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  • JUDY WOODRUFF: When it comes to Wall Street, many people think of money and greed, but

  • a professor at Harvard Business School argues there's a lot more to the world of finance,

  • and he uses books and movies to make his case.

  • Our economics correspondent Paul Solman has the story.

  • It's part of our series Making Sense, which airs every Thursday.

  • ACTORS: One, two, three!

  • (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • PAUL SOLMAN: The field of finance, you might say it has an image problem.

  • Consider "The Wolf of Wall Street," based on a real-life character.

  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO, Actor: If anybody here thinks I'm superficial or materialistic, go

  • get a job at McDonald's, because that's where you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) belong.

  • (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Investment banker Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho" is fictional, but not

  • entirely implausible.

  • CHRISTIAN BALE, Actor: I have all the characteristics of a human being, flesh, blood, skin, hair,

  • but not a single clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust.

  • MICHAEL DOUGLAS, Actor: I am not a destroyer of companies.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Hey, finance has had an image problem since buyout bro Gordon Gekko graced

  • the silver screen 30 years ago.

  • MICHAEL DOUGLAS: The point is, ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better

  • word, is good.

  • ACTOR: Big bank, small bank, I like to make money.

  • All right?

  • PAUL SOLMAN: And the real events of the 2008 financial crisis only made matters worse.

  • ACTOR: That's America's housing market.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: But Harvard Business School's Mihir Desai says there are two faces to finance,

  • though he readily acknowledges the dark one to his students.

  • MD+IT��MD-ITMIHIR DESAI, Harvard Business School: Many

  • people demonize what you do, and it's hard to live that way.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: And he told me he gets why that perception is so pervasive.

  • MIHIR DESAI: When you have real-life figures like Martin Shkreli, who was both a hedge

  • fund trader and then took over a pharmaceutical company, jacked up prices by 5000 percent,

  • subsequently engaged in a variety of nefarious behavior, and very proudly so, so it almost

  • makes you feel like real life is outpacing fiction.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Desai has written a book to try to balance the picture, "The Wisdom of Finance."

  • MIHIR DESAI: The goal in the book is to try to demystify finance so that the people who

  • currently demonize it will come to understand it, as opposed to simply oppose it.

  • And then for the people who are in finance, we have to get back to the ideas.

  • The ideas matter.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: To Professor Desai, the big idea of finance is illustrated by the Quincunx

  • machine in Boston's Museum of Science: the ability to find order in a seemingly random,

  • and therefore risk-forsaken, world.

  • MIHIR DESAI: This was a real revolution in probability, which is random things happening

  • results in predictable patterns.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Balls drop, bounce randomly left or right as they encounter the pins, and eventually

  • hit bottom to form a bell-shaped curve.

  • MIHIR DESAI: Things that seem random actually end up resulting in a very orderly pattern,

  • in fact, this bell-shaped distribution or normal distribution.

  • And that, of course, is the foundation of finance, because you observe a lot of random

  • things, but it ends up behaving in predictable ways.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Randomness and its risks are everywhere.

  • Finance's job, to try to manage them.

  • Case in point?

  • The income plight of women throughout most of history.

  • ACTOR: You should consider that it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage

  • may ever be made to you.

  • MIHIR DESAI: Mr. Collins, who delivers the worst proposal ever to Lizzy Bennet in "Pride

  • and Prejudice."

  • ACTOR: I am well aware that 1,000 pounds is all you may ever be entitled to, but rest

  • assured I shall never reproach on that score when we are married.

  • MIHIR DESAI: You're not that wealthy, you're not that pretty, you have an offer on the

  • table today from me.

  • You would better take it.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: It's the great economic risk faced by all Jane Austen's Bennet girls, but

  • says Desai:

  • MIHIR DESAI: Lizzy turns down Mr. Collins, and the advice of her mother, because she

  • wants to roll the dice again.

  • Of course, that ends up very nicely, ultimately, with Mr. Darcy, but, at the time, she didn't

  • know.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: No, Lizzy was lucky in love and money.

  • She accepted the risk.

  • But most others didn't.

  • MIHIR DESAI: The next day, he gives the same proposal to Charlotte, her friend, and she

  • takes it.

  • ACTOR: Cousin Elizabeth, you can see before you the happiest of men.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Charlotte Lucas' lot wasn't the happiest, but better than penury, one imagines.

  • MIHIR DESAI: She said, I'm just going to take the solution.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: In Anthony Trollope "Phineas Finn":

  • ACTOR: How nice to find you and to find you alone.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Violet Effingham had a very different problem: too many suitors.

  • ACTRESS: And you look very piratical tonight, Lord Chiltern.

  • ACTOR: That is because you see me by the side of all these smug, glossy parliament men.

