Wall street

Western economies are failing – but capitalism isn’t the problem

Real wages have barely increased for more than a decade. Banks have had to be bailed out, and many still exist on a form of state life support. Growth has stalled, taxes are at 70-year highs, yet governments are still bankrupt. Unless you happen to be part of a tiny plutocracy made up mostly of tech entrepreneurs and financiers, there has rarely been a point, at least since the nadir of the mid-1970s, when the economic system seemed beset by quite so many challenges as it is today. The left has smartly stepped into the intellectual space that has been created with a series of well-timed polemics, which, while they

Wall Street madness: Trust, by Hernan Diaz, reviewed

‘I don’t trust fiction,’ the famous author told me, both of us several glasses to the good. ‘It contains too much truth.’ I nodded and she laughed and we drank more wine, but that sentence stayed with me in all its aphoristic glory. When she died, this was the first thing I remembered: our conspiratorial conversation in the deepest dark of 1990s Soho. This is not true. It has the feel of lived experience, yet it is entirely invented. The context, its placