Italy Considers Drug Testing Stockbrokers

The cocaine industry shudders in fear.

Italy Considers Drug Testing Stockbrokers

There are a plethora of stereotypes associated with stockbrokers — the slicked back hair, affinity for lacrosse, arrogance that boarders on stupidity, six and seven-figure salaries and encyclopedic knowledge of the films “Wall Street,” “Boiler Room,” and the Alec Baldwin speech in “Glengarry Glenn Ross.” However, the most common stockbroker stereotype is rampant cocaine use — I mean they can’t be expected to work such long hours on merely coffee and cigarettes, right?

Due to wild fluctuation of the Italian markets over the course of the past few years, the government is looking for the source of the problems. And Silvio Berlusconi’s undersecretary, Carlo Giovanardi, thinks their fluctuating might be due to brokers’ being noses buried in white powder. He’s now suggesting they mandate drug testing.

Some Italians may have entrusted savings to people “not capable of making decisions” due to drug use, Carlo Giovanardi said in a phone interview today from Belluno, Italy.

Giovanardi, who’s responsible for the government’s family and drug-abuse prevention policy, said he plans to contact regulators and industry groups working with the stock exchange to discuss the drug-testing plan. The program could be developed without the passage of a new law, he said.

The Italian exchange, Borsa Italiana, didn’t have an immediate comment, said a spokeswoman, who declined to be identified citing policy.

Italy might be on to something here. If they can find a legitimate link between stockbrokers and drug use it would be irresponsible to not make testing mandatory. If assembly line workers at auto plants and beer distributors face mandatory drug testing, why shouldn’t the people who run our economies? I think people would put a lot more faith in the market if we knew for a fact the people handling our money weren’t getting the sniffles so much.

And why stop at stockbrokers? We should implement testing among our elected politicians, because the only thing that could explain their actions is severe, mind-altering levels of drug use.

Berlusconi has come under a lot of fire for Bunga Bunga parties and inappropriate relations with underage girls. However, at least his undersecretary has some good ideas. I seriously doubt the drug testing mandate will ever pass, especially not in the U.S. since Wall St. lends Washington their AmEx black card too often, but wouldn’t it be great to live in a world of accountability?

[Business Week]