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.