Did cocaine cause the great financial crash?

Apr 16, 2013

Former banker backs claim that drug use led City of London workers to take crazy risks

FORGET arrogance, greed or idiocy – it was cocaine that caused the financial crash in 2008.

That's the verdict of ex-City worker Geraint Anderson, who has backed former drug tsar Professor David Nutt's claim that use of the Class A drug by bankers sparked global economic turmoil. He writes in The Guardian: "It would be foolish not to see the role that the drug played in creating the bubble."

His intervention came after Nutt, who was sacked from the government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 for claiming horse-riding was more dangerous than taking Ecstasy, told the Sunday Times: "Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess." He said they became "over-confident" and "took more risks", leading to the meltdown.

Anderson, a former utilities sector analyst, quotes accident and emergency specialist Dr Chris Luke as saying: "Prominent figures in financial and political circles made irrational decisions as a result of megalomania brought on by cocaine usage."

He writes that during his own career in finance, "I certainly saw my fair share of sniffly noses and gurning jaws at City bars every Thursday night." He goes on: "I also heard over-confident gibberish being spouted by brash wide-boys throughout my 12-year banking career."

But he believes there is a "happy ending" to this tale of drug-fuelled irresponsibility – his former colleagues tell him City workers are now too scared to take cocaine for fear of causing another crash. "This may mean bankers are having less fun but, surely, it can only lead to a more restrained and sensible financial system," he says.

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Thank goodness nothing like this could possibly go on among our political elite, which is why they are always so clear headed.