Protestors hold signs behind Richard Fuld, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings, as he takes his seat to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, October 6, 2008.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

At a 2013 conference held by The Economist in New York, business and policy leaders debated whether talented university graduates should join Google or Goldman Sachs. Vivek Wadhwa, a serial entrepreneur, spoke up for Google. “Would you rather have your children engineering the financial system [and] creating more problems for us, or having a chance of saving the world?” he asked. He had a much easier time pitching his case than Robert Shiller, the Nobel Prize–winning economist who advocated for Goldman Sachs by arguing that every human activity, even saving the world, had to be financed. No use; in the end, the audience voted heavily in favor of Mountain View and against Wall Street.


Such bias reflects the profound shift in public attitudes toward Wall Street that followed the 2008 financial crisis. In the decade before the meltdown, bankers were lionized. Policymakers applauded the efficiency of financial markets, and widespread praise

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