Sam Natapoff

Recent Articles

A More Perfect Union?

The Iraq war has quietly but fundamentally changed the course of the European Union. If in recent years Britain, France, and Germany -- the EU's three most important states -- had created a delicate and unprecedented harmony over Europe's future, Britain's decision to join the war destroyed it. This dissension is playing out all over Europe: French senatorial elections this month will articulate visceral anti-Americanism that calls for combating U.S. power with EU centralization, and this America-bashing has further distanced Britain from its neighbors. Due to its importance, history, and position as Europe's financial capital, Britain is vital to the European Union's future. Yet Britain has always been ambivalent about European unity because of its centuries-long attachment to the idea of “splendid isolation.” In 1955, an early British EU negotiator reportedly offered the classic British view of EU institutions: “Gentlemen, you are trying to negotiate something you will never be able...

Rogue Whale

The white whale of American finance has returned. In January 2004, JP Morgan Chase & Co. acquired BankOne for $58 billion. This merger is the latest reflection of a two-decade reversal in public policy, which invites enormous conflicts of interest within banks. It was this deregulation that led to scandals of insider trading and investor deception and deepened the 2000-01 stock-market collapse, repeating the sordid history that led to tougher bank regulation in the 1930s. This latest acquisition brings the House of Morgan full circle, reminiscent of its power in the 1920s. Yet just as a financial Moby Dick is rising again, so, too, is a new Captain Ahab. Eliot Spitzer, New York's attorney general, is working to reform the culture of Wall Street, filling a vacuum left by a pliant Bush administration. But mergers like Morgan's make Spitzer's task more difficult, because they create multiple opportunities for conflicts of interest. By undertaking the third-largest banking merger in...