Streams

Is Wall Street Worthy?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

John Cassidy, staff writer at The New Yorker, discusses his recent article "What Good is Wall Street", which argues that the work investment bankers do today is socially worthless.

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John Cassidy
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Comments [11]

Oscar from Hell

I hope americas goverment noe that there are powerful supermites that want to savotage this country and make it the next palwstine..i pray to the christ to take their money and cement away..that will be their ultimate punishment

Nov. 23 2010 09:25 PM
rob drummond from NYC

I love the charity argument. Don't these guy's think we are on to them already or are the people working in the banking and hedge fund world really that narcissisticly privileged and oblivious to the larger throw of their presence and effect. It's hilarious, the arsonist burns down the building and comes in and offers up some tents to the tenants that didn't burn to death in the blaze . Then they throw some parties so they can invite their friends and whatever politician's and celebrities they can get to show up. They can feel all warm and fuzzy about how much they are doing for the world and call up talk shows to defend their pay checks. I worked on a charity fundraiser a while back for the Royal Bank of Scotland, It was like an orgy of consumption.. What a banquet!! ....Well I know now who paid for that one. It's going to be real hard to convince us to feel all warm and fuzzy about those charitable bankers. These people are like self licking ice cream cones,melting all over us all. When I hear them talk about their charitable motivations, I get a stomach ache from just thinking about their gluttony and myopia . When are these fakers going to own up to what they really are and when is our society going to regulate them back to the boring slobs they were for most of the 20th century. How about free checking and a toaster you can shove your charity!!!

Nov. 23 2010 11:33 AM
Robert Sullivan from brooklyn

QUESTION:
Does the history of investment banking have any stories wherein banks these financial institutions invested more in the community? I know I have been reading, for instance, about banks and housing in New York in the 1920s.

Nov. 23 2010 10:58 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Investment banking us not the culprit in this current financial mess. It is the proprietary tradig that is worthless. Even worse now is the push with super fast electronic trading. So basically the faster the computer you have, and the shortest geographic distance from your computer servers to the trading floor in NYC, the more they make. They make a sliver of a cent in each trade and introduce massive volatility that endangers Joe Investor. We need a small transaction tax to stop this before the market blows up. London already has one and functions just fine.

Nov. 23 2010 10:58 AM
Em

What about companies like JP Morgan's role in pay-day loan banks. This is just usury. They're not just not contributing to society, in many ways they're sociopathic.

Nov. 23 2010 10:53 AM
Gerald Fnord from Palos Verdes

It depends what you mean by 'worth'. In a market economy, anything's value is, simply put, the extent to which other people are willing to pay. If a hit-man can make $20,000/day and a teacher $300...well, the Market has spoken, all praises to it.

This flies against all traditional moralities, especially including both the Abrahamic moralities and the folk-morality to which Republicans love to appeal which prizes 'hard work' above all---who works harder, two brokers or one janitorial/sweatshop worker with two jobs?

'Working hard and playing by the rules', a popular Democratic cant, is similarly meaningless...in fact, it is quite often the receipt for being an utter sap, most of your energy in fact sapped by those above you whilst you work hard at what they want and play by the rules they made or enforce for their own benefit.

I think this fundamentally schizoid personality in modern 'conservatism' is what gives it its power---it appeals to the middle whilst advancing the cause of the upper.

Nov. 23 2010 10:53 AM
oil monkey

'The Bankers' don't 'provide the lubricant (money)', the depositors and investors do- the bankers are tasked (and rewarded) with allocating that money. The money is supposed to be allocated to it's best and highest use for society at large, the premise being that the best and highest use is indicated by the highest returns. Highest returns are now gained not by finding the best and highest use for capital, but by exploiting inequities in information, accounting 'innovations', externalizing risks and costs and outright fraud.

Nov. 23 2010 10:52 AM
Roger from Astoria

Not that I'm a particularly big fan of Wall Street, but I don't think all of its participants are necessarily socially worthless. Anyone who puts their own priority in front of everyone else's is essentially socially worthless, but this is not a quality exclusive to bankers but rather a quality innate in human beings from all different walks of life.

Nov. 23 2010 10:52 AM
bernie from bklyn

the fact that there haven't really been any significant arrests relating to the crash of our economy just further proves that these mongrels aka hedge fund managers, investment bankers are in cahoots with politicians and they'll never burn their source of campaign funds. until campaign finance rules are changed these animals will get away with whatever they like.
they're not socially worthless- they provide the filthy money to get criminals re-elected.
thank our supreme court for cementing this fact.

Nov. 23 2010 10:51 AM

is the lottery socially worthless?
is atlantic city?
it's the game we like.

Nov. 23 2010 10:17 AM
superf88

keep in mind that most profit made by banks for centuries, until recently, was also generating profit by creating wealth, in the form of infrastructure projects, new ventures, etc. Same with insurance companies.

When the quants took over the quals abandoned ship!

Nov. 23 2010 08:59 AM

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