About Dr Paul Mazzola
Dr Paul Mazzola, currently a lecturer in banking and finance at the University of Wollongong has had an illustrious career spanning the worlds of academia and investment banking. His recent book, ‘Countdown to the Global Financial Crisis: A Story of Power and Greed’, provides an insight into the US investment banking industry and the institutional drivers behind the GFC. It peels back the layers of the well-established causes and finds a repeat of flawed behavioural patterns prior to each crisis from the American War of Independence to the present day. The new nation needed innovative, well-connected, personable mavericks who morphed into investment bankers and supported the nascent government. They set the modus operandi for subsequent centuries.
The book finds that a thirst for power is an important ingredient used to drive self-interest by those who hold the reins. The US, the stalwart defender of capitalism, has endured a litany of characters who succumbed to the corrupting influence of power. Richard Fuld, ex-Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers was the latest of these high profile villains. His domineering decision-making style is critically analysed as a warning against future governance failures. He lit the wick of the GFC flame that was fuelled by decades of greed.
The book concludes with a caution - that until the dysfunctional human behaviours that led to the GFC are modified, we are destined to suffer similar crises. George Santayana’s famous 1905 quote may continue to haunt us: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.