Upon hearing the term “psychopaths” on Wall Street, more often than not the image of Christian Bale in the blockbuster Psycho comes to mind. Charming, shark-like, and brilliant, these cunning business moguls earn by day and kill by night. However, this stereotype is far from true. Generally a psychopath is an individual who is unable to empathize with others, not one who has the tendency to brutally murder others. This isn’t to say though, that they wouldn’t ruin your life given the chance. In Mitchell Anderson’s article “Time to Test Corporate Leaders to Weed out Psychopaths,” he goes into what constitutes a psychopath and how these empathetically immune individuals are potentially running the economy straight into the ground.
Anderson describes psychopathy as a genetically inherited biochemical condition that prevents them from feeling normal human empathy. This leads those born with this deficiency to be unable to understand and share the feeling of others, consequently leading to a distrust of anyone else. Anderson then explains this lacking of empathy causes for investments to be made in the interest of only the psychopathic broker. This selfish form of business in the long run cause markets to crash, the need for larger bailouts, and the destruction of American savings. There is in essence a multiplier effect because this kind of business draws in those psychopathic business people who climb their way to the top and run a fair percentage of fortune 500 companies.
This multiplier effect is scarier than it sounds because it means any bailout money thrown at the problem will only sustain the issue further. If tossing money at a fiscal problem doesn’t work, then what will? This means then that the only way to move forward in a stable economy that sustains itself would be through having empathetic and moral leaders. I believe that CEOs should be tested for empathetic tendencies because so many lives and livelihoods can be put in jeopardy. Any CEO exhibiting typical charm but bullies others and creates chaos to mask their own actions should be under close watch by the rest of the company. In a crashing market like ours, we need great leaders, not selfish ones.