Archive for February, 2017

The Real Wolves of Wall Street

Posted on: February 5th, 2017 by c4c-admin-account No Comments

Wolfing Around

Chaotic, greedy and scandalous: just three words that you could use to describe New York’s Wall Street in the 80’s. Glamourised by films such as ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, the lifestyle that was created by stock brokers (a job that sounds about as exciting as unbuttered toast) became one of the most sort after jobs in the financial industry. So what was it that catapulted these men and women into such lucrative existences?

 

Wall Street New York

 

High Risk High Reward

The attraction to this job, aside from the lifestyle that accompanied successful traders, was the high risk and high reward adrenalin rush. Aside from the excitement of dealing with sometimes-illegal job transactions, managing risks with the potential for a very high payout pushed people to reject their morals and take a leap of faith on a daily basis.

 

The 80’s Revolution

Okay, so it wasn’t QUITE a revolution, but the 80’s was a time of great changes – MTV was born, Back to the Future came to our screens and it became the end of an era with the death of The Beatles’ John Lennon. It was a decade that demonstrated a great transformation and decadence and that was established on the trading floor of New Yorks’ Wall Street with Gordon Gekko’s (of the 1987 hit film ‘Wall Street’) famous line ‘Greed… is good.’

Michael Douglas Wall Street

The good, the bad and the downright greedy

That leads me perfectly on to my next point… Though Michael Douglas was an iconic in this film for the ruthless and intense, the Wall Street effect rippled through 1980’s New York in a wave of drug fuelled insatiability. Eventually, the lavish lifestyle and extravagant effect on people within this environment distorted people’s reality and moral grounding. One example of this is the detainment of Dennis B. Levine who was charged for obstructing justice amongst may things including making over 12 million dollars in his dealings with illegal trading of insider information. His greed left him in prison whilst his company Drexel Burnham Lambert, banking firm, eventually agreed to six felony charges and a $650 million pay out which led the company to bankruptcy.

 

Bankrupt

 

Exclusivity

Ignorance is bliss. And this case, it really is. The idea that these firms were in their own little bubble and didn’t affect their fellow American’s was disillusioned by the fact that most of the firms along Wall Street were private partnerships. Therefore, they could keep the scandals to themselves somewhat, whereas in today’s climate there are many more firms that are open to the public which open up access to a larger market. The idea that these traders and bankers could keep their money and information to themselves was a tall tale that they could tell themselves so not to believe they were affecting the ‘outside’ world.

 

Growth

It’s not all bad! Though most of the stories in 1980’s Wall Street illustrates how greed can lead anyone into a rabbit hole of both lavishness and an exorbitant amount of self-loathing and dissatisfaction, it also opened up New York to a new world of opportunities people to making such large investments lead to growth, jobs and productivity.

Growth Chart

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