as an interviewer because he draws out the interviewee, which is no small thing — and he has interviewed top bankers, smartly but politely. But it falls to the audience to consider the perspectives of what might not be so polite.

  19. Problem is, Volican (Volker is not) mind control thing of congress is on the side of the banks. Video makes a point of Evil and Good. Are banks Good or Evil? I know the answer, if Greed is Good, then …. Right Evil… I know I thought you were thinking I was going to say Good…

    Past practices of Politicians are Owned by Banks and Finance Sector Industry… Problems for the Supreme Courts to Take Care of and for the few the proud and the real brave to step up in all three branches and pass some sweeping laws.

    I can see the need for health insurance, but the American people can rise above to meet in common to discuss as the Star Trek video came with the answer in many an episode.

    The crew was locked in and beamed up. They were always out of immediately out of danger; and introduced a whole new set of dynamics to be calculated to come to new resolutions.

    Far-fetched, maybe, Maybe not…

    James

  20. Simon,

    great strategy you’re taking. you would smoke them beyond belief. btw, when you and James interview together, you need to take the lead more often. James is a pussy foot.

  21. And you should debate Krugman.

  22. James did well. Being on national TV isn’t easy. Besides he was there to inform people details about finance/banking that are hard to grasp, not be David Letterman.

  23. I would have argued that a bank or any corporation cannot be good or evil since thay are not people.
    The SCOTUS says differently.

    I recently found this regarding Evil.
    I think It describe these people perfectly.

    Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist , Nuremberg trails
    Submitted by questministries… on February 5, 2009 – 2:26am.
    “In my work with the defendants (at the Nuremberg Trails 1945-1949)
    I was searching for the nature of evil and I now think I have come close to defining it. A lack of empathy. It’s the one characteristic that connects all the
    defendants, a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow men.

    Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.”
    Quotation: Captain G. M. Gilbert, the Army psychologist assigned to
    watching the defendants at the Nuremberg trails

    On the other hand is a bank or corporation capable of an emotion?
    Such as Empathy.

  24. Ordinarily in a skilled occupation (medicine, banking?), the community polices itself to avoid runaways from tainting the entire profession.
    I don’t think the oligarchs for the most part are lacking in empathy; I think it takes considerable ability to “read” other people and gauge your actions accordingly in order to succeed in business. Even members of urban gangs succeed according to their ability to empathize. Then, however, there is the ability to “compartmentalize,” a word I learned in regard to Bill Clinton, the great compartmentalizer. You empathize in private, and wield your sword, figuratively, when fighting.
    The oligarchs, I suspect, do not believe that there is really room in the world for all to flourish (someone posted something along those lines here; is there limitation worked into equations that squeeze profits out of plain paper?), and therefore oligarchical sanity depends on limiting the circle among whom they extend their empathy.
    In the Jim Crow South, plenty of Ku Klux Klan types were upstanding, ethical, empathic sorts, but they excluded people of color from the circle of their empathy. Soldiers at war also compartmentalize.
    It’s interesting how our elected politicians maneuver, however, deriving campaign funds from the oligarchs, but deriving votes from the non-oligarchs. Each side would be the skunk at the party of the other these days, unless careful etiquette were understood, that etiquette being (in my corner of this country) chiefly to keep out of each other’s space.
    A debate would be a carefully controlled encounter, and one would retire to a sort of contrived anonymity once concluded.
    Basically, I don’t think the banker echelon believes a broadly-based inclusive community (including them) would really work (not enough basic necessities to go around? no cooperative spirit of sacrifice to get where needed?) (Say what?). Hence the pope-mobile idea.

  25. Sorry, but five paragraphs in the normally superb Reuters is not nearly enough.

    So, with the help of modern technology, I find the entire piece, “We would have with pleasure a place at the table,” in the April 18, 2010 editor of Welt Online (World Online).

    Now, I do not speak German.

    So I used the Free Translation Online Dictionary (http://translation2.paralink.com/) to translate the Q-&-A piece a question or two at a time (1,000-character maximum).

    However, that website did not get everything. So I used the English-German Dictionary (http://www.dict.cc/) to translate the rest.

    A few notes: The FTOD uses the pronouns her, him, she, and they quite often. Also, the translation does not flow into smooth Amerikin (sic). You will have to be a bit patient and go with the flow. And I added edit notes to indicate when the EGD offered more than one possible translation of the word or term in question.

    I believe I got everything, but it’s possible I missed a question or an answer. So I’m going to post both the translated English version and the original German version of the article. If you spot an error or something I missed, please feel free to point it out and add your own edit or correction.

    Hope this helps.

  26. http://www.welt.de/die-welt/wirtschaft/article7230011/Wir-haetten-gern-einen-Platz-am-Tisch.html

    Welt Online (World Online)

    “We would have with pleasure a place at the table”
    From Jörg Eigendorf; Tobias Kaiser 18th April, 2010, 04:00 o’clock

    JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon demands more influence of the banks on political decisions and explains, why he is more optimistic for the USA than for Europe

    Two minutes before the agreed time Jamie Dimon stands in the door. To appear unexpectedly on time with appointments, for it the chairman of the board is known by JPMorgan Chase. The photographer who waits in the discussion room at Berlin “hotel Adlon” is glad. Now, in the end, more time remains for photos. Dimon poses, jokes and smiles in the camera. He must not play the good mood: For months JPMorgan Chase it already goes brilliantly – and this. While the bank branch groaned last year under the results of the financial crisis, JPMorgan continuously did profits. Last the probably most high-powered US banker amazed the investors with shining results for the first quarter last week.

