Fascinating Der Speigel interview with alleged SocGen rogue trader Jerome Kerviel. The anthropology of the thing is riveting. An excerpt:
SPIEGEL: Still, no other trader has exercised his or her freedom of action as ruthlessly as you did. You can’t escape personal responsibility for this.
Kerviel: I did unreasonable things. But I am also an employee who was encouraged by his superiors for three years to keep on doing things in exactly the same way. I only used the exact techniques that I learned in my bank. Perhaps only the scale was bigger. I have never dodged my responsibility. But I cannot accept the fact that I am being portrayed as the only person who bears any responsibility.
SPIEGEL: Can banks really control people like you?
Kerviel: Of course. But you have to want to. Having more controls and regulations goes against efforts to pursue consistently higher profits at a time when all banks want to maximize their return on equity.
“But you have to want to” may just be the most important six words I have heard in this entire affair.