Analyzing what went wrong in the ’90s, we can identify two specific elements: a decline in professional standards and a dramatic rise in conflicts of interest. And both are really symptoms of the same broader problem: the glorification of financial gain irrespective of how it is achieved.
The professions–lawyers, accountants, auditors, security analysts, corporate officers, and bankers–allowed the pursuit of profit to trump longstanding professional values. Security analysts promoted stocks to gain investment-banking business; bankers, lawyers, and auditors aided and abetted deceptive practices for the same reason. Similarly, conflicts of interest were ignored in the mad dash for profits.