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who ... ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance Company

Risk Sharing
The furious to-do about Obamacare has obscured a basic fact about modern Americans: most of us, certainly the middle class, are sheltered by a complex web of insurance. Some insurance coverage is privately provided, such as life, accident, fire, flood, travel, liability, burial, and consumer product insurance. And some is government-provided or -required: Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, bank deposit, car, health, mortgage, food, crop, disaster insurance, and so on. All of these, without which American middle-class life as we know it would not be recognizable, are relatively recent developments.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 2, 2014 - 15 comments

 

Microsecond mercenaries

It used to be that when his trading screens showed 10,000 shares of Intel offered at $22 a share, it meant that he could buy 10,000 shares of Intel for $22 a share. He had only to push a button. By the spring of 2007, however, when he pushed the button to complete a trade, the offers would vanish. In his seven years as a trader, he had always been able to look at the screens on his desk and see the stock market. Now the market as it appeared on his screens was an illusion.
In an excerpt/adaption of his new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Michael Lewis follows Brad Katsuyama from uncovering evidence of high-speed electronic front-running to the founding of the IEX exchange intended to discourage it. The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street (SLNYT).
posted by figurant on Mar 31, 2014 - 151 comments

Vampire Squid

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet. "Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever." This is the latest and last article for Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi, who is moving on to join First Look Media.
posted by homunculus on Feb 21, 2014 - 56 comments

Wall Street Debutants' Big Party

I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society Initiation
posted by Renoroc on Feb 18, 2014 - 119 comments

Too big to ...?

Matt Levine writes in the Wall Street Journal: Morgan Stanley Now Obeying Rules, Reducing Risks, Eating Cupcakes
So while of course it's possible that this is just next-level perception manipulation and I've fallen for it -- that Morgan Stanley has found a novel way to take on immense amounts of complex risk and hide it behind an army of retail brokers and a layer of cream-cheese frosting -- I think that this story is what it appears to be. Morgan Stanley seems to be de-risking by cutting back on risky activities, and responding to new regulations by obeying them.
On the New Wall Street, Boring Is Better [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 21, 2013 - 27 comments

A "Protest with Every Purchase."

Coming Soon? An Occupy Wall Street Debit Card. (SLNYT)
posted by whimsicalnymph on Oct 1, 2013 - 56 comments

The third act in the triple-fucking of ordinary people by Wall Street

Looting the Pension Funds: All across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers. By Matt Taibbi. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Sep 26, 2013 - 46 comments

High-Frequency Trading - The Dog Days are here

How the Robots lost - The Fall of High-Frequency Trading. For the past few years High-Frequency Trading was where the money was but now it looks like the worm is turning. The scale of HFT is stunning - see, for instance, what happens in a half second of trading in Johnson & Johnson.. While profits are evaporating, serious concerns remain about systemic risk.
posted by storybored on Jul 30, 2013 - 50 comments

"Hint: It's not about the kids."

In 2002, now-disgraced stock analyst Jack Grubman (previously) was the central figure in a preschool-placement scandal in New York's famously Wall Street connected 92nd Street Y.
The Price Of Perfection
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 16, 2013 - 34 comments

“Not many antagonize Goldman just for the hell of it,”

The Lonely Redemption Of Sandy Lewis
“The complicity on Wall Street is sickness!” Mr. Lewis says. He fixes you with his laser stare. “If you think the big firms are being honest” — his tone slides streetwise — “well, sweetheart, go think something else!” The temptation is to dismiss Mr. Lewis, 73, as a crank, except he once ruled as an eccentric genius of arbitrage, with a preternatural feel for the tectonic movements of the markets. He has railed for decades about venalities now on daily display. Rude truth is his currency.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 9, 2013 - 7 comments

The Retirement Gamble

“Do you really want to invest in a system where you put up 100 percent of the capital, [you] take 100 percent of the risk, and you get 30 percent of the return?” Frontline correspondent Martin Smith speaks with authors, policy experts, and investment managers about the history and current reality of the 401(k).
posted by dephlogisticated on Apr 28, 2013 - 160 comments

John C. McGinley interview - career overview (A.V. Club)

"Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about." McGinley discusses his roles in 42, Platoon, Wall Street, Point Break, Car 54, Where Are You?, Office Space, Seven, Mother and Scrubs.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Apr 22, 2013 - 33 comments

The alchemists of Wall Street are at it again.

