What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
Like most children, my parents raised me with an unending plea to always tell the truth. In my mom’s eyes, a clean conscience was to be valued above all else. “Besides,” she always said, “if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.” I have carried this commitment to truth and honesty with me, almost to a fault. It has served me well.
As I have observed the global meltdown of the financial industry I can’t help but believe that it has been forever transformed by a blatant lack of trust. When the banks stopped lending it was clear that they no longer believed one another. The Bernie Madoff case was the icing on the cake. It seems to me that it will take a long time to restore trust and confidence into the financial system. In the process, I am not sure what kind of “financial system” will actually emerge on the other side.