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Wall Street's Near Death Experience
October 6, 2009 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Wall Street's Near Death Experience
posted by SeizeTheDay (31 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pity about the 'near.'
posted by koeselitz at 5:22 PM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pity about the 'experience.'
posted by takeyourmedicine at 5:24 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hell, pity about the 'Wall Street.'
posted by koeselitz at 5:27 PM on October 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yay Death!
posted by ericost at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hahahaha!
posted by darkstar at 5:29 PM on October 6, 2009


Mr. Geithner, tear down this wall!
posted by ubernostrum at 5:33 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time following all the intricate details of stories like these- the names, the instruments, the numbers- but I'm fascinated by the high-stakes of it all.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:37 PM on October 6, 2009


This will make a great, interesting, infurating read tonight. Thanks!
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:38 PM on October 6, 2009


Images of spitfires strafing Greek resistance fighters
Winston Churchill gunning down the South Wales striking miners
In green we fought the Black and Tans and beat them back to Ulster
An eighteen-year-old Argentine, lungs filled with cold water

Buried Republican visions, symbolic and explicit
A history of resistance denied by bishops, lawyers, spies
Grantham hugely petty, riding on her crocodile
'Cross teeming London bridge, paved with blood and gold

Rise like lions, shake your chains, babe
Ye are many and they are few!
Take from the rich and give to the poor!
Take from the rich and give to the poor!
— Mekons, Robin Hood

posted by koeselitz at 5:43 PM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


from article: “The money’s walking out of the door,” Chammah told Mack.

“Nobody gives a shit about loyalty,” Mack complained.


Ah, capitalism. What a beautiful thing, eh?
posted by koeselitz at 5:48 PM on October 6, 2009


Phew! Good thing for Wall Street was able to tap taxpayers' pockets so quickly. That was a close call.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:53 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I sort of find this a depressing article. The number of missed opportunities makes me sad - will we ever have these kinds of chances again? When just one person managing to flip off the power to the trading floor and shut off the lights at the right moment could bring the whole thing tumbling down? When just one brave soul barricading the right person's office for an hour could spell out the end to a system of injustice?

If these chances ever come again, will any of us be there to seize the day?
posted by koeselitz at 6:10 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If these chances ever come again, will any of us be there to seize the day?

I hope so. I hope somebody one day soon gets the opportunity to lurk outside the Women's Changing Room of Destiny, waiting for a glimpse of tit. Problem is there are a lot of mindbogglingly powerful concerns already sucking and pawing at it, and they would never let a thing like that happen. There isn't a government in the world - or a President, I'm sorry to say - with the balls to stand up to such monolithic corporate entities. Even if a switch was flipped, or a door barricaded, or a fucking nuclear weapon detonated, we'd see nothing more than we have already seen: a global hiccup as the milk flow is temporarily halted, with us hoi polloi patting the baby on the back until it flows again.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:20 PM on October 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


bring the whole thing tumbling down

Unfortunately, I think we've reached the point where this will be even worse than the whole thing not tumbling down. Unless you're talking about the eventual steady state the global economy might reach once the dust settled and all the (non-metaphorical) dead bodies were cleared away. I can't imagine that would be any worse than what will happen if we don't discover Energy-for-Free in the next hundred years or so.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 6:22 PM on October 6, 2009


Unfortunately, I think we've reached the point where this will be even worse than the whole thing not tumbling down.

Continuing to make choices that favor stability and relative short-term painlessness at the expense of long-term viability will only work for so long.
posted by killdevil at 6:38 PM on October 6, 2009


Metafilter - September 16, 2008. The Fed "hopes" A.I.G. 263 comments.
posted by philip-random at 6:41 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know much, but I do know that persistent embedded popups that require me to wait before closing them mean I don't read the article. That and the in the face T&A marketing. Vanity Fair, meh.

These banker assholes are fine. Nothing touches them. They're the modern mob.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:51 PM on October 6, 2009


obligatory
posted by HyperBlue at 7:26 PM on October 6, 2009


A while ago I complained to a friend that fat cats making losing bets shouldn't be affecting the entire world's productivity. His reply has stuck with me: "It shows we still live in a Feudal system. The (small, but important) difference now is that we can shop for our patron."