    World on Sunday: Mr. Dimon, you have said sometimes, you lead your bank in such a way as if it stood shortly before the bankruptcy. On which disaster do you count as a next one?

    Jamie Dimon: I do not lead the bank in such a way as if it could tomorrow go bust. But I am prepared for adverse circumstances. If you cross the Atlantic, you can hope for the sun, but you must also calculate on the fact that a storm rages or even a hurricane.

    World on Sunday: What would be a possible hurricane?

    Dimon: We calculate over and over again all possible scenarios, also very unlikely ones. At the moment we already ask ourselves whether there can be a stand-in’s dip, thus the second relapse. The growth
    can break once again, although I do not hold this scenario for likely.

    World on Sunday: Two years ago you have said to us in an interview, nobody knows, how long the recession will continue in the USA. Do you know today, how long will the crisis still last?

    Dimon: No, I cannot see yet in the future. But I believe, the rest is expected faster and stronger than. There I am more optimistic than many of my colleagues.

    World on Sunday: In spite of rising raw material prices and soon higher interest?

    Dimon: Indeed, it is possible that the interest rates would have a stronger rise than expected. If we have then a strong economic growth, that would be no problem. But if the growth stagnates, this would be
    dreadful, then we would have stagflation – inflation with economic stagnation. Now, therefore, the governments must diminish her economic situation and liquidity support wisely – not too fast and not too slowly.

    World on Sunday: Do you expect early rest only for the United States or also for Europe?

    Dimon: I believe, the United States will come back faster and stronger.

    World on Sunday: Why?

    Dimon: The American government has reacted very fast to the crisis. Europe in its entirety was slower here, I think, partly because it has a narrower social net. Indeed, this has protected many people from the fall, but also slows down the rest. In addition, some European banks are to blame, this also counts to some European states.

    World on Sunday: Can skewed positions become like in Greece the trigger of a new financial crisis?

    Dimon: The height of the debts is frightening. But I do not believe that the national debts reduce the growth.

    World on Sunday: But many lands, also the United States, must drive back their house holds drastically. Nevertheless, this will damp the economy.

    Dimon: Governments can go to their own schedule: They have the possibility to raise taxes, to take up loans to too much favorable conditions and to itself for practically infinite periods to refinance. And in many cases they can even print money, which would entail of course on a continuing basis inflation.

    World on Sunday: Do you have fear of inflation?

    Dimon: I do not have so much fear of inflation which rises on values of three percent or more; this would be only passing. But we must prevent currency depreciation from getting out of control, much like in the 70s. Therefore, the politicians should diminish debts without creating too much inflation. And that is: They must reduce the issues.

    World on Sunday: The international monetary fund thinks according to about the fact that four to five percent of controlled inflation could help the states…

    Dimon: They can aim at no inflation rate of five percent and believe, you could still control them then. How one says so nicely: Who flirts with the inflation, is also kissed by her.

    World on Sunday: They count as a figure person – although your grandparents from Greece came in the USA…

    Dimon: (laughs) you can talk about everything with me. However, you do not hold responsible me please for the situation in Greece!

    World on Sunday: Does the position worry in the euro-space to you?

    Dimon: Yes, the state indebtedness is a big problem whose bad results are clear to all. But I believe, with a well-arranged housekeeping Greece comes out of his unfortunate position again.

    World on Sunday: However, only with the help of other euro-lands and the IMF.

    Dimon: Yes, and the conditions will be hard. Therefore, it is also right to involve an international organization like the IMF in the
    rescue. He more simply has it to put through austere editions. If the Europeans want no help from the outside, they can build up sometime own European monetary fund.

    World on Sunday: Should we not set simply sometimes an example and let a land go bankrupt?

    Dimon: This would entail at the moment possibly bad chain reactions. Other lands could get in a similar skew position, so that the costs of the rescue would become more and more expensive. Who wants to risk
    this?

    World on Sunday: But now hedge funds which have speculated on this rescue have achieved high profits. Nevertheless, one could have asked at least the believers of Greece to the cash.

    Dimon: The heads of the government of the euro-lands also knew that a partial write-off on Greek Bonds the banks would have dripped in own land hard. There one lends rather the money the neighbor, as that one must save immediately again his own banks. This is understandable.

    World on Sunday: What must happen, actually, so that we leave at least sometimes a bank to go bust?

    Dimon: We must provide for the fact that every bank can go bankrupt. The fact that a monetary house collapses, nothing is heard in itself bad, but to the market economy. The bankruptcy may bring only not the
    whole system in staggering. There may be too big to fail – this no more.

    World on Sunday: There everybody agrees to you, but how want you to reach this?

    Dimon: I hold a lot from the idea of a special insolvency procedure for very much big, complicated financial institutions. In addition the rules must be fixed before how bankrupt institutes can become temporarily under state care weiterbetrieben (edit note: state operated). Otherwise the blood circulation of the global finance market threatens to freeze as we could observe with some bank bankruptcies. What counts, is that a groggy bank is further financed during such a procedure.

    World on Sunday: Who should pay then for the fact that the banks go on?

