Mathew Martoma = “Triple Package” + Sociopathy

The extent of Mathew Martoma’s fraud at Harvard is almost farcical. The fact that someone like him (born Ajai Mathew Thomas) could succeed in high finance tells you something about high finance. But, it also tells you about the toxic brew of individuals with high intellectual competency but low moral compass. These are far more dangerous than garden variety sociopaths, because their success is contingent upon eating away at the fabric of civil society.

But another aspect hinted at in the story is the role that pressure driven Asian immigrant cultures play in incentivizing this sort of behavior.* To be frank I suspect many Asian immigrant parents might be able tolerate a little corner cutting if their child could make it to Harvard. Naturally when you have someone with sociopathic tendencies like Martoma that tends to be interpreted as carte blanche toward a success-at-any-price mode of operation.

Of course culture is not destiny. The man prosecuting Martoma is himself a 1.5 generation Indian American.

* This sort of problem also crops up in corporations where all rewards are based on outcomes. In which case there is a strong incentive to cheat the system.

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2 Replies to “Mathew Martoma = “Triple Package” + Sociopathy”

  1. "The fact that someone like him (born Ajai Mathew Thomas) could succeed in high finance tells you something about high finance"

    It does not tell me much. For the last 10 years, finance has been sucking up Ivy league, Duke, CMU and other college grads in significant numbers, something close to 30% of the grads in all majors. TFA, finance and government has taken close to 50% of ivy league grads. A good number of these people are of Asian origin. There is a very good chance that someone like him is going to end up in finance.

    I think people have a sanguine image of the finance industry. The entire hedge fund action is now back and bugging people for X000 dollars constantly in return for y% returns. Guess what is the biggest play in 2013? It is back to mortgage backed securities!

    The two, finance and Mathew, suit each other to a tee.

    Nor is his prosecutor the person who he is portrayed to be.

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  2. "I think people have a sanguine image of the finance industry. "

    you think wrong.

    "Nor is his prosecutor the person who he is portrayed to be."

    don't make cryptic comments like that or i'll ban you. just say what you mean to say, or don't.

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