Monday, October 10, 2011

What is Wall Street?

Susan Brannon
10 October 2011
What is Wall Street?

Wall Street does not refer only to the stock exchange, but also to big business interests against those of small business and the working middle class.  It is used for research analysts, shareholders and financial institutions including investment banks.  The term Wall Street can be used instead of the term "corporate America"  Wall Street represents financial and economic power, elitism and power politics.  In the past "Wall Street" was a positive and powerful term for times when America was in a financial bubble.  However, today Wall Street is viewed negatively by many Americans because of the mortgage mess from 2007-2010; the banks bailouts and bank corruption along with 'ponzi schemes'. 

Wall Street is located in the financial district of New York.  It is an eight-block-long street housing the NY Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, New York Mercantile Exchange, NY Board of Trade, and many big named global and American banks such as Citi Corp, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, and Merril Lynch.

There is a special Wall Street culture, back in 1996 anthropologist Karen Ho worked on Wall Street.  Later she decided to work towards a Ph.D. and research the Wall Street culture.  By 2009 she finished her research and she discovered that Wall Street is the "nexus" to major U.S. corporations and institutional investors" with a lot of influence.  In the 1980's there was constant change, people moving and restructuring.  She explains that the Wall Street attitude influences the rest of the corporate world.  For example, if the mortgages aren't the best thing, they say, "Let's get rid of the mortgage desk and we'll hire them back in a year."  Although people are working hard each week, they talk about job insecurity.  The bankers understand that they are 'liquid people"  It is a part of their culture.

The bankers know that they may not have their job next year.  Ho quoted one banker as saying, "I might not be at my job next year so I'm going to make sure to get the biggest bonus possible."  They are structured to push as many deals as they can through.  Yes, they see their jobs as risky, but they feel that this is the reason that they were paid 1 million the last year.  Many of us do not have that privilege, and when we loose our jobs, it is really hard to pick ourselves back up again.

The bankers imagine that outside workers are like themselves, with interchangeable skills, thinking that downsizing is a challenge and always networked.  However, it is not the same thing for the average American worker.  Most American's experience downward mobility when loosing their jobs.  Ho feels that the problem is that today, Wall Streets values have "reached out to so many corners of people's daily lives that actually changing the system means that everyone has to change."

I believe that our system is not ready for that type of change, and the Americans don't want a negative change, but we are feeling it.  Corporations are downsizing, cutting hours, workers, closing factories, out sourcing, moving abroad and their are not enough jobs to replace them.  We do not make that $1 million a year for the down years to keep us going.  Most of us live from paycheck to paycheck.  Last month American credit card spending went up 60%.  More and more Americans are charging their food and basic needs.

One thing is certain, the Wall Street culture does not work on Main Street.
The Movement:  Occupy Wall St.
Occupy Together
Twitter: @occupywallst

Related Articles:
Making Sense of the Bank of America Mortgage Fraud
Making Sense of the Failing Economy and U.S. Downgrade
Debt Plan Fact Sheet
Our Tax Dollars at Work
Satellite View of Foreclosures
American Struggling Middle Class (Video)
Global Confidence in Economy Collapses 
Crime Against Humanity
Examples of US Financial Corruption
Presidential Candidates Response to Occupy Wall Street
One Example of Wall Street Corruption
Occupy Wall Street - Proposed/Unproposed List of Demands
What is Wall Street?

No comments:

Post a Comment