Fast forward to 2011, when PM Lee Hsien Loong quoted Chief Justice Rehnquist as supposedly having said, "You are going to have a very serious constitutional problem because the senior judge sitting on the bench hearing the case with junior lawyers arguing in front of him is paid less than the junior lawyers on Wall Street. Where do you think the talent will go and what do you think the consequences will be for our system?"
Frankly, Wall Street bankers, or lawyers, are hardly the role models for young, idealistic youths starting out on a career. Unless the intent is to groom a generation of Gordon Gekkos, the junk bond trader who's best remembered for his infamous mantra, "Greed Is Good". Wall Street lawyers, and their ethics, were also richly featured in the collapse of Enron.
Lee Kuan Yew had problems figuring out Paul Volcker (former chairman of The Federal Reserve, 1979-1987, chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board under Obama administration). By Lee's own assessment, he's a very able man. He had a very small salary. Lee once asked him, "Why do you do this?" He said, "In Princeton we were nurtured to be of value to our society." ("Hard Truths", pg 123)
Apparently even when Volcker retired, he didn't go and make money (write books, lecture circuit, all the things that PM said Americans do after office). He's on the board of the LKY School for free. In Indonesia he was on the advisory council, chairman, with Lee, for free. (Lee did not disclose how much he himself was paid)
Paul Volcker must be an enigma for characters like the Father, Son and holy(cow!) Goh. They probably won't be inviting him for tea any time soon. His principles could be more contagious than H1N1.
|Paul Volcker commenting on atrocious Wall Street pay checks|