    Dimon: This must not cost a lot, on the contrary. With some of the biggest bank bankruptcies billion values were destroyed because the markets got in panic. However, at the time of the bankruptcy these
    institutes owned stocks, not secured loans and other assets in the value of many billions dollars. The money was there.

    World on Sunday: Nevertheless, an insolvency equipment would have to shoot first of all money if it comes for write-offs.

    Dimon: The banks should finance this and not the taxpayers. Today we already pay for the insert protection. Only JP Morgan has transferred since beginning of 2008 six billion dollars for US banks which are pleitegegangen (edit note: gone, bankrupt, broke) – more than ten percent of the total loss of 55 billion dollars.

    World on Sunday: If today another Lehman case took place – would we really better handle with it?

    Dimon: The regulators work nowadays on a plan after which the insert protection might take over a bank like Lehman, at that time this juridical possibility did not exist. If this had been possible at that time, she could have said to the world: The contracts continue to exist. And to us to all would have remained a lot saved.

    World on Sunday: Why have the big banks of this world not yet presented a common, coherent plan, how can such crises be avoided from now on?

    Dimon: A great question. Only: We have this. The banks have done many suggestions. But it is not our task to write laws. A senator has recently asked me, why we do not consist banks and come to an agreement about the remuneration of our employees. The only problem is present: This would be unlawful.

    World on Sunday: But, nevertheless, banks and regulators often sit together to co-ordinate her work.

    Dimon: Believe me, I cannot decide with other bank boards of directors, how much we pay to our best people. The competitive authorities do not admit this. We still live in a market economy.

    World on Sunday: Then, however, you must calculate on the fact that the government prescribes, how much you may still earn.

    Dimon: This has not happened up to now. I believe, the US government would like to put through above all high standards, but not take over, after all, the responsibility for bank salaries.

    World on Sunday: What do you hold of the fact that banks for the next two years pay no bonuses and dividends to strengthen her capital?

    Dimon: With this suggestion you are quite close in the reality. Many banks have generally paid no dividends, even we have reduced ours, although we are well equipped with company capital.

    World on Sunday: The salaries of the banks are high, nevertheless.

    Dimon: A smaller part was paid to many bank managers cash and a high interest was compensated in stocks. With us these stocks about many years must be held, and they are defeated by austere regulations which
    make a reclaim every single possible.

    World on Sunday: Nevertheless, bankers also stand collectively under pressure. How want you to prevent that the regulation of the finance branch damages?

    Dimon: We must be quick. We must bring facts in the debate and over and over again say: Accusations, reproaches, generalizations – this leads to nothing. If the subjects have disappeared first of all from
    the newspapers, they are finished mostly fast. And if the problem of “Too big too fail” is solved first of all, all other also takes care. But one must be also clear: Many institutes have behaved very responsibly. The policy should prescribe because of me to the
    irresponsible banks how they should behave, but do not give instructions to all banks and themselves then with the assertion rausreden (edit note: out, get out) that one must treat everything immediately.

    World on Sunday: If the regulation becomes more austere: How strongly will the yield of the banks go back?

    Dimon: I do not know this. If the profits fall too strongly, a lot of capital will move somewhere else where there is to earn more, for instance, in not adjusted markets. It is the question whether the
    regulators want this.

    World on Sunday: Do you have, actually enough, influence on the politicians?

    Dimon: At the end of the day the politicians as well as the banks want to do this what is well for her land and for the system. However, in some cases is absent us, I think, the possibility of informing of
    our points of view the politicians and of supplying them with the right facts.

    World on Sunday: They should have more influence?

    Dimon: We would have with pleasure a place at the table. All problems can be regulated, if reasonable people sit together. It is neither helpful nor fair to state that all bankers or politicians are bad people. We should worry not all people about the same comb.

    World on Sunday: Even US-president Barack Obama has put the Wall Street bankers collectively to the pillory.

    Dimon: Is right. But we with JP Morgan work hard, and we admit if we make mistakes. But we have not caused the crisis. Really we have even helped in this crisis to stabilize the system. We have bought Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual when the government has asked us for it. As well as we have tried many banks in the whole world to do the right thing in the crisis. But in the history it always was in such a way: If the times are bad, the people get rightly excited and
    search somebody whom they can reprove.

    World on Sunday: How do you explain this?

    Dimon: It is due to the fact that we have a very special respect with our customers. In contrast to car manufacturers or steel groups we must often say no. To a new loan, for instance. It is also our task
    to discipline our customers that they pay back possibly her loans on time. And if the times are hard, everything remembers that the banks have suddenly done problems. But they sometimes do not remember that bankers have also helped them.

    World on Sunday: But JP Morgan also not always behaves as mercifully. They have invested in real estate derivatives and have sold the papers to other institutes than it became too hot to you. This is to export poison garbage in another land.

    Dimon: If this was in such a way, you would be right. But we have stopped basically very early investing in such products, and have sold the papers which we owned because we were not persuaded of the logic of the transactions and have seen risks which we wanted to avoid.

    World on Sunday: Do you believe that the financial world again could lose thus the discipline like at that time?

    Dimon: People will also do from now on mistake, so that one can exclude not completely.

    World on Sunday: Is that now again the case?

    Dimon: No. The markets are very active again, but this is no reason for the worry, it is good for the markets and the lands.

    World on Sunday: If you could invest your whole savings in a currency which would this be?

    Dimon: Probably in the US dollar. However, there are also smaller currencies which could strongly rise.

