Saturday, February 22, 2014

Master’s of the Universe…Not So Much

Young Money – Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits – Kevin Roose (Grand Central Publishing)
Tom Wolff offered up his not-so-fictionalized take on Wall Street’s titans labeling them “Masters of the Universe”, in Bonfire of the Vanities;  Michael Lewis offered a more cautionary tale of his Wall Street experience in Liars Poker and now Kevin Roose stakes his claim to an “insiders” perspective on the post-crash world of Wall Street in Young Money.
Roose focuses on the future finance titans as he follows a group of rookies as they venture into the brave new world of Wall Street  following the 2008 financial meltdown. The tales sound oddly familiar to those laid out in both fiction and non-fiction accounts of freshly minted lawyers; with tales of excess in everything from workloads to alcohol intake and the oversized paychecks garnered by these relative youngsters.

Roose can’t quite seem to leave his New York Times and New Yorker Magazine bred liberal bias as he questions the morality of Wall Street deals, portraying these young Wall Streeter’s as being either lacking in moral fiber or willing to simply willing ignore any question of the legitimacy of a deal in search of a payoff. While I certainly have questions about much of the Vegas like crap-shoot the Wall Street has become, I am also pragmatic enough to know that investors willingly choose to play the game.
By the same token, I don’t feel sorry for these new masters of the universe, when they complain about the long hours, lack of personal time and the intrusive nature of their career choice. CHOICE being the optimum word here; no one put a gun to their heads and forced them to choose a career in finance.
While so much has been written, spoken and testified about since the Wall Street crash, the bailout, the scams and the government response, the one thing that Roose points out that is not surprising; at the end of the day not much has really changed about Wall Street.


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