Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Schadenfreude on Wall St.

I know it is rather insensitive of me, and in fact downright foolish because I am one of those people directly affected, but somehow looking at today's wall street journal (from a distance, I absolutely never touch it) gave me a lot of satisfaction and pleasure. So finally some lesson for those snooty and arrogant morons with their endless gadget-talk and other bottomless stupidities. I used to spend a lot of time with those guys, some of them so-called "friends" but no so much now. Things will get back to normal and as they always were - there is no doubt about that but it is still a nice feeling. I know this will probably be interpreted as a cheap-shot - resentment of lowly guy in IT & Operations against those who made it big but what the hell. Now back to the stupid work I was doing and thinking about "Aesthetics of Negativity in Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz." (A long post on the same coming up later this afternoon.)

Somewhat related, you must read this post on lenin's tomb - a response to a career advice article about how "office gossip and banter is costing the UK £43 billion a year". Now isn't that too bad? Don't miss the comments. I don't indulge in gossip or banter but I do see my office mostly as a free broadband service. My own, rather measly that's granted, way of rebelling against the capitalist tyranny.

11 comments:

Cheshire Cat said...

I see where you're coming from, but ultimately politics and economics are what affect people's lives most directly. The snooty and arrogant guys will find new gadgets and new stupidities, and the ones who are powerless will suffer the consequences.

Never thought I'd find myself talking like a Commie...

Alok said...

Yeah its true. I have seen a lot of it first hand. It is almost business as usual (BAU in corporate-speak) for the banks.

At least in this one case of lehman bros they didn't use ordinary people's money to bail them out.

Kubla Khan said...

I like the tone of your piece even though i don't understand what is happening in the "market".

capitalist tyranny! and other personal ones too......the worst are the self inflicted ones......

Alok said...

Actually nobody understands what is really happening, least of all me! Someone should write a novel titled "Senselessness" about capitalism and "american way of life" too.

Vidya said...

Well, I too was guilty of rejoicing at the event as a blow to consumerist yuppiedom. But am not sure about the Capitalist tyranny part? Would you rather work in China where you take the rules they make or somewhere in Saudi Arabia. Any day a free (falling) market with its fallacies than controlling authoritarian regumes :)

Szerelem said...

this made me laugh...I have to say I do agree with you.

I think its mostly just how much money bankers make, quite honestly.

And I do agree with you that it's BAU. My silly investment banker friend (actually, he isn't silly - he just makes silly amounts of money) just got a ridiculous pay hike - which needed a justification of we can't offer more because the business environment is bad. Not to mention a year plus worth of bonus.

Gah. I think I just need to go do that PhD and hide from all such things.

Madhat said...

Aren't you forgetting that a lot of people who are not iBankers (here's an idea for you, Apple) and who do not have these gadgets would lose their jobs?

Alok said...

madhat: I know, I am one of those people myself though I still have my job (as of now). I am anyway relocating to India soon (not really related to this) but what I was hoping that those people who make these decisions will feel the pinch. I think it is probably too much to ask and most likely it is the ordinary people who will bear the brunt, as it always happens.

vidya: It need not be either/or. The American system (and the wall street as it is now) is clearly an extreme case.

szerelem: Yeah, I know a few of them myself but I try to keep away. I will have to find some way to get away from these things too.

Madhat said...

Alok, I do not think the people who made the decisions would be affected greatly. They will move on to the next big thing or the government will bail them out (as is happenning with AIG). But the others...

Vidya said...

The US has always played the role of an innovator in economic policies so they are affected early in the cycle. The same changes happen in other countries later.So I see it a global phenomenon of a consumerist and a credit-oriented wave and not an 'American way of life'. Consider this stat:


- In 1970, the Japanese household debt ratio was only 29 percent of the American ratio; today it is 72 percent of the American.
-West Germans have gone from 32 to 83 percent of the American ratio, and Britons from 64 to 85 percent. Similarly, West Germans have gone from 32 to 83 percent of the American ratio, and Britons from 64 to 85 percent.

Since 1983, however, debt growth in the United States has accelerated above that in Japan and Germany, bringing the prior trend toward convergence to at least a temporary halt".
(Federal Reserve Bank of New York Quarterly Review, Winter 1987-88)


As much as I like I do not see very many sustainable alternatives to Capitalist tyranny other than say Communist or dictatorship-based tyranny.

Alok said...

madhat: yes, that's how it works. though I was hoping that probably the scale of destruction this time will make them do some fundamental and systemic changes in how the system works.

vidya: yes that is true but sitting inside one of these banks everything feels abosolutely senseless and wrong to me. may be it can be transformed into a system which doesn't bring out the worst the people and inspire some temperance and level-headedness. and I was hoping that this might be the trigger. But I know it is hoping too much...