    World on Sunday: But, nevertheless, the American dollar will suffer from the rising inflation.

    Dimon: This makes no difference if the money is well invested. Do not underestimate the ability of the USA and the Americans to change, to continue in spite of repercussions and to grow.

    World on Sunday: And what do you admire in Germany?

    Dimon: Germany is a fantastic land with a great industrial base. Their German sometimes are too critically to yourselves towards. But German enterprises have got to become more competitive in an
    increasingly more competitive-intensive world.

    World on Sunday: One lately accuses us more often, we export too much zulasten (edit note: The Bradley Effect) more different.

    Dimon: Nevertheless, this is a nonsense. German companies export not so much because the wages would be possibly low, but because they dispose of technology, knowledge and engineer’s art. I have
    talked here with enterprise which are for 50, 70 or 100 years in the business. One cannot even do the knowledge in these enterprises just thus replicate – it has rooted too deeply to be copied simply. This makes Germany strong and for us so interesting.

    – Jörg Eigendorf and Tobias Kaiser led the conversation

    http://www.welt.de/die-welt/wirtschaft/article7230011/Wir-haetten-gern-einen-Platz-am-Tisch.html

  27. http://www.welt.de/die-welt/wirtschaft/article7230011/Wir-haetten-gern-einen-Platz-am-Tisch.html

    Welt Online (World Online)

    “Wir hätten gern einen Platz am Tisch”
    Von Jörg Eigendorf;Tobias Kaiser 18. April 2010, 04:00 Uhr

    JP-Morgan-Chef Jamie Dimon fordert mehr Einfluss der Banken auf politische Entscheidungen und erklärt, warum er für die USA optimistischer ist als für Europa

    Zwei Minuten vor der vereinbarten Zeit steht Jamie Dimon in der Tür. Unerwartet pünktlich bei Terminen zu erscheinen, dafür ist der Vorstandsvorsitzende von JPMorgan Chase bekannt. Der Fotograf, der im Besprechungszimmer im Berliner “Hotel Adlon” wartet, freut sich. Schließlich bleibt nun mehr Zeit für Fotos. Dimon posiert, scherzt und lächelt in die Kamera. Die gute Laune muss er nicht spielen: JPMorgan Chase geht es glänzend – und das schon seit Monaten. Während die Bankenbranche im vergangenen Jahr unter den Folgen der Finanzkrise ächzte, machte JPMorgan kontinuierlich Gewinne. Zuletzt verblüffte der wohl einflussreichste US-Banker in der vergangenen
    Woche die Anleger mit glänzenden Ergebnissen für das erste Quartal.

    Welt am Sonntag: Herr Dimon, Sie haben mal gesagt, Sie führen Ihre Bank so, als stünde sie kurz vor der Pleite. Mit welcher Katastrophe rechnen Sie als Nächstes?

    Jamie Dimon: Ich führe die Bank nicht so, als könnte sie morgen pleitegehen. Aber ich bin für widrige Umstände gerüstet. Wenn Sie den Atlantik überqueren, können Sie auf Sonne hoffen, aber Sie müssen auch damit rechnen, dass ein Sturm wütet oder sogar ein
    Hurrikan.

    Welt am Sonntag: Was wäre ein möglicher Hurrikan?

    Dimon: Wir rechnen immer wieder alle möglichen Szenarien durch, auch sehr unwahrscheinliche. Im Moment fragen wir uns schon, ob es einen Double-Dip, also einen zweiten Rückfall geben kann. Das Wachstum kann noch einmal einbrechen, obwohl ich dieses Szenario nicht für wahrscheinlich halte.

    Welt am Sonntag: Vor zwei Jahren haben Sie uns in einem Interview gesagt, niemand wisse, wie lange die Rezession in den USA andauern werde. Wissen Sie heute, wie lang die Krise noch dauern wird?

    Dimon: Nein, ich kann immer noch nicht in die Zukunft sehen. Aber ich glaube, die Erholung wird schneller und stärker als erwartet. Da bin ich optimistischer als viele meiner Kollegen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Trotz steigender Rohstoffpreise und schon bald höherer Zinsen?

    Dimon: Es ist in der Tat möglich, dass die Zinssätze stärker steigen als erwartet. Wenn wir dann ein starkes Wirtschaftswachstum haben, wäre das kein Problem. Aber wenn das Wachstum stagniert, wäre das furchtbar, dann hätten wir Stagflation – Inflation bei
    wirtschaftlicher Stagnation. Die Regierungen müssen deshalb jetzt ihre Konjunktur- und Liquiditätshilfen klug abbauen – nicht zu schnell und nicht zu langsam.

    Welt am Sonntag: Erwarten Sie eine frühe Erholung nur für die Vereinigten Staaten oder auch für Europa?

    Dimon: Ich glaube, die Vereinigten Staaten kommen
    schneller und stärker zurück.

    Welt am Sonntag: Warum?

    Dimon: Die amerikanische Regierung hat sehr schnell auf die Krise reagiert. Europa in seiner Gänze war hier langsamer, ich denke, zum Teil, weil es ein engeres soziales Netz hat. Das hat zwar viele Menschen vor dem Absturz bewahrt, aber verlangsamt auch die Erholung. Außerdem sind einige europäische Banken noch hoch verschuldet, das gilt auch für einige europäische Staaten.