  • MIHIR DESAI: She doesn't know who to choose, and she says, you know, if only I could marry

  • all 10.

  • You know, she's the essence of diversification.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Because then you wouldn't have all your eggs in one basket.

  • You would have 10 different guys, 10 different fortunes.

  • MIHIR DESAI: Exactly.

  • The intuition that you can lower risk by dividing resources is extremely old.

  • That diversification idea goes back to shipping, when you split up your cargo across routes.

  • It goes back to agriculture, when people would split up their land.

  • In Ecclesiastes, we see the advice to invest in seven ventures -- no, eight ventures, because

  • you never know what disaster will happen.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: So this is the benign face of finance.

  • It allows you to protect against risk by, among other things, diversifying your investments.

  • But then there's the dark face again.

  • When you invest, you're still stuck with the risk of giving your money to someone else.

  • MIHIR DESAI: I gave my money to Tim Cook, who runs Apple, and I own one share.

  • Here's the problem.

  • I can't watch Tim Cook.

  • So the underlying problem becomes, well, wait a second, how do I monitor that guy?

  • How do I watch that guy?

  • How do I make sure he's doing the right thing for me?

  • PAUL SOLMAN: This is the principal-agent problem.

  • The principal is the shareholder, who has the wealth.

  • The agent is the manager entrusted with it.

  • ACTOR: If you only know what I went through for you.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: And principals and agents can have conflicting interests, in the case of

  • "The Producers," extremely conflicting.

  • GENE WILDER, Actor: It's absolutely amazing that, under the right circumstances, a producer

  • could make more money with a flop than he could with a hit.

  • MIHIR DESAI: The essence of "The Producers" is that these two folks, Bialystock and Bloom,

  • want to rip off a bunch of investors, and by creating a flop, the investors won't want

  • their money back.

  • They raised 25000 percent of what they actually need.

  • They create this -- what they think is going to be a flop, "Springtime For Hitler," and,

  • of course, it becomes a hit, and they go to jail.

  • These investors trusted Bialystock and Bloom.

  • They couldn't actually monitor them.

  • They turned out to be bad eggs.

  • That is the problem with capital markets.

  • That is the problem with me giving money to people and not knowing what they end up doing.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: But, of course, for every Bialystock, there's a Buffett, for every Bernie Madoff,

  • 1,000 honest brokers, because there have always been two faces of finance.

  • MIHIR DESAI: This is actually my favorite book about finance.

  • It's from 1688.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Yes, a good year for finance.

  • MIHIR DESAI: And it was "Confusion de Confusiones."

  • He basically describes finance as the most noble profession, as well as the most notorious

  • profession.

  • I think we have lost sense of the nobility part that he describes, and we tend to focus

  • on the negative.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: Desai, wanting to accentuate the positive, uses an exemplar of finance

  • from Willa Cather's 19th century novel, "O Pioneers!"

  • MIHIR DESAI: Alexandra Bergson is this wonderful character who is a farmer, who starts by basically

  • doing a leveraged buyout of farms near where she lives.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: She borrows money in order to buy.

  • MIHIR DESAI: She borrows a bunch of money to buy all of these farms.

  • ACTRESS: Now, I have figured it out.

  • We sell most of the cattle e and the corn we have left over.

  • We buy the Lindstrom place.

  • Then we take out two loans on our half-section and buy Peter Crow's place.

  • MIHIR DESAI: She ends up engaging in transactions that would be in any finance textbook.

  • But she never loses sight of who she is.

  • She never behaves in ways that would suggest that she thinks everything is due to her skill,

  • as opposed to luck.

  • She's very conscious of and very humble of her outcome.

  • ACTOR: You have worked wonders with this land, Alexandra.

  • ACTRESS: Oh, we hadn't any of us much to do with it, Carl.

  • The land did it.

  • MIHIR DESAI: We really need good stories about finance, because good stories will guide good

  • behavior.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: It's a lesson Desai tries to teach his students.

  • MIHIR DESAI: Pick your stories carefully, because you will live your life by these stories.

  • Some of you might pick Gordon Gekko.

  • I don't recommend it.

  • Alexandra Bergson is a fantastic model.

  • PAUL SOLMAN: For the "PBS NewsHour," this is economics correspondent Paul Solman reporting

  • from Boston.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: Who knew by watching all these films that you could get great economic advice?

  • So, while writing his book, Professor Desai says he was surprised to discover how many

  • great writers, painters and musicians also held jobs in finance.

  • You can test your own knowledge of these entrepreneurial artists with our online quiz at PBS.org/NewsHour.

JUDY WOODRUFF: When it comes to Wall Street, many people think of money and greed, but

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B1 中級

金融の世界には暗黒面がありますが、それは半分しかありません。 (The world of finance has a dark side, but that's only half the story)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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