I hate that the whims of the rich affect the opportunities of everyone, but I suppose it's always been that way.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:45 PM on October 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Strange how they begin by discussing his desire to help "regular" office workers. His defense of the whole thing was a jobs program? Yikes. He only thought of them that morning? Perhaps Obama is the first corporate-socialist president and it's fitting he picked Geinther for his Treasury Secretary.
posted by skepticallypleased at 8:40 PM on October 6, 2009


Also -- off topic -- but strange that Obama comes up as a spelling error when I type here -- is that a metafilter or browser thing?
posted by skepticallypleased at 8:41 PM on October 6, 2009


I wish China would just hurry up and buy us.
posted by bardic at 9:20 PM on October 6, 2009


Problem is there are a lot of mindbogglingly powerful concerns already sucking and pawing at it, and they would never let a thing like that happen. There isn't a government in the world - or a President, I'm sorry to say - with the balls to stand up to such monolithic corporate entities.

Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and Despair!
posted by jason's_planet at 9:33 PM on October 6, 2009


"Pity about the 'experience.'"

Yeah, they had it going on until Jimi OD'ed.

Paulson looks like the guy from Hitman, but Geithner looks like that Orc that chased Pippin and Merry into the forest in the Two Towers.

"Continuing to make choices that favor stability and relative short-term painlessness at the expense of long-term viability will only work for so long."

True. Irresponsibility always breeds theft and chaos. Kinda funny and nearly thrilling in how dangerous it is. Like a monkey behind the wheel of a speeding cement truck.
I really don't get how folks don't learn.
I mean, you see needle tracks on someone's arms you know right away to pretty much not trust them in your house with your stuff.
Guy in a banker's suit - no, let him right in.
And the addiction to overabundance and ease in having your will executed, the chemicals in your brain must just pump loads of opiates into your system, and unlike external narcotics it gets only stronger with age.
And like any junkie it's never enough and they're never happy.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:46 PM on October 6, 2009


skepticallypleased: Also -- off topic -- but strange that Obama comes up as a spelling error when I type here -- is that a metafilter or browser thing?

That is without a doubt a browser thing. Metafilter doesn't have spell-check.

posted by koeselitz at 11:19 PM on October 6, 2009


The problem as I perceive it is that the mathematical curve for positive investments is exponential. Interest on interest goes exponential.

But our money is linear.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 PM on October 6, 2009


The gossip was inaccurate, but it didn’t matter; hedge funds were now seeking nearly $50 billion in redemptions. John Mack was meeting with his brain trust. “It’s outrageous what’s going on here,” Mack almost shouted, arguing that the raid on Morgan Stanley’s stock was “immoral if not illegal.” Intellectually he understood that short-sellers kept the market more efficient—after all, many were his clients—but at risk now was his own survival.

Mack, meet knife.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:46 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Socialism saves capitalism, so that the capitalists can suppress socialism a little longer. Hurray for socialism capitalism.
posted by Brian B. at 7:44 AM on October 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


The one thing that depresses me the most from everything that happened from Sept. 08 is that fundamentally this can, and most likely will, happen again. There have been no substantive changes in how Wall Street works. Wall Street has not learned the lesson here.

Sure companies have disappeared, people have lost jobs and all of their savings, but the fundamental structures which allowed all of the leverage, the lack of competent oversight/regulation at both the governmental level (OTS) as well as the commercial level (Moody's/S&P/etc.) are still in place today. Where is the rollback of the 2004 leverage regulation relaxation?

More importantly, where are the felons and why are they not in jail? You can't tell me that the global economic system collapses and there's no felons at all?
posted by gen at 9:29 AM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a whole host of reasons these banks failed. They were utterly dependent on short term financing. Employees bonuses based on short term (annual) earnings. They created instruments nobody could understand, and deregulated ones people could. But most importantly, they tried to separate risk from return, and convinced each other it was possible.

Credit default swaps can be explained in simple terms: bond insurance. Companies that sell them will bend over backwards to claim that's not true, but it doesn't stand up to duck typing. The reason they fight it is simple: insurance is regulated, for economic and moral reasons. I want to emphasize the moral reasons right now: you cannot buy life insurance on anyone you don't have an interest in. To do otherwise is to offer incentive to murder. There's a field of anarchy dedicated to Assassination Markets, claiming that finding ways to pay people for murder will either regulate public figures or destabilize the government.

Credit default swaps were issued in numbers far beyond the "insurable interest" of the bonds sold. I humbly submit that these banks were worth more dead than alive, and as such formed an Assassination Market for companies.
posted by pwnguin at 10:44 AM on October 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Matt Taibbi: Short-Selling Vs. Naked Short-Selling: An Explanation
posted by homunculus at 12:09 PM on October 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


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