Michael Lewis: The End

Loooong Michael Lewis piece in Portfolio on “the end” of the old Wall Street, and how it all came down. Like me, Lewis left the financial brokerage game years ago thinking it was absurd and about to end. I was a decade too early, and Lewis left almost two decades early. Who knew the madness could go on so long?

Good piece. Read it.

Six months after Liar’s Poker was published, I was knee-deep in letters from students at Ohio State who wanted to know if I had any other secrets to share about Wall Street. They’d read my book as a how-to manual.

In the two decades since then, I had been waiting for the end of Wall Street. The outrageous bonuses, the slender returns to shareholders, the never-ending scandals, the bursting of the internet bubble, the crisis following the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management: Over and over again, the big Wall Street investment banks would be, in some narrow way, discredited. Yet they just kept on growing, along with the sums of money that they doled out to 26-year-olds to perform tasks of no obvious social utility. The rebellion by American youth against the money culture never happened. Why bother to overturn your parents’ world when you can buy it, slice it up into tranches, and sell off the pieces?

At some point, I gave up waiting for the end. There was no scandal or reversal, I assumed, that could sink the system.

Related posts:

  1. Michael Lewis on Wall Street
  2. Michael Lewis: D.F.A. Rules!
  3. linkfest 02/11/08: Spitzer’s Targets, the Trouble with Michael Lewis, etc.
  4. Note to Michael Lewis: Get in Line for Citi, Buddy
  5. Michael Lewis on Subprime: The Poor are Sharks