New York City News

Michael Lewis on the collapse

While I hope that the global financial system’s almost-total-collapse in October has taught us lessons, I think human nature is such that we will make similar mistakes in the future once this time period is in our hazy memory. I had no idea that ‘Liar’s Poker’ was 20 years old.

I thought I was writing a period piece [Michael Lewis’ “Liar’s Poker”] about the 1980s in America. Not for a moment did I suspect that the financial 1980s would last two full decades longer or that the difference in degree between Wall Street and ordinary life would swell into a difference in kind. I expected readers of the future to be outraged that back in 1986, the C.E.O. of Salomon Brothers, John Gutfreund, was paid $3.1 million; I expected them to gape in horror when I reported that one of our traders, Howie Rubin, had moved to Merrill Lynch, where he lost $250 million; I assumed they’d be shocked to learn that a Wall Street C.E.O. had only the vaguest idea of the risks his traders were running. What I didn’t expect was that any future reader would look on my experience and say, “How quaint.”

The End of Wall Street’s Boom

One reply on “Michael Lewis on the collapse”

Conde’s “Portfolio” magazine is one of my favorites. Great to see the ol’ print-media producing quality this day in age.

Comments are closed.