Wall Street begins playing again with the same matches that burned the economy in 2008 From the New York Times: "The banks that created risky amalgams of mortgages and loans during the boom — the kind that went so wrong during the bust — are busily reviving the same types of investments that many thought were gone for good. Once more, arcane-sounding financial products like collateralized debt obligations are being minted on Wall Street. " (View article on a single page) [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 20, 2013 - 57 comments

Elizabeth Warren grills banking regulators on trials for big banks

Elizabeth Warren, in her new role as a member of the Senate banking committee, asks banking regulators: when did you last take a big Wall St bank to trial? (SLYT)
posted by shivohum on Feb 16, 2013 - 91 comments

One man's Free Speech is another man's fraud?

US Justice Department suing Standard and Poor's over a "scheme to defraud investors" before the financial crisis. More details on these recent developments from The Tech online edition here, which notes: "For many years, the ratings agencies have defended themselves successfully in civil litigation by saying their ratings were independent opinions, protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech. Developments in the wake of the financial crisis have raised questions about the agencies’ independence, however." Reuters opts to let S&P break the news for themselves here.
posted by saulgoodman on Feb 5, 2013 - 49 comments

The untouchables

Wall Street's leaders have utterly escaped jail. "There have been no arrests of senior Wall Street executives." Frontline examines why the United States federal government didn't go after the financial titans. (via)
posted by doctornemo on Jan 23, 2013 - 159 comments

"Victory as recorded on those screens made them feel like Masters of the Universe."

Eunuchs of the Universe: Tom Wolfe on Wall Street Today: [Daily Beast]
"As America teeters on a cliff, Tom Wolfe draws up a sterling indictment of our unscrupulous financial culture. Twenty-five years after Bonfire of the Vanities, the author returns to Wall Street to see what happened to the Masters of the Universe."

posted by Fizz on Jan 4, 2013 - 35 comments

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS

Spend an hour tooling around 1920s-Era NYC via the magic of video
posted by The Whelk on Nov 10, 2012 - 11 comments

“PHILOSOPSHY”

Kevin Roose of Nymag.com posted about a brand new North Carolinian hedge fund that seemed less than impressive. The fund then started to use a sarcastic quote from Kevin's post as a kind of ringing endorsement on their website. Uh oh.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 6, 2012 - 43 comments

FEAR THE ARTICHOKE KING

The History Of New York In 50 Objects (NYT)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2012 - 29 comments

Structural change in high finance

What can be done to prevent another financial meltdown? While some cry for armed revolution, others are whispering for incremental changes that could have a substantial impact on how high finance works – or doesn't. John Coates, a former Wall Street derivatives trader and now a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, has done novel research on how testosterone skews the thinking – and thus the behavior – of traders, inspiring them to take on more risk than benefits society. His research is now available in a book. Would programs that encourage more women to enter – and/or climb the ranks of – trading groups make finance more responsible? (If this strikes you as biological determinism, there are other lines of inquiry that may be headed in the same direction: how managers exploit subordinates in ways that shape overall behavior and could be modified via both incentives and regulation; how cheating happens and the best ways to prevent it.)
posted by noway on Jul 7, 2012 - 45 comments

"Whereas the left is always in danger of talking itself into the ground."

What's also obvious is that this phase of Occupy, with talk of credit unions and occupying the SEC, while eminently worthy, is also kind of boring, especially when compared to the thrill of Occupy's park phase. Some, though, are ready to move on. "It's easy to go back to the park occupation and fetishize it, in a way," says Occupy Chicago's Brian Bean. "I prefer not to run a mini-society – I want to run society." - The Battle For The Soul Of Occupy Wall Street - Rolling Stone - Mark Binelli.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 30, 2012 - 193 comments

"It is unlikely, I think, that this will generate a lot of media publicity," [Judge] Baer sighed to the jury in his preliminary instructions.

