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[Op-Ed] Wall Street

Posted April. 17, 2009 08:10,   


For every 100 dollars corporate America made between 1973 and 1985, the financial sector took 16 dollars. In 1986, the share rose to 19 dollars and 21 to 30 dollars in the 1990s. In the 2000s, the figure has risen to 41 dollars. The sector’s increasing share has been criticized as the “monopoly of Wall Street.” In the 1987 movie “Wall Street,” corporate raider Gordon Gekko tells Bud Fox, an aspiring businessman, that “Greed is good.”

The CEO of the largest U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein said last week that what the world wants to hear from financiers now is regret. It is rare for a financier to even express a slight regret over the past two years in the wake of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed regret over the financial crisis, but most financiers blamed others, saying banks would have survived with more government help.

U.S. President Barack Obama advised students Tuesday not to be tempted by high salaries on Wall Street at a speech at Georgetown University in Washington. He apparently hinted at them finding productive and rewarding jobs instead of working for corrupt and immoral Wall Street. Think about why a consultant teaches how to live an easy life in prison. In the movie "Wall Street," Bud makes big money and wins against Gekko, but ends up in prison. The majority of students who dream of working on Wall Street, however, might complain over fewer job and internship opportunities there after the financial crisis.

Wall Street is faced. While the employees of bankrupt financial institutions worry over their living, others are earning big money in the midst of the crisis. Leading hedge fund manager James Simons raked in 2.8 billion dollars last year by running his hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. Twelve of the world`s top 20 rich people were replaced by the financial changes, showing that Wall Street holds both opportunity and risk.

Editorial Writer Hong Kwon-hee (konihong@donga.com)