Saturday, 25 January 2014

margins of respectability?


Flying past Canary Wharf every day at the moment, I keep seeing the trader blocks in the distance.

I've already written about Wolf of Wall Street and although I'm not convinced it was part of the original plan for the movie, it's one that lingers because of some of the ideas.

There's the rampant sales culture about 'sell anything', the premise that the punters are fools, a totally unreliable narrative which we are expected to follow. There's fair warning right from the start when the Ferrari changes colour from red to white during a trip along a freeway in the opening scenes.

Then there's the almost entirely male wheeler-dealers and the women often regarded as little more than objects.

I'm reminded of a few of the other movies about the same era 1980-2008 which includes 'Wall Street', 'Boiler Room' and the tad more extreme 'American Psycho'.

One that has previously stuck in my mind (which even had a female Investment Banker) was 'Margin Call'. That's the one about the collapse of a Lehman-like bank.

Without it being a spoiler, and true to many Hollywood scripts, the character played by Demi Moore was the one who became the scapegoat.

The worrying thought in the back of my mind is that although this stuff gets made into movies it is probably still happening.

Who really knows what happens when the US prints another $40bn per month of QE? Or how this gets beamed around the planet and then every so often a currency in another country collapses?

In a few of the words from the amoral Margin Call...

John Tuld: There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.

Peter Sullivan: Look at these people. Wandering around with absolutely no idea what's about to happen.

Eric Dale: I run Risk Management. I don't really see how that's a natural place to start cutting jobs.


1 comment:

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Complex and complicated ideas.....Having grown up around a man who's whole life and career was built around Wall Street and "The Market"...I really didn't know a great deal about the bad side or should I say the 'dirty' side of this crazy business---though I learned some things much later....
But I think my father would be absolutely appalled by what has happened to the Stock Market, at the stage of the game....So much has changed in the over thirty years since he is gone. He was still very active up until the end and even by that time he was feeling the instabilities were way out of whack....! What a crazy business---and very addictive, like money.