Wall Street's Ethical Lapse

I read with interest the article "Have Wall Street Ethics Slipped?," Aug. 21. The article attributes to business historian Robert Sobel the view that the ethical standards of the WASPs said to have dominated the investment-banking business of the '60s were eroded as "Jews, Italians, and even a few blacks and women won positions of power. They were," the article suggests, "less likely to be familiar with the best of Wall Street traditions."This line of reasoning serves no one well, and does not reflect much knowledge of Wall Street history. Some of Wall Street's strongest traditions of ethics originated in Jewish firms such as Kuhn Loeb and Lehman Brothers before World War I. In that regard, it is said that the one man J. P. Morgan held as an equal was Jacob Schiff, a Jew, the managing partner of Kuhn Loeb. Those who seek to explain any erosion of ethics on Wall Street in racial terms would do well to look elsewhere. George W. Carmany III, Boston

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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