Signs of the Apocalypse: Wall Street

There are probably a lot of folks who are pretty convinced that indeed Wall St. is a sign of the apocalypse, and furthermore, that it has already wrought the end times with the recession this country has been coping with.  All that being said, DealBook has an interesting article asking questions about whether Wall St. is really all that necessary or not.

Now I am not economist.  I don’t really even follow stocks.  At best I tend to keep my checking account pretty balanced.  However, I can’t help asking the same question as Deal Book, “Can Wall St. Justify Its Existence?”  The thing is, it seems like the Wall St. bankers are pretty decent at justifying their existence to other Wall St. bankers and some politicians, but I am not convinced that they are all that good at justifying it to a layperson like myself.  And perhaps this is part of the issue at hand.

It is the matter of interactions with specialists.  A specialist is, generally, pretty aware of the significance of their work and can relate to it in the respective field.  But translating that worth to non-specialists becomes a nigh impossible task.  Look at all the sciences.  Sure, some of us might be able to understand bits and pieces in it, but in the end we have to leave a degree of it to trust.  the layperson trusts that the specialist is doing a good job and being honest about their work.

In essence Wall St. bankers and brokers and the like are all specialists.  They are economic and financial specialists.  As such, to a degree, we have to trust them in the work they are doing.  However, they deal with a very interesting material, and that is capital the big $$ and there is nothing about money that people ever feel entirely comfortable leaving in the hands of others.  Add to that some very obvious poor decisions by said economic and financial specialists (I’m looking at you multi-million dollar bonuses) and the layperson trust level is very apt to decline.  And this is what frames Wall St. in its current consideration of being a device of Armageddon.  Trust by the lay people is low, but the specialists insist that they are necessary.

I am pro-regulatory in regards to something like big banking and Wall St. simply because I am not sure how to hold large financial industries accountable in any other way.  When I see them lining their pockets I feel terribly skeptical about the entire thing.  It isn’t that I don’t see a benefit in banks existing and capital being able to move about, it is just a matter of whether it needs to be as vast and “free” as it insists.  However, noting my general lack of education in the area of finances and economics, I am very open to hearing other views.  Drop me a comment.  Maybe I will learn something new.

~ by Nathaniel on November 22, 2010.

One Response to “Signs of the Apocalypse: Wall Street”

  1. Maybe the best way to describe Wall Street is a “necessary evil”?

    In general, I do not trust Wall Street or the banks. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. But lately it appears that Wall Street has put profit ahead of ethics or the law.

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