    Welt am Sonntag: Können Schieflagen wie die in Griechenland zum Auslöser einer neuen Finanzkrise werden?

    Dimon: Die Höhe der Schulden ist erschreckend. Aber ich glaube nicht, dass die Staatsschulden das Wachstum verringern werden.

    Welt am Sonntag: Aber viele Länder, auch die Vereinigten Staaten, müssen ihre Haushalte drastisch zurückfahren. Das wird doch die Wirtschaft dämpfen.

    Dimon: Regierungen können nach ihrem eigenen Zeitplan fahren: Sie haben die Möglichkeit, Steuern zu erheben, Kredite zu sehr günstigen Konditionen aufzunehmen und sich für praktisch unendliche
    Zeiträume zu refinanzieren. Und in vielen Fällen können sie sogar Geld drucken, was natürlich auf Dauer Inflation zur Folge hätte.

    Welt am Sonntag: Haben Sie Angst vor Inflation?

    Dimon: Ich habe nicht so sehr Angst vor einer Inflation, die auf Werte von drei Prozent oder mehr steigt; das wäre nur vorübergehend. Aber wir müssen verhindern, dass die Geldentwertung außer Kontrolle
    gerät, so wie in den 70er-Jahren. Die Politiker sollten deshalb Schulden abbauen, ohne zu viel Inflation zu schaffen. Und das heißt: Sie müssen die Ausgaben verringern.

    Welt am Sonntag: Der Internationale Währungsfonds denkt laut darüber nach, dass vier bis fünf Prozent kontrollierte Inflation den Staaten helfen könnten …

    Dimon: Sie können keine Inflationsrate von fünf Prozent anstreben und glauben, Sie könnten sie dann noch kontrollieren. Wie heißt es so schön: Wer mit der Inflation flirtet, wird auch von ihr geküsst.

    Welt am Sonntag: Sie gelten als ein Zahlenmensch – obwohl Ihre Großeltern aus Griechenland in die USA kamen …

    Dimon: (lacht) Sie können über alles mit mir reden. Aber machen Sie mich bitte nicht für die Situation in Griechenland verantwortlich!

    Welt am Sonntag: Macht die Lage im Euro-Raum Ihnen Sorgen?

    Dimon: Ja, die Staatsverschuldung ist ein großes Problem, dessen schlimme Folgen allen klar sind. Aber ich glaube, mit einer ordentlichen Haushaltsführung kommt Griechenland wieder aus seiner misslichen Lage raus.

    Welt am Sonntag: Jedoch nur mithilfe anderer Euro-Länder und des IMF.

    Dimon: Ja, und die Bedingungen werden hart sein. Deshalb ist es auch richtig, eine supranationale Organisation wie den IMF an der Rettung zu beteiligen. Der hat es einfacher, strenge Auflagen
    durchzusetzen. Wenn die Europäer also keine Hilfe von außen wollen, dann können sie irgendwann einen eigenen europäischen Währungsfonds aufbauen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Sollten wir nicht einfach mal ein Exempel statuieren und ein Land bankrottgehen lassen?

    Dimon: Das hätte im Moment möglicherweise schlimme Kettenreaktionen zur Folge. Andere Länder könnten in eine ähnliche Schieflage geraten, sodass die Kosten der Rettung immer teurer würden. Wer will das riskieren?

    Welt am Sonntag: Aber nun haben Hedgefonds, die auf diese Rettung spekuliert haben, hohe Gewinne erzielt. Man hätte doch zumindest die Gläubiger Griechenlands zur Kasse bitten können.

    Dimon: Die Regierungschefs der Euro-Länder wussten auch, dass eine teilweise Abschreibung auf griechische Bonds die Banken im eigenen Land hart getroffen hätte. Da leiht man lieber das Geld
    dem Nachbarn, als dass man gleich wieder seine eigenen Banken retten muss. Das ist nachvollziehbar.

    Welt am Sonntag: Was muss eigentlich geschehen, damit wir zumindest mal eine Bank bankrottgehen lassen können?

    Dimon: Wir müssen dafür sorgen, dass jede Bank pleitegehen kann. Dass ein Geldhaus kollabiert, ist ja an sich nichts Schlimmes, sondern gehört zur Marktwirtschaft. Die Pleite darf nur nicht das ganze System ins Wanken bringen. Too big to fail – das darf es nicht mehr geben.

    Welt am Sonntag: Da stimmt Ihnen jeder zu, aber wie wollen Sie das erreichen?

    Dimon: Ich halte viel von der Idee eines speziellen
    Insolvenzverfahrens für sehr große, komplexe Finanzinstitute. Dazu müssen vorher die Regeln festgelegt werden, wie bankrotte Institute temporär unter staatlicher Obhut weiterbetrieben werden können.
    Andernfalls droht der Blutkreislauf des globalen Finanzmarkts zu gefrieren, wie wir das bei einigen Bankenpleiten beobachten konnten. Was zählt, ist, dass eine angeschlagene Bank während eines solchen Verfahrens weiter finanziert wird.

    Welt am Sonntag: Wer soll denn dafür bezahlen, dass die Geschäfte weitergehen?

    Dimon: Das muss nicht viel kosten, im Gegenteil. Bei einigen der größten Bankenpleiten wurden Milliardenwerte vernichtet, weil die Märkte in Panik gerieten. Zum Zeitpunkt der Pleite besaßen aber
    diese Institute Aktien, ungesicherte Anleihen und andere Vermögenswerte im Werte vieler Milliarden Dollar. Das Geld war also da.

