POLITICS
09/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Old Colleagues Recall Obama's Year In Global Finance

Barack Obama has authored two books, heralded for their poetic reflections on the conundrums of identity and the possibilities of politics. But his first professional writing was for a weekly newsletter more concerned with how investing in gold futures in Sao Paulo and London could be used to hedge against the fluctuating value of Brazilian cruzeiros.

Obama rarely talks about his year spent within the arcane sphere of global finance as a junior editor for Business International Corp., a publisher based in New York. In a recent biographical campaign ad, Obama says he chose to "pass up Wall Street jobs and go to Chicago instead," suggesting that after graduating from Columbia University he cast aside material pursuits in favor of self-sacrifice as a community organizer.

But in the years since, Obama has demonstrated an economic worldview bearing some common priorities with the first company for which he worked. At some points in his legislative career and presidential campaign, Obama demonstrated a willingness to let markets run their course when some other Democrats had sought a more forceful government hand. He rejects mandates for adults to buy health insurance and encourages the expansion of global exchanges for carbon-emissions credits. He has helped make it easier for private companies to take over public housing projects.

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