Is the Financial Crisis a Male Syndrome?

The protracted global financial crisis has led to a wide-ranging search for culprits, including blind regulators, greedy speculators, Chinese dumping, and a global market economy that lacks both a social and time horizon. But could it be that deeply rooted misbehavior in trading and board rooms can be explained by “animal spirits,” or what Keynes called a spontaneous urge to action—albeit in the wrong direction? Could it be that male domination of market finance results in excessive speculation and risk-taking at the expense of global stability? Testosterone, rather than neurons, may push male egos into ever-more-complex speculative bets, a gambling binge made possible by advanced technology, mathematical techniques, and globalization.

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