The Scam Wall Street Learned from the Mafia is Matt Taibbi's take on the recent convictions in the municipal bond bid-rigging case of United States v. Dominick P. Carollo, Steven E. Goldberg, and Peter S. Grimm. These three fraudsters are among the fifteen convicted so far with regard to the federal government's investigation into nationwide municipal bond bid-rigging schemes. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 22, 2012 - 45 comments

I have read them all hoping against hope to hear the authentic call

The Baffler has returned. Again. [more inside]
posted by zenon on May 10, 2012 - 8 comments

The JOBS Act is for Wall Street, not jobs

The JOBS Act or "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act" is not really about creating jobs but about loosening regulations on companies planning to IPO. SOX compliance and other financial regulations have made going public an expensive and time consuming process for young companies, and many are now staying private or getting acquired rather than going public. Fewer regulations encourages more IPOs, but what are the unintended consequences of "exempting [companies] from independent accounting requirements for up to five years after they first begin selling shares in the stock market"?
posted by lubujackson on Apr 12, 2012 - 85 comments

Resistants de la dernière heure

Too Smart to Fail : "A résumé filled with grievous errors in the period 1996–2006 is not only a non-problem for further advances in the world of consensus; it is something of a prerequisite. Our intellectual powers that be not only forgive the mistakes; they require them. You must have been wrong back then in order to have a chance to be taken seriously today; only by having gotten things wrong can you demonstrate that you are trustworthy, a member of the team. (Those who got things right all along, on the other hand, might be dubbed “premature market skeptics”—people who doubted the consensus before the consensus acknowledged it was all right to doubt.)" —Thomas Frank, The Baffler
posted by enn on Mar 21, 2012 - 44 comments

A Vampire Squid with Muppets

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs. New York Time Op-Ed. March 14th 2012:
TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
[more inside]
posted by Skygazer on Mar 14, 2012 - 150 comments

Buy more oregano

The Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi uses a paper bag to illustrate exactly how the sub-prime mortgage scam worked, and how we're still on the hook for the next catastrophe. [more inside]
posted by clarknova on Mar 3, 2012 - 56 comments

The Minds Behind the Meltdown

How a swashbuckling breed of mathematicians and computer scientists nearly destroyed Wall Street.
posted by veedubya on Feb 23, 2012 - 48 comments

Fancy derivatives are mostly gone. Prop trading is gone. There’s less leverage everywhere. Mortgages are back to old-fashioned conservative mortgages—which is a good thing.”

The End of Wall Street As They Knew It
After surprisingly successful financial reform, public vilification, and politics that have turned against them, the Masters of the Universe are masters no longer.
posted by clearly on Feb 6, 2012 - 73 comments

An academic review of 21 books on the financial crisis

Andrew Lo reviews 21 books on the financial crisis. In a 41-page paper, Andrew Lo, from the MIT Sloan School of Management, does a comparative review of 21 books about the financial crisis - some from academics and some from journalists and Secretary Paulson, looking for common threads. Tyler Cowen comments.
posted by falameufilho on Jan 22, 2012 - 30 comments

Alan Moore's Masks: A Face to Face

Alan Moore and David Lloyd designed it 30 years ago. The V for Vendetta mask appropriated by Occupy protesters the world over. The Guardian recently asked Alan what he thought about the masks. Now Channel 4 news takes him into Occupy territory to face that face. But who is the true anarchist?
posted by 0bvious on Jan 13, 2012 - 37 comments

I'm writing this in hopes that the OWS movement can have a better understanding of the hedge fund industry and the financial markets.

I work in Wall Street and work in hedge fund analysis. I'm the only person in my office who supports OWS.
posted by T.D. Strange on Nov 30, 2011 - 66 comments

WHAT DO WE WANT? STUFF LIKE THIS.

Critics of the Occupy Wall Street movement have complained that the protestors have no clear goals, so WE DON'T MAKE DEMANDS composed a list of 12 concrete, specific suggestions focusing on economic reform, stronger regulation, and closing loopholes.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 30, 2011 - 193 comments

"It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are."

Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance (scroll down)
posted by overglow on Oct 19, 2011 - 186 comments

We are the 99 percent.

