Commentary - 04/03/2009

Harvard's Tainted Reputation

As you well know, I've been pointing out for almost three years that highly-trained financial predators have been lyin', stealin' and murderin'. NOW, after the damage is done, the school that trained these financial monsters is trying to figure out how to repair their "tarnished" reputation. That's the theme of this commentary from Bloomberg's 4/2/2009 article Harvard Begins Case Study as Tainted MBAs Reveal Damaged Brand

The professors will ponder how the schoolís reputation has been tarnished, and may debate articles critical of the institution and its graduates who helped trigger the financial crisis, Healy said.

Harvardís alumni include Stanley OíNeal and John Thain, the former chief executive officers of Merrill Lynch & Co. who presided over the New York companyís decline; Rick Wagoner, the ousted CEO of General Motors Corp.; and Christopher Cox, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Iím sure the brand is damaged, at some level," Healy, a native of New Zealand, said in his office in Boston. "People that I know well tell me to my face, ĎYou guys have some culpability,í and I think thatís fair. Itís a good time for us to reflect and think about what the right things are for us to be doing."

Apparently, these professors didn't learn from another financial mess.
The last time the school [Harvard] overhauled its curriculum was in 2004, when it introduced a required ethics course after the 2001 Enron Corp. accounting fraud.
Doesn't this say it all?
Harvard business degrees are now "scarlet letters of shame," wrote Philip Delves Broughton, a 2006 graduate of the school, in a March 1 column in the Sunday Times of London. "Time after time and scandal after scandal, it seems that a school that graduates just 900 students a year finds itself in the thick of it."
Philip's article was Harvardís Masters of the Apocalypse, subtitled:
If his fellow Harvard MBAs are all so clever, how come so many are now in disgrace?
Philip also wrote an earlier article MBA: the letters that spell financial ruin at Harvard:
Business-savvy Masters of Disaster suck value from their employers and are of far less use to society than decent carpenters and accountants.
. . .
MBAs use their management voodoo to suck the blood of the real value creators.
You must remember that the writer of these two commentaries IS a Harvard MBA graduate.

There's even more about folks from Harvard that the above three articles DO NOT tell you.

Consider Martin Feldstein.

Martin Stuart "Marty" Feldstein (born November 25, 1939 in New York City) is a conservative American economist. He is currently the George F. Baker Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and the president and CEO of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
Not only just that, but Feldstein has been a director of American International Group (AIG) since 1988. Hmmmmm!

As if that is not enough, one of his doctoral students is none other than Larry Summers:

Lawrence Henry "Larry" Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist and the Director of the White House's National Economic Council for President Barack Obama.
. . .
He attended Harvard University as a graduate student (Ph.D., 1982), where he studied under conservative economist Martin Feldstein. In 1983, at age 28, Summers became one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history.
And it just gets worse. Bloomberg ran this today: Summersís $2.7 Million in Speech Fees Included Banks
Lawrence Summers, director of President Barack Obamaís National Economic Council, took in more than $2.7 million in speaking fees paid by organizations that included Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp., among other companies now receiving taxpayer funds in the economic bailout.
And folks wonder why our country is in so much trouble.

I've attended a few economic talks in my area and didn't realize the Harvard influence until starting to work on this commentary. There is a pattern.

First was Antonin Scalia,

Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936)[2] is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

While at Georgetown, he also studied at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and went on to study law at Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review.[4] He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University the following year.

who gave a lecture March 4, 2008 at Warrensburg, Missouri, where he said:
...I don't mean to suggest that in the bad old days judges never distorted the Constitution. Of course they did. You're going to have willful judges with you until the end of time. But in the good old days they had to distort the Constitution the good old fashioned honest way. They lied about it [laughter]...
. . .
Classes of little kids from grammar school come to the court now and then and repeat...[child like voice] "The Constitution is a living document." And I have to tell them it's dead. [laughter]...
Then came Niall Ferguson:
He is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and the William Ziegler Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
who gave a lecture October 16, 2008 at Liberty, Missouri titled "Sinking Globalization: What Could Go Wrong?" The problem I had with his speech was that he kept referring to those adversely affected by globalization as "losers" rather than victims. My point is that if a woman is mugged and raped, is she a "loser?" In my thinking, she's a victim. To me, "losers" represent the elite thinking that they're winners, rather than liars and thieves.

Last, but not least, was the recent visit by Fareed Zakaria

He received a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard.
who, on March 31, 2009, came to Kansas City.
Zakaria was there on a sorta-book tour for his book the Post-American World. The book, and the presentation, were a nice historical rundown of how -- starting with several events in 1979 -- the entire world started to globalize.
What an interesting summary. Here is Harvard's Zakaria, giving a lecture that current financial problems started around the beginning of Reagan's presidency with Harvard's Feldstein as economic advisor to kick things off. It is even more interesting that Harvard's Feldstein is still around, since 1988, as a director of AIG, obviously one of the biggest financial fiascos ever.

Personally, I think these Harvard representatives have come to the Heart of America to mis-direct folks that they, and their alma mater, had absolutely nothing to do with the present financial collapse, and that only they know what's best for our future.
Yeah, right.

Sometimes The Dragon Wins, but it's everyone else that suffers.

© 2009 by Edward Ulysses Cate
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