Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wall Street 101

This from the author of "Barbarians at the Gate" (written about the 80's - for you young'uns)

Wall Street is still governed by fear and, especially, greed today in the wake of the collapse of the securities, real estate and automotive industries. "I'll give you my 'Wall Street 101' lecture," Helyar said. "Then, the M&A artists were over-the-top in some cases but were still tethered to real corporate America."

Fast-forward to today: "Wall Street became more of a blue smoke-and mirrors" environment, Helyar said.

Helyar saw the Internet bubble-burst nearly a decade ago as a result of analysts acting as "carnival barkers." He assesses the current crisis as the work of "quants" inventing ways to exploit the financial markets.

Burrough's view is that the chaos and ruin on Wall Street is emblematic of history repeating itself. "It's exactly the same every time," Burrough said animatedly. "Wall Street produces a product that makes money. Then it is overused -- and by the wrong people."

The same thing can be said all over the world. One more thing we Americans have exported.

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