Shorter Jamie Dimon: “I am not a psychopath”

As business professor Clive Boddy describes it, banksters like Jamie Dimon succeed–and cause great catastrophe–because they are able to exploit the chaos of today’s business environment while ignoring the consequences of their ruthlessness.

Boddy says psychopaths take advantage of the “relative chaotic nature of the modern corporation,” including “rapid change, constant renewal” and high turnover of “key personnel.” Such circumstances allow them to ascend through a combination of “charm” and “charisma,” which makes “their behaviour invisible” and “makes them appear normal and even to be ideal leaders.”

[snip]

They “largely caused the crisis” because their “single- minded pursuit of their own self-enrichment and self- aggrandizement to the exclusion of all other considerations has led to an abandonment of the old-fashioned concept of noblesse oblige, equality, fairness, or of any real notion of corporate social responsibility.”

Boddy doesn’t name names, but the type of personality he describes is recognizable to all from the financial crisis.

He says the unnamed “they” seem “to be unaffected” by the corporate collapses they cause. These psychopaths “present themselves as glibly unbothered by the chaos around them, unconcerned about those who have lost their jobs, savings and investments, and as lacking any regrets about what they have done.

Meanwhile, a Reuters article offers a possible explanation for how millions of MF Global funds disappeared: because its clearing firm, JP Morgan Chase, dawdled while clearing hundreds of millions of dollars in securities MF Global sold to Goldman Sachs as an effort to stay afloat.

MF Global unloaded hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of securities to Goldman Sachs in the days leading up to its collapse, according to two former MF Global employees with direct knowledge of the transactions. But it did not immediately receive payment from its clearing firm and lender, JPMorgan Chase & Co , one of the sources said.

The sale of securities to Goldman occurred on October 27, just days before MF Global Holdings Ltd filed for bankruptcy on October 31, the ex-employees said. One of the employees said the transaction was cleared with JPMorgan Chase.

[snip]

JPMorgan has fought aggressively in bankruptcy court to protect its interests, and received a lien on some of MF Global’s assets in exchange for granting the firm $8 million to fund its bankruptcy costs. The lien puts JPMorgan’s interests ahead of MF Global customers who have not yet received an estimated $900 million worth of money from their accounts, which remain frozen as regulators search for missing funds.

As it turns out, a week before JPMC was stalling on clearing MF Global’s sales, Jamie Dimon sent out an email to JPMC employees boasting about the firm’s expansion at a time of strife for the industry.

“2011 was another year of challenges, both for JPMorgan Chase and for countries around the world,” Dimon wrote in a year-end e-mail to staff. “There is a lot of frustration out there and more than a little hostility toward our industry.”

[snip]

JPMorgan hired 16,000 people in the U.S. in 2011, Dimon said in the letter, expanding its total workforce to more than 260,000 in a year when financial companies announced more than 200,000 job cuts and protests against Wall Street firms spread worldwide. The New York-based lender is adding about 175 branches a year in the U.S., he said.

“In the face of challenges, JPMorgan Chase is doing its part,” Dimon wrote. “We have not shrunk back.”

I tell you, indefinite detention looks better and better for Jamie Dimon.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

15 replies
  1. rugger9 says:

    The chickens are inbound, but for Jamie and his ilk they should be vultures.

    Prison is the only thing to scare these guys, and it needs to happen now.

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    For some reason, the excerpt

    “relative chaotic nature of the modern corporation,” including “rapid change, constant renewal” and high turnover of “key personnel.” Such circumstances allow them to ascend through a combination of “charm” and “charisma,” which makes “their behaviour invisible”

    reminded me of IBM in the span 1980-1999; with lots of differences, though. Maybe IBM only looked placid as it was remade over that time. However, finance is quite a different milieu.

  3. EH says:

    Meanwhile, a Reuters article offers a possible explanation for how millions of MF Global funds disappeared: because its clearing firm, JP Morgan Chase, dawdled while clearing hundreds of millions of dollars in securities MF Global sold to Goldman Sachs as an effort to stay afloat.

    Fraud-kiting?

  4. Gitcheegumee says:

    JP Morgan Profits From Food Stamp Processing Business – Seeking …

    seekingalpha.com/…/247234-jp-morgan-profits-from-food-stamp-pr…
    Jan 19, 2011 – JP Morgan (JPM) is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit …

    JPM…..”We’re not greedy,we just commandeer way MORE than our (fair) share.”

  5. JohnT says:

    Coincidentally enough, I was just reading through these links over the weekend

    The high psychopathy students, as well as recording low empathy on the self-report test, also scored poorly on the Iowa Card Gambling task (relative to the low psychopathy students), reflecting the same kind of performance seen in criminal psychopaths. This gambling task is thought to measure functioning in a specific frontal region of the brain called orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), which is known to be involved in emotion and decision-making.

    Yet despite this deficit, the high psychopathy students showed normal executive function and IQ, just as most criminal psychopaths do. The researchers said their findings show that criminal and non-criminal psychopaths share the same neuropsychological profile.

    So what is it that makes criminal psychopaths get into trouble, while non-criminal psychopaths do not? The researchers speculated that criminal psychopaths may be steered towards criminality by their backgrounds, in particular a lack of early parental supervision, deprivation and having a convicted parent.

    http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2008/06/not-all-psychopaths-are-criminal.html

    In a paper recently published in the Journal of Business Ethics entitled “The Corporate Psychopaths: Theory of the Global Financial Crisis”, Clive R Boddy identifies these people as psychopaths.

    “They are,” he says, “simply the 1 per cent of people who have no conscience or empathy.” And he argues: “Psychopaths, rising to key senior positions within modern financial corporations, where they are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organisation and yield considerable power, have largely caused the [banking] crisis’.

    And Mr Boddy is not alone. In Jon Ronson’s widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare told the author: “I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.”

    Really long url from the independent

    The criminal psychopath has been observed and studied for almost a century. But except for a short mention by Cleckley, the idea of a successful psychopath – ordinary by almost all external standards – has remained shrouded in that pervasive “conspiracy of silence”. As this series progresses, it will become clear why this is the case and what exactly are the ramifications of such a dangerous gap in knowledge and awareness. So far the only in-depth presentation of the problem of successful psychopaths has been Paul Babiak’s and Robert Hare’s book Snakes in Suits, published in 2006. The book is essential reading, and has the potential to save your life, literally. The information it contains is universal and can be applied to interactions on any social level.

    Babiak, as an industrial and organizational psychologist, encountered his first corporate psychopath in 1992. By studying operators like “Dave” in the corporate environment, Babiak not only brought into focus the methods by which psychopaths infiltrate and ascend the corporate ladder of success, he shattered previous illusions about what was and wasn’t possible for psychopaths to accomplish. Many in the industry thought psychopaths wouldn’t be able to succeed in business. They thought that psychopaths’ bullying and narcissistic behaviors would be off-putting to potential hirers, and that their abuse and manipulations would inevitably lead to failure within the company. In fact, the so-called “experts” couldn’t have been more wrong. They seemed to have neglected the uncanny ability of psychopaths to present an image of extreme normality, and even excellence, to their victims. And that is what we are to them: victims, potential “marks”, suckers.

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/208020-Ponerology-101-Snakes-in-Suits

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