another fine mess you’ve gotten us into

so wall street types are more psychopathic than psychopaths:

“According to a new study at the University of St. Gallen seen by SPIEGEL, one contributing factor may be that stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths….

“Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren’t aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, ‘it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents,’ Noll explained. ‘And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents.'”

but everybody’s always known that the financial world is full of the crookedest of crooks. always.

the OWS people shouldn’t be targeting downtown manhattan. they need — we ALL need — to get after our psychopathic leaders [sic] (and they are probably psychopaths, too, the lot of them — with a handful of narcissists thrown in).

congress should just be emptied of all of its occupants, with the possible exception of ron paul. they’re the enablers of the wall street crowd by doing things like repealing glass-steagall, along with uncountable other actions.

and every single last lobbyist in washington should be run out of town — no, out of the country.

but it’s not entirely their fault, either. everybody’s happy to have psychopaths do the dirty work as long as we all benefit — as long as the economy is ticking over nicely and everything’s alright. then we don’t have to get our hands dirty, right?

is that one of the reasons why there are always some psychopaths present in the population? in an inclusive fitness sort-of way they also benefit some of their fellows in their population?

(note: comments do not require an email. watch out for the psycho-path.)


  1. You’re blaming the great recession on the repeal of regulations? Are you serious? Do you not realize that the Federal Deposit Insurance set up by the Glass-Steagall Act was one of the most significant elements of the socialization of the American monetary unit and the cartelizing of the banking sector? Do you know anything about economics?

    Perhaps you should take time out from reading the anthropology journals and read some Mises, Hayek, Simon, Menger, Rothbard, Kirzner, etc.. Really, ignorance is not attractive. It hurts your reproductive fitness. As an HBDer, how can you live with that? That’s got a be a fate worse than death for the Darwinitis crowd.


  2. @jack – “Do you know anything about economics?”

    i know enough to know that libertarian economic theory is a bunch of baloney.

    primarily because it doesn’t take into account human biodiversity and the fact that humans are not rational actors — not to mention that many of them are given to corruption and downright evil.

    humans are not to be trusted. if you want a functioning society (including the economic side of it), you need regulations.


  3. If you want to learn about sociopathy a letter from one is a good place to start. There is also a website for and by sociopaths, SocioPathWorld. “Sharks in Suits” is supposed to be good, but the title says it all.

    I think we also need to take another long, hard look at the role of joint-stock limited-liablility for-profit corporations in a liberal democracy.

    Such organization are sociopathic entities by their very constitution (they literally can’t help it given the rules of the game) and are too often manned by CEO’s who are themselves sociopathic. It can be a lethal combination. If you’ve watched “The Smartest Guys in the Room” about Enron you will see what I mean.

    Historically corporations have always been viewed with suspicion. In the beginning they were royally chartered entities given certain monopoly privileges for a limited number of years (in return for certain “considerations” shall we say).

    Even the first corporations in America were viewed with suspicion. I think our Founding Fathers made some searching observations about them. Unfortunately in its wisdom our elected officials have decided states and not just the federal government has the authority to issue such charters, with predictable results: the fewer the limitations the more charters you write!

    One of the saddest delusions is the notion of share-holder interests, the idea that top management acts in the interests of its shareholders instead of its own. This is the so-called problem of agency and has no obvious solution. CEO’s appoint their boards of directors, composed mostly of other CEO’s (on whose boards they themselves often sit), making a good old boys network of back-scratchers who get to set their own compensation!

    Not sure what the answer is but, as Dylan sang, somebody needs to investigate soon!


  4. Oops. Forgot the link to that letter from a sociopath. Here it is. Notice the natural tendency to predation, the never-ending search for vulnerable victims. I hear there’s a Darwinian explanation in terms of balanced selection, but whatever it is there are obvious problems in large, impersonal, mass societies in which individuals no longer have “reputations” to guard.


  5. @luke – “I hear there’s a Darwinian explanation in terms of balanced selection, but whatever it is there are obvious problems in large, impersonal, mass societies in which individuals no longer have ‘reputations’ to guard.”

    well, that’s the thing: what might be balanced in one society (one environment) might not — will probably not — be balanced in another society. just because the presence of psychopaths worked in, say, renaissance italy, doesn’t mean their presence will work so well in our modern, liberal world. evolutionarily stable strategies must be specific to the conditions, no?

    can’t say as i disagree with you on any of your points about modern corporations. it’s great to have a system where many people can invest in an economic venture, but the current system seems to be nearly 100% corrupt — crony capitalism and nothing else.

    when i become dictator of the world (a dream i’ve had since the age of nine), i’ll make sure to do something about it. (~_^)


  6. @Jack
    “You’re blaming the great recession on the repeal of regulations?”

