Estimated 98% of World’s Banking Leaders Pre-Collapse are Non-Autistic

Interestingly, new research by the Institute for the Study of Neurotypicality has found that, most likely, the vast majority of North American and European banking leaders prior to the 2009 financial collapse were non-autistic. Equally frightening, many of these same leaders are still in a position to cause financial damage.

While the research did not attempt to show that non-autistic leaders cause banking collapses (they may simply be attracted to employment in sectors that are less stable), it is an interesting data point as we strive to understand the impact of neurotypicality. It is not known at this time if other non-typical conditions, other than autism, were also noticeably absent among the banking leadership.

In the Institute’s final report on the study, the researchers urged national banking regulatory bodies to carefully study the impact of an over-representation of non-autistic people in this key sector of the world’s economy (in fact, possibly in an attempt to avoid the high cost of competent employees, it became difficult for many autistic people to obtain work in banking and other fields). In particular, the focus on abstract instruments (really worthless pieces of paper or bits in a computer system, with no actual strong financial backing) rather than concrete investments (tied to actual ability to repay) may be a weakness of the non-autistic mind. A concrete focus, common in autistic people, on aspects such as profitability of companies and the ability of borrowers to repay loans, could have avoided the tremendous losses so many innocent families experienced.

Simply put, there may be a danger to others when non-autistics are able to wield large, complex financial instruments, which they themselves admit they don’t understand. In particularly frightening cases, some banking officials were found to have approved lawsuits where their own bank sued their own bank! Can these types of people be trusted with large financial instruments? For too long, our society has neglected to provide the help these non-autistic banking leaders need to function in society without being a danger to themselves or others – and others have been placed at risk because of it.

(yes, this is sarcasm, not an actual report of real research)

Can Autistics … ????

Autocomplete on Google, for “Can autistics…” shows some common misconceptions:

Screen shot showing "Can autistics" being completed by Google with "love", "have children", "drive", "lie."

Screen shot showing “Can autistics” being completed by Google with “love”, “have children”, “drive”, “lie.”

I’ve done (and do) three of the four. I’m not particularly interested in kids.

A lot of autistics I know also do three of the four. Sometimes even the same three as myself!

I get sick of hearing people tell autistics what we can’t do. Or telling parents what their kid won’t do. Or, worse yet, autistics telling people what autistics can’t do.

Now, certainly, there are plenty of things we can’t do. There’s nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong when someone says, “I can’t” (despite what you heard in primary school, there is nothing wrong with that). But too often, the “Autistics can’t” really isn’t a can’t, but rather a bad stereotype.

I don’t know of anything that every single autistic person is bad at doing. Seriously. I know of plenty that lots of us are bad at doing, and certainly plenty that I personally am bad at doing – but nothing universal.

Too often, these “can’t” things get internalized in autistic people. Because we can understand stereotypes. And we can internalize stereotypes.

I do love my wife, my dog, my friends, my family, and my God. I love them in different ways, but, yes, I can love and feel love just fine, thank you very much. Maybe I should – as most of us should – spend more time loving and less time doing other things. But I certainly can love.

I just got back from fetching my lunch, on a motorcycle. I can drive just fine – or at least it feels like I can drive better than all the other area drivers on the highway! I love pretty much all vehicles – I’m decent with cars and motorcycles, can do reasonably well with small motorboats, and have even piloted (as a student pilot) planes.

As for lies…well, I certainly lied about things I did when my mom asked, “Who broke the …?” Of course I didn’t break it. Even when I did. Sometimes I got caught. Sometimes I got away with it. Today is much the same, although it’s not lies to cover up property destruction, but rather more of the social type – things like knowing to say “You’re 6 months along in your pregnancy? I would never have guessed” rather than “Wow, that’s going to be a big baby.” And, yes, I can use my intellect and realize that one statement is a nicer thing to say to another person, even if it’s not always perfectly true – and I can choose whether to be an ass or not (now, I’m not saying every failure to socially lie is choosing to be an ass – I know sometimes I don’t know to lie about something or I decide that I can tell the truth without being an ass; of course I might be being an ass too).

For Children…go to an event where there are lots of parents who have autistic kids. Watch the parents for a bit, then tell me if you see any autistic traits among the parents. Certainly not all people with autistic traits are autistic, nor are all parents of autistic people themselves autistic. But there is plenty of parents that are diagnosed with autism – along with their kids. I don’t have proof (other than an understanding of biology), but I’m pretty darn sure that I could have kids if I wanted. I don’t want kids, just as many non-autistic people don’t want kids. Plenty of other people (both autistic and not) do want kids. Again, the stereotype fails.

We’re all unique. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we are surprised by our weaknesses (not all of us autistics have encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek, for instance!). Other times, we’re surprised by our strengths (I know autistics doing very non-stereotypical things). But, more often, our strengths surprise others in ways that a neurotypical’s strengths wouldn’t. Too often, we’re not allowed to be good at things or we believe the lie of a stereotype when it’s told to us. That is a problem. It’s a sure way to create a “can’t.”