    Welt am Sonntag: Trotzdem müsste eine Insolvenzeinrichtung erst einmal Geld vorschießen, wenn es zu Abschreibungen kommt.

    Dimon: Das sollten die Banken finanzieren und nicht die Steuerzahler. Wir zahlen heute bereits für die Einlagensicherung. Allein JP Morgan hat seit Anfang 2008 sechs Milliarden Dollar für US-Banken überwiesen, die pleitegegangen sind – über zehn Prozent des Gesamtschadens von 55 Milliarden Dollar.

    Welt am Sonntag: Wenn heute ein anderer Lehman-Fall stattfände – würden wir damit wirklich besser umgehen?

    Dimon: Die Regulierer arbeiten derzeit an einem Plan, wonach die Einlagensicherung eine Bank wie Lehman übernehmen dürfte, diese rechtliche Möglichkeit bestand damals nicht. Wäre das damals möglich gewesen, hätte sie der Welt sagen können: Die Verträge
    bestehen weiter. Und uns allen wäre viel erspart geblieben.

    Welt am Sonntag: Warum haben es die großen Banken dieser Welt noch nicht geschafft, einen gemeinsamen, kohärenten Plan vorzulegen, wie sich solche Krisen künftig vermeiden lassen?

    Dimon: Eine tolle Frage. Einzig: Das haben wir. Die Banken haben viele Vorschläge gemacht. Aber es ist nicht unsere Aufgabe, Gesetze zu verfassen. Neulich hat mich ein Senator gefragt, warum wir Banken uns nicht zusammensetzen und uns über die Entlohnung
    unserer Mitarbeiter verständigen. Das einzige Problem dabei ist: Das wäre illegal.

    Welt am Sonntag: Aber Banken und Regulierer sitzen doch oft zusammen, um ihre Arbeit zu koordinieren.

    Dimon: Glauben Sie mir, ich kann nicht mit anderen Bankvorständen beschließen, wie viel wir unseren besten Leuten zahlen. Das lassen die Wettbewerbsbehörden nicht zu. Wir leben immer noch in einer Marktwirtschaft.

    Welt am Sonntag: Dann müssen Sie aber damit rechnen, dass die Regierung vorschreibt, wie viel Sie noch verdienen dürfen.

    Dimon: Dies ist bislang nicht passiert. Ich glaube, die US-Regierung möchte vor allem hohe Standards durchsetzen, aber letzten Endes nicht die Verantwortung für Bankgehälter übernehmen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Was halten Sie davon, dass Banken für die nächsten zwei Jahre keine Boni und Dividenden zahlen, um ihr Kapital zu stärken?

    Dimon: Mit diesem Vorschlag sind Sie ziemlich nah an der Realität. Viele Banken haben überhaupt keine Dividenden bezahlt, selbst wir haben unsere reduziert, obwohl wir gut mit Eigenkapital
    ausgestattet sind.

    Welt am Sonntag: Die Gehälter der Banken sind trotzdem hoch.

    Dimon: Vielen Bankmanagern wurde ein kleinerer Teil bar ausgezahlt und ein hoher Anteil in Aktien vergütet. Bei uns müssen diese Aktien über viele Jahre gehalten werden, und sie unterliegen strengen Bestimmungen, die eine Rückforderung durch die Bank
    möglich machen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Trotzdem stehen auch Banker kollektiv unter Druck. Wie wollen Sie verhindern, dass die Regulierung der Finanzbranche schadet?

    Dimon: Wir müssen schnell sein. Wir müssen Fakten in die Debatte bringen und immer wieder sagen: Anschuldigungen, Vorwürfe, Verallgemeinerungen – das führt zu nichts. Wenn die Themen erst einmal aus den Zeitungen verschwunden sind, werden sie meist schnell erledigt. Und wenn das Problem des “Too big too fail” erst einmal gelöst ist, dann erledigt sich auch alles andere. Aber eins muss auch klar sein: Viele Institute haben sich sehr verantwortungsbewusst verhalten. Die Politik soll meinetwegen den
    verantwortungslosen Banken vorschreiben, wie sie sich verhalten sollen, aber nicht allen Banken Vorschriften machen und sich dann mit der Behauptung rausreden, dass man alle gleich behandeln muss.

    Welt am Sonntag: Wenn die Regulierung strenger wird: Wie stark wird die Rendite der Banken zurückgehen?

    Dimon: Das weiß ich nicht. Wenn die Gewinne zu stark fallen, dann wird viel Kapital woanders hinziehen, wo es mehr zu verdienen gibt, beispielsweise in nicht regulierte Märkte. Es ist die Frage, ob die Regulierer das wollen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Haben Sie eigentlich genügend Einfluss auf die Politiker?

    Dimon: Am Ende des Tages wollen sowohl die Politiker als auch die Banken das tun, was gut für ihr Land und für das System ist. In manchen Fällen fehlt uns aber, denke ich, die Möglichkeit, den Politikern unsere Standpunkte mitzuteilen und sie mit den richtigen Fakten zu versorgen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Sie sollten also mehr Einfluss haben?

    Dimon: Wir hätten sehr gern einen Platz am Tisch. Alle Probleme können geregelt werden, wenn vernünftige Menschen zusammensitzen. Es ist weder hilfreich noch fair zu behaupten, alle Banker oder
    Politiker seien schlechte Menschen. Wir sollten nicht alle Menschen über den gleichen Kamm scheren.

