In a new interview on HuffPo with Terrence McNally, Michael Lewis explains why it only SEEMS like all the financial firms were full of idiots (instead of actually being idiots).
As a trader inside a big Wall Street firm…you would face a decision: Do I exercise my independent judgment and bet against this market, or do I just keep going along with what my firm is doing? If you exercise your independent judgment and bet against sub-prime mortgage bonds, you not only probably run into some political conflict within your firm, but you’d never make the big score for yourself… The minute you make a bunch of money from your bet, your firm is doomed. They couldn’t pay you. So the smart thing was just to go along and hope it lasted long enough for you to get rich.