By William D. Cohan

Bankers Are Finally Burning Out

May 21, 2012 3:11 pm Category: Memo Pad 1 Comment A+ / A-

Ever since March, when the New York Times decided to make a cause celebre out of the resignation of Greg Smith, a vice president at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a cottage industry of first-person Wall Street departure stories has sprung up across the print media and blogosphere.

For instance, the Guardian in London has run a series of 60 columns — titled “Voices of Finance” — that give current and former Wall Street bankers and traders a chance to anonymously describe what their jobs are really like or why they decided to leave. One London-based equity derivatives salesman, who had a job similar to Greg Smith’s but not at Goldman Sachs, wrote on the Guardian blog that doing the right thing on Wall Street is a directive that must come from the top.

“For me,” he wrote, “it goes back to the values in an organization. If you could sell your product for double the price, would you do it? I would say, in business, that’s legitimate, provided your clients have adequate information.” He continued: “This is an important rule with structured derivatives that clients ignore at their peril. You have got to read the small print. You need to bring in a lawyer who explains it to you before you buy these things — otherwise there is information asymmetry.”

These anonymous postings are valuable insomuch as they give a reader a healthy dose of the flavor of what it is like to work on Wall Street. But they can’t hold a candle to a full-throated, no-holds-barred repudiation of an industry that is expert at seducing the world’s best and brightest with promises of glamour and riches.

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  • howa4x

    It’s not just the bankers and the traders, it’s a society that has gone mad with greed, and will do anything to get it. NYC looked up to the teflon Don, Gotti, who made his riches by murder and drugs sales. We pay athletes millions of dollars but negelct our educational system. Some actors make 25 million a picture, while parts of LA are a ghetto. We look up to the billionairs, and afford they every courtesy and don’t care how they got the money. All our religions are based on wealth, and tele- vangelists make millions ,while millions of their parishoners are being laid off. The Catholic church sits on a vast fortune of property, gold and riches, while their poor in all over the world suffer.
    We have lost our way. We have no real values as a culture anymore, and our institutions are morally bankrupt. Railing about pre marital sex and homosexuality but never about greed. It’s become a game to the ones on top to see who can become richer, but how much do they really need? Will another million really matter if you are destroying the enviorment to get it, or ruining people lives by layoff? Destroying families and creating homelessness, and busting unions.
    It’s not just them who have this disease, it’s everybody who supports this, and does nothing to stop it.

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