    Welt am Sonntag: Selbst der US-Präsident Barack Obama hat die Wall-Street-Banker kollektiv an den Pranger gestellt.

    Dimon: Stimmt. Aber wir bei JP Morgan arbeiten hart, und wir geben zu, wenn wir Fehler machen. Aber wir haben die Krise nicht verursacht. Tatsächlich haben wir in dieser Krise sogar geholfen, das System zu stabilisieren. Wir haben Bear Stearns und Washington Mutual gekauft, als die Regierung uns darum gebeten hat. So wie wir haben viele Banken auf der ganzen Welt versucht, in der Krise das Richtige zu tun. Aber in der Geschichte war es schon immer so: Wenn die Zeiten schlecht sind, erregen sich die Leute zu Recht und suchen jemanden, den sie tadeln können.

    Welt am Sonntag: Wie erklären Sie sich das?

    Dimon: Es liegt daran, dass wir eine sehr spezielle Beziehung zu unseren Kunden haben. Im Gegensatz zu Autoherstellern oder Stahlkonzernen müssen wir oft Nein sagen. Zu einem neuen Kredit beispielsweise. Es ist auch unsere Aufgabe, unsere Kunden zu disziplinieren, dass sie etwa ihre Kredite pünktlich zurückzahlen. Und wenn die Zeiten hart sind, erinnern sich alle daran, dass die Banken plötzlich Probleme gemacht haben. Aber manchmal erinnern sie sich nicht daran, dass Banker ihnen auch geholfen haben.

    Welt am Sonntag: Aber JP Morgan verhält sich auch nicht immer wie barmherzig. Sie haben in Immobilien-Derivate investiert und die Papiere an andere Institute verkauft, als es Ihnen zu heiß wurde. Das ist, wie Giftmüll in ein anderes Land zu exportieren.

    Dimon: Wenn das so wäre, hätten Sie recht. Aber wir haben grundsätzlich sehr früh aufgehört, in solche Produkte zu investieren, und haben die Papiere, die wir besaßen, verkauft, weil wir von der Logik der Transaktionen nicht überzeugt waren und Risiken gesehen haben, die wir vermeiden wollten.

    Welt am Sonntag: Glauben Sie, dass die Finanzwelt wieder so die Disziplin verlieren könnte wie damals?

    Dimon: Menschen werden auch künftig Fehler machen, sodass man das nicht völlig ausschließen kann.

    Welt am Sonntag: Ist das jetzt schon wieder der Fall?

    Dimon: Nein. Die Märkte sind wieder sehr aktiv, aber das ist kein Grund zur Sorge, es ist gut für die Märkte und die Länder.

    Welt am Sonntag: Wenn Sie Ihre ganzen Ersparnisse in eine Währung investieren könnten, welche wäre das?

    Dimon: Wahrscheinlich in den US-Dollar. Es gibt allerdings auch kleinere Währungen, die stark steigen könnten.

    Welt am Sonntag: Aber der amerikanische Dollar wird doch unter der steigenden Inflation leiden.

    Dimon: Das ist egal, wenn das Geld gut investiert wird. Unterschätzen Sie nicht die Fähigkeit der USA und der Amerikaner, sich zu ändern, trotz Rückschlägen weiterzumachen und zu wachsen.

    Welt am Sonntag: Und was bewundern Sie an Deutschland?

    Dimon: Deutschland ist ein fantastisches Land mit einer großartigen industriellen Basis. Ihr Deutsche seid manchmal zu kritisch euch selbst gegenüber. Aber deutsche Unternehmen haben es geschafft, wettbewerbsfähiger zu werden in einer zunehmend
    wettbewerbsintensiveren Welt.

    Welt am Sonntag: Man wirft uns in letzter Zeit häufiger vor, wir exportieren zu viel zulasten anderer.

    Dimon: Das ist doch Unsinn. Deutsche Firmen exportieren nicht so viel, weil die Löhne etwa niedrig wären, sondern weil sie über Technologie, Wissen und Ingenieurskunst verfügen. Ich habe hier
    mit Unternehmen geredet, die seit 50, 70 oder 100 Jahren im Geschäft sind. Das Wissen in diesen Unternehmen kann man nicht mal eben so replizieren – es ist zu tief verwurzelt, um einfach kopiert zu werden. Das macht Deutschland stark und für uns so interessant.

    – Das Gespräch führten Jörg Eigendorf und Tobias Kaiser

    http://www.welt.de/die-welt/wirtschaft/article7230011/Wir-haetten-gern-einen-Platz-am-Tisch.html

  28. Here’s an interesting tidbit – Reuter’s,AP,Newsweek,Time, Washington Post,The Economist,and other unmentionables are all owned partially,or wholly by Macromedia – which ironically is a subsidiary of the Rothschilds Family Holdings. PS. Check out Estee’Lauders general council,and her twenty year (Lynn Forester de Rothschild?) freindship with NY’s Southern District Judge sitting on the bench ie.) Goldman Sachs versus the US Gov’t?

  29. Robert Smith

    He could do a debate after he does his commencement address at Syracuse University!

  30. So Jamie Dimon needs “better access for bankers to politicians.” What is he proposing, that every politician add a desk in his/her office for a Wall Street lobbyist?