    If you mean the current one then yes obviously. In simple terms investment banking was (and should be) high risk, high profit. Retail banking was (and should be) low risk, low profit. By combining the two you get a high profit (for the banks), low risk (for the banks but high risk for the taxpayers) investment sector and a dead retail sector (as why bother with low profit, low risk when you have the option of high profit, low risk).

    The upshot of this was a massive casino that ran up an 800 trillion dollar derivatives bubble which burst with subprime combined with low to no investment in actual real wealth creation. The banking cartel paying lobbyists to bribe the politicians to change the banking regulations to suit the banks is absolutely the cause of the problem.

    Absolutely 100%

    The libertarian nonsense you’re spouting is actually just the latest example in a longggg line of group competition through the creation of culture harmful to the target group. It’s cultural poison like marxism is and was.

    “is that one of the reasons why there are always some psychopaths present in the population?”

    I don’t know but psychopath + empathy = sheepdog

    (from a US army shrink doctor who was studying post-traumatic stress and found 2% of men didn’t suffer from it at all, 1% psychopath, 1% sheepdog, like those cop-bugs in a recent post.)


  7. “when i become dictator of the world (a dream i’ve had since the age of nine), i’ll make sure to do something about it.”



  8. I think somebody over at has proposed that sociopaths _are_ the only rational economic actors. I also found a good Red Velvet Cake recipe there.


  9. I’ve already signed up with my dictator. Michael Z. Williamson is running for dictator of the US, at least. I think he’ll let me run one of the tree chippers when it comes time to take care of Florida voters and Florida LEOs.


  10. Seems obvious to me, and you as an evo-psych enthusiast should see it as well: ladies love bad boys!

    In a chaotic environment (ie most of them), nice guys finish last, so if you care about your offspring, good to give them sufficiently nasty genes.

    Too many psychopaths and society breaks down. So it’s a balanced polymorphism.


  11. @justthisguy – “I think somebody over at has proposed that sociopaths _are_ the only rational economic actors.”

    that’s probably right. they are some of the most rational people around in general (see the link here to: “The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas.”)

    i feel there’s a lot of overlap between psychopaths and auties — the sheer logic side of the thinking. obviously there are differences, too.


  12. Now, now, Ma’am, when we rag on Whiskey, we should do it at Steve’s place. It’s traditional, and all.

    Though, I must say that Whiskey is a caution to me, to remind me to think before I comment. Sadly, I am afraid that the Budweiser often says to me, “What are you afraid of? Go right ahead!”


  13. Gee, I wonder if it’s possible to have both; neither a conscience nor the clever social skills to get over on people. I would not want to be That Guy. I betcha he would not live long. Like, only the Lizard part of his brain would be working.

    I mind the time my cat tried to use Rat Psychology on a lizard he was trying to eat. Mammalian psychology just didn’t work. I think I may have helped the kitty by hitting the lizard on the head with something. It was a big Cuban Anole, which are quite pretty inside, and the kitty thought it was delicious.


  14. @justhell – “Now, now, Ma’am, when we rag on Whiskey, we should do it at Steve’s place. It’s traditional, and all.”

    i coulda sworn i’ve seen little whiskey jabs @other places (mangans?), but if i’m wrong i can lay off. (^_^)

    but the “ladies love bad boys” (not that i’ll deny that!) did sound a bit like w. (~_^)


  15. quoting myself: but the “ladies love bad boys” (not that i’ll deny that!)….

    even i have to admit that i always thought han “shot first” solo (bad boy) was sexier than luke skywalker (good guy), so there you go! somewhat to my credit, han did turn out to be a good guy in the end, too, and we (ladies) loved him all the more for it (maybe) … buuuuut, the bad boy element was sexy! (~_^)


  16. It is best to be both, of course, and I know of a Naval Aviator and a Major of Marines who are both, but they are, as you wrote, “already taken.” The Naval Aviator was All-American in Saber his senior year at the Academy, and later second-in-command of Naval Fighter Weapons School (AKA Top Gun).

    He deliberately got off the “Admiral Track” in his career so as to look out for his family better and retired as a Captain. Sometime in there I believe he dropped some kaboomishness on the enemies of the Republic.

    After that tongue-bath, I should tell you his URL. He blogs at

    I read his site every day, and he has graciously allowed me to comment there since ’04, or so. Go over there and read and comment. Tell him Jtg sent you. Once he and the other commenters get to know you, I betcha you’ll fit right in.

    I’ll get to the Marine another time. Ain’t it always like that? Sorry, Major!

    Best, Jtg.


  17. Oh, Vernon Smith, an officially-dxed Aspie, got a sizeable chunk of a Nobel Prize for doing actual experiments with real humans, to see how humans actually behave economically.

    You should read his autobiography which he submitted to the Nobel people. It is a hoot. Among other things, he mentions his after-school job in high school, which was testing the machine-guns and fire-control systems of brand-new B-29 bombers. I am green with envy, I tell you, just green.


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