Your RDA of Irony

All The News That’s Fit to Princeton

The New York Times:

PARIS — On the elite trading floors here, where France’s brightest minds devise some of the most complex instruments in global finance, few people noticed Jérôme Kerviel.

He was lucky to be there at all. Many of his colleagues had been plucked from the prestigious Grandes Ecoles — the Harvards and M.I.T.’s of France — and wielded advanced degrees in math or engineering. Mr. Kerviel arrived from business school and started out shuffling paper in the back office.

But on Thursday the world came to know Mr. Kerviel, 31, as the most dangerous accused rogue trader ever, a young gambler who found himself sucked into a spiral of losses that left a $7.2 billion hole in Société Générale, one of France’s largest and most respected banks.

So, only an Ivy Leaguer–or at least a Sorbonne graduate–has the right to be a catastrophe. According to The New York Times, your degree of incompetence should be proportional to your degree. Monsieur Kerviel, having gone to Lyons Jr. College, is only entitled to steal office supplies. A 7 billion dollar loss deserves the cachet of Harvard Business School.
Now the Enron debacle had the proper pedigree. Andrew Fastow went to Penn’s Wharton School of Business and Jeff Skilling has his MBA from you-know-where.

And the Ivy prerogative to be a disaster is not limited to finance. After all, George Bush went to Yale. If he had merely gone to Texas A&M, we would only be trapped in a war in Bermuda.

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