    My proposed solution to the Wall Street problem can be best understood by viewing the photo at http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,690156,00.html. But first, substitute a Wall Street banker for the boar.

  31. Far-fetched Jack54 but, I appreciate your wit and comments, thank you : – )

    In keeping on the Scotus theme…

    “What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do” (Aristotle). Seems to be the mystery the invites the very nature of Evil’s empty compassion and absence of empathy to find a hollowed and empty erect body of common purpose as;

    “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” (Aristotle). For we can not achieve Good or Excellence as an erect body and soul without passion for the human condition that breeds life, hence the point of evil and eventual death; this is why,

    “It is possible then to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way” (Aristotle). As this is the call made to all that hold the position to be able to make change to the human condition.

    I think a good way to end this deep thinking session comes with…

    “All men are by nature equal, made all the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is poor peasant as the mighty prince” (Plato).

    Simply stated, Goldman Sachs, and all the rest are and never will be GODS Bank nor is the Catholic Church for those wanting to rush in to toss in their two cents.

    The Creator defined for all is “I am” or also known as GOD. When man places himself before all the rest, as we discussed the love, compassion, and empathy part, for your fellow neighbor (man / women “human”) you have the full definition of evil exposed.

    If you are Christian or even if you are not, these are two good theories to live by. The first, greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart and soul and the second, to do the same with your neighbor.

    From the sounds of the media today, and the continued layers of more covering up. Further folks are going to be losing their homes and jobs. Looks like the neighbor thing is having a little difficulty these days with the banking and financial folks; and for that matter, a lot of other industries just not putting people back to work. To many erect bodies putting profits first and not second, though some real great earnings are coming so far as reported these fist couple of weeks. Look at what came across the wires from Apple and others tonight reinforces even more the reason for this post tonight.

    God bless…

    Far-fetched, Not anymore…

    James Gornick

  32. Simon and Kwak,

    Every time I read your blog posts I think of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay voicing their beliefs in the Federalist Papers. The masses are starting to listen and the evil that infests Wall Street will be exposed for what they are, criminals! Please keep fighting the good fight and don’t give up – we need you more than ever right now! I can’t convey in words how much I appreciate your efforts.

  33. News Flash: B of A is the largest bank in the world,stealthly,and quietly staying out of the fray. JP Morgan Chase however is now a close second by a hooked nose. Their closest competitor now…is Goldman Sachs – a very,very distant third,with all the rest, ie.)Citigroup,Wachovia,PNC,etc. are falling by the wayside(dying on the vine,so say I),and the “Two (BofA&JPMC) Behemoths” are waltzing merrily along hand-n-hand away from the maddening crowd.

  34. Correction: Wells Fargo bought Wachovia ,and yes,Im gettin tired – sorry for the error.

  35. Indeed, good point about the SCOTUS and its … interesting decision that banks can ((continue to make campaign contributions) / (hire elected officials to write and apply the laws for them)) on the grounds that banks are “persons”. If banks are persons in the same sense that you and I are, why isn’t the name of Goldman Sachs, Inc on the electoral register?

    Maybe the next edition of the book after the next crisis could be titled 13 Bankers + 9 Justices = Moral Bankruptcy

  36. James: A very good post! I think your post is getting at the root of how and why individuals, human beings functioning as bankers who are God’s creations, have been able to do what they have done for a very long time. Especially being the epicenter of the housing bubble and collapse. The bankers have certainly not had empathy for all those affected by their actions. Your quote from Plato bears repeating:

    “All men are by nature equal, made all the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is poor peasant as the mighty prince” (Plato).

    Those entrusted with such an important function, such as investment banking, would better serve us and themselves if their actions where God-centered.

  37. Yes, Simon, get that challenge out. In fact propose a debate with whomever the various CEO’s wish to appoint up to five people. You can chose to go it alone or have Bill Black, Joe Stiglitz, and ??? to accompany you. We are waiting with bated breath to watch and listen. But, it must be a public forum. You’ll cream their hindparts up one side and down the other. Maybe they’ll chose to send Mitch McConnell, wouldn’t that be a blast!! Just kidding, he’d never show up.

  38. Thank you William and George for your warm comments and also for your continued insights and comments.

    I hope more see the light of this story that is unfolding within this topic Simon pulled me towards and inspired.

    Their are deep messages that are, as you put it, direct without any further need of one to ponder their meaning.

    Again, thank you…

    James

  39. better be a public place.
    especially not a downstairs bathroom.
    if i am around he will need the Popemobile.
    i don’t want him dead, just hurt.

  40. I recently read that JP Morgan Chase – their private bank mind you (the ole classic tale of the,”camel getting his nose under the tent”?)has laid the groundwork for “International Expansion” to purge the Asian Tigers,and Eastern European,and South-East Asian Markets (Globalization of America’s Banking System coming too your area – Emerging Markets?) using Bear Stearns brokerage subsidiary as a can-opener,…?

  41. Re: @ EllenD…..tis a shame that Mr.Rose has been put out to pasture,as with so many other contemporary prolific minds,…sad,just sad.

  42. Jaime,

    Goldman Sachs steal OVEr $100 million a day stocks by manipulation, secret software and codes.

    How much does your Bank JP morgan make in a day?

    Richard Keane

    here is some facts about Goldman Sachs. http://www.SiriusNews.com/blog see the 12 items listed.