Sunday, December 13, 2009

Being Wall Street

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone contributing editor, said that Wall Street "is one Ponzi scheme after another." A good friend who is an investment banker made this exact same point to me last week. He said the only difference in what Madoff did and what investment bankers do everyday is that Madoff was not a licensed investment banker.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Matt Taibbi
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Taibbi talks about the change in Wall Street from investing, which built businesses, to gambling occurring over the last 20 years. Nicholas Darvis , Hungarian world-renowned dancer, self-taught investor and respected author, wrote How I won 2,000,000 on Wall Street (1960) and Wall Street: The Other Las Vegas (1964) thought differently.

I read How I won 2,000,000 on Wall Street and Wall Street: The Other Las Vegas years ago and it was very difficult to refute the arguments therein. The former dealt with avoiding tips by brokers and the latter with how to game a gaming system. I've gotta pick them up again.


Strawberry Girl said...

Unfortunately this is all to true, we had a 401 (K) which lost us all too much precious money during the downturn in the economy in 2007 (the end of 2006). It felt like we had gambled and lost big...

Judith Ellis said...

SG - I'm sorry about your 401 (k). The only problem is that people invested with companies like Goldman Sachs thinking that they were not as risky as some. Cities lost loads of money and would have lost by far more. I asked by friend about the bailout of AIG. If the government did not bailout AIG cities all over America would be completely bankrupt and we would have probably sincerely had a Great Depression scene with people jumping out windows. I asked my friend why did Treasury demand that all banks take the bailout. He said that it was it if Treasury had not there would have been a major run on the banks. This way it wasn't clear which banks were in deep trouble and people did not run to withdraw their money. Today, the run would have been sooner and instanteously devastating as it would have been even sooner. The run on the banks would have existed with a click of the mouse.

zorro said...

I like Krugman
Once again, he blames much of the current problem as originating with Reagan.
I wholeheartedly agree.

Judith Ellis said...

"...conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

"In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.' As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy."

Zorro - Thank you for the article. I had not read it. Who could disagree with many of the points Krugman made in the article? The quote above is right on! This is why I'm a BIG proponent of campaign financing and term limits. The problem is that these very people are those who cast the votes for such. There has to be a major outcry from the people in mass numbers to see to it that these necessary measures are put into place. The point about the commerical real estate market is particularly poignant.

Thanks again for the article.

David Porter said...

All games. No tangible creations. Inevitable sadness about what good looks like to many B-school graduates.

Judith Ellis said...

David - I wholeheartedly agree.