We are the 99 percent.
posted by Windigo on Sep 30, 2011 - 494 comments

A Modest Call to Action

Occupy Wall Street is an event comprised of anti-corporate non-violent protests that are being promoted by a range of groups including the AdbustersMedia Foundation and a New York City group called General Assembly. Months ago a plea was put out to diverse political and activist groups urging them to descend on Wall Street on September 17th and take part in long-term occupation of the area in the spirit of the Arab Spring rebellions. [more inside]
posted by stagewhisper on Sep 20, 2011 - 251 comments

The SEC's Memory Hole

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? "A whistleblower claims that over the past two decades, the agency has destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation's worst financial criminals."
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2011 - 45 comments

"I do not anticipate that another Charles Ponzi will ever appear in the financial world"

On July 23, 1920, Charles Ponzi hired former Boston Post journalist William H. McMasters as his publicist, who quickly realized that his new client was defrauding the public. Just ten days later, McMasters wrote an exposé published in the Post that led to Ponzi's ultimate downfall. The newspaper won a Pulitzer. McMasters was The Man Who Time (Almost) Forgot (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 10, 2011 - 11 comments

An unfiltered view from the top of the pyramid

In an investment manager's view on the top 1% - referring to the richest Americans by wealth and income - we learn that one needs $1.2 million in net worth to barely slip in the door of the top 1%. But that's just a start: the real power and influence in the U.S., the author argues, resides in the top 0.1%. You can guess who you'll find there: bankers and large-cap CEOs. Relevant quotes include... [more inside]
posted by mark7570 on Aug 4, 2011 - 115 comments

Recent innovation and optimism from Goldman Sachs

Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs is storing aluminum in several warehouses outside Detroit. Apparently not much aluminum is actually leaving the warehouses. This may help explain the recent spike in the price of - any guesses? - aluminum. [more inside]
posted by mark7570 on Jul 28, 2011 - 155 comments

New Yorker article on the Galleon prosecution

A Dirty Business. New Yorker article on the prosecution of Raj Rajaratnam, head of the Galleon hedge fund. Previously: Matt Taibbi on Wall Street regulation and prosecutions.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 23, 2011 - 13 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

"Just a free lunch that never ends."

Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs? The Real Housewives of Wall Street (via) [more inside]
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream on Apr 12, 2011 - 111 comments

So therefore, OPEC felt justified in raising the price of oil. To 45 dollars a barrel. At the height of the commodities boom, oil was trading for three times that amount.

Why Gas Is So Expensive Today (Hint: It’s Not Libya) A long but enthralling proposal that current gas prices have nothing to do with supply and demand, but are instead due primarily to rampant unchecked commodities speculation ("unchecked" because it had been granted special exemption from the clearly-defined checks). Quotes heavily from this article and this book. (found via Hacker News)
posted by luvcraft on Mar 12, 2011 - 194 comments

Oscar acceptance speech for "Inside Job"

In his Oscar acceptance speech, documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson reminded viewers worldwide that "not a single financial executive has gone to jail" for the fraud that created the 2008 financial meltdown. His film Inside Job (on Netflix DVD) explains, among other things, that the crisis was avoidable. See also the Inside Job trailer and a subsequent followup video in which Ferguson says that many sources "mysteriously backed out" before being filmed. He also spoke at MIT in January.
posted by mark7570 on Mar 2, 2011 - 55 comments

Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there.

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that." I put down my notebook. "Just that?" "That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."
posted by vidur on Feb 16, 2011 - 126 comments

Checks Without Banks: The Irish Banking Strike

The Irish Banking Crisis: A Parable - What happened when the Irish stood up to the bankers in the 1970s? cf. Why Wall Street won't get shrunk & The Inequality That Matters [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 17, 2010 - 38 comments

What Good is Wall Street?

What Good is Wall Street? Think of all the profits produced by businesses operating in the U.S. as a cake. Twenty-five years ago, the slice taken by financial firms was about a seventh of the whole. Last year, it was more than a quarter. (In 2006, at the peak of the boom, it was about a third.) In other words, during a period in which American companies have created iPhones, Home Depot, and Lipitor, the best place to work has been in an industry that doesn’t design, build, or sell a single tangible thing.
posted by shivohum on Nov 22, 2010 - 102 comments

Multiply this by HOW MANY mortgages out there?

Dan Ekstrom is a guy who is in the right place at the right time. His profession? He performs securitization audits (Reverse Engineering and Failure Analysis) for a company called DTC-Systems. The typical audit includes numerous diagrams... The following flow chart reverse engineers the mortgage on the Ekstrom family residence. It took Dan over one year to take it this far and it clearly demonstrates what happens when there are too many lawyers being manufactured.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Nov 16, 2010 - 46 comments

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