Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Wall Street culture in Dalal Street

(Information taken from a New York Times article which can be can be read Here )
Mr Obama was angered by the news of Wall Street Bonuses (18.5 billion dollars paid to people who had almost brought down the country by their actions!). He called TV news and said "That is the height of irresponsibility". “It is shameful.” Wall Street was given public funds and the government had a right to expect in return that Wall Street would “show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility.”
The New York Times says that it is not just a question of money. “It suggests the selfishness of people on Wall Street.” ...... the people who thought of themselves as the smartest guys in the room — and were paid accordingly — weren’t so smart after all. They brought down the financial system.
Why ? Because of the “eat what you kill” mentality that has dominated their (wall street) profession these past two decades. It means that if you made money, you were entitiled to keep all of it. Taken further, if you had a profitable idea, you were to entitled to make as much money as possible from that idea, no matter what the affects on the economy, society etc...Also, if you lost money, then the public has to come and bail you out.

So, what about Dalal Street
Our own mini versions of the American Investment Banker had assumed a divine right to advice and make money. If they said that a company is doing well, it became the duty of the public to buy that share, so that (a) they are proved right, and, (b) they make money. If subsequently, share prices fall (as happened) the blame is on the public.
I must also point out that investors do not have to listen. They can take sensible, common sense based decisions on their own hard earned money.


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