The following excerpt is from the “Ideas” list from the July/August 2012 issue of The Atlantic:
During the 1950s and ’60s, financial institutions were tightly regulated. Bankers did not make money by trading for their own account but instead earned fees for providing advice to their customers and serving as a go-between for companies raising capital. Their goal was to get to know their clients well, understand their problems, and act in their best interests—somewhat like family doctors. They were not compensated absurd amounts. Wall Street was viewed as a place not for high flyers but for sober, cautious people who were perhaps a little boring. Meanwhile, the economy boomed and we had very few financial crises. Let us hope we are heading back to those days.