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Op-Ed: Wall Street’s blindest find gigs in prairie dog town

By Paul Wallis     Apr 14, 2009 in Business
So Nouriel Roubini hasn’t grown a long white beard and found a couple of golden tablets and a movie producer, and the theme from Exodus isn’t roaring in the background. But Wall Street is emptying of its poor oppressed millionaire office boys.
They’re finding jobs in the Little League. Apparently closet level hero worship translates into jobs at this level, and being part of the greatest insult to America’s intelligence in history isn’t really relevant.
It’s more like Noah’s Ark’s garage sale than Exodus. A few of every kind of idiot. Perhaps they’re thinking of creating breeding colonies somewhere. Apparently this process involves sliding greasily into other areas where rumor has it that regulation won’t be so tough.
Not everything, however, is a tale of heroic flight from self-inflicted disaster. There have been tales of cultural clashes among the fleeing aristocracy. Evidently even the most insular of these martyrs are put out by not having their various essential panderings in place.
What, no choir of taxidermists in the audit office?
Pshaw, I say!
Despite these terrible hardships and privations, most seem to be prepared to rough it in far flung outposts of civilization like New Jersey, or perhaps even (wince, sob) Boston. In these primitive Stone Age cultures, they work tirelessly among the presumably insane employers to reestablish the order and decency which has done so much for the world’s economy.
They even look at people making less than $100 million a year, in Boston. It’s simply dreadful.
Who you know will also find you jobs, if there are any going. The pygmies are standing tall these days, and some perverse streak is persuading them to hire these rich refugees from reality. It’s as if these guys weren’t total failures, even by their own standards.
A few cultural notes will explain how much impact the financial meltdown has had on the mentalities of these unsung Einsteins:
1. The bonuses have now been replaced by commissions for executives. They can’t make you a return above 5c in the dollar on your investments, but they can be paid anything for picking up a phone. These are called “creative” packages. What a coincidence. Next they'll be starting laundries...again.
2. Apparently hiring this herd of triple certified idiots is a sort of status thing. The prairie dog investment houses are trying to gain “status” by picking up these luminous gargoyles.
3. Even foreign banks that should know better, like Deutsche and other solvent big names, are picking up a few souvenirs of when investors weren’t allowed to read. Must be nostalgia week, or something.
Bankers in particular are now like bric a brac. You can have a few standing around looking knowledgeable in any boardroom. You can somehow forget that these were the guys that had no idea what to do when the fan got hit with about 10,000 years’ worth of the proverbial. The prairie dogs presumably think they’re buying talent, not tat. This is what happens when rodents take up investment banking.
The level of naïveté which allows people to employ those responsible for a debacle which could have destroyed America is remarkable. It’s probably a case of those who were so thickly surrounded with money being unable to notice their world ended six months ago.
Out there on the prairies, a ghostly chant can still be heard: "Bear Stearns, Lehmann, Bear Stearns, Lehmann...." and the subtle pounding of non disclosure contracts fills the air.
I wrote a thing a while back, before all this happened, in a book called Ads:
Are there too many scum in your industry?
Not enough?
We can help. We’re Scumfinders International.
Er… “Gift” of prophecy…?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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