Sunday, January 15, 2012

"His word was not his bond"

Paul Krugman points to a WaPo OpEd that claims to describe the behavior of Bain Capital negotiators, as told by someone who had dealings with them. The upshot is that Bain played dirty pool, violating the norms of Wall Street dealmaking in a way that indicates Romney and Co. learned negotiation by studying the behavior of the Soviet Union. Seriously, the approach described in the Post piece is almost a paraphrase of George Kennan's reminiscences about how the Soviets attempted to wring every possible concession from each encounter by moving the goalposts every time the deal seemed to be done.

Anyway, one wonders, if personal trust is such an important element in Wall Street wheeler-dealing, why word of this didn't get around? Or were the victims too embarrassed by being taken in this way to admit it in a way that would result in any bad consequences for Bain? Whatever the explanation, it is not flattering to the steely-eyed Masters of the Universe.

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