there is one thing that has become abundantly clear over the past year-and-a-half or so, it is how badly so many financial institutions -- effectively, their senior executives -- managed risk in the pursuit of short-term, turbo-charged profits.

Not only did they hand out loans like candy to a wide range of high-risk borrowers, they relied on all sorts of accounting chicanery and derivative machinations to further augment their returns in ways that seemingly did not make any allowances for the possibility that things could go even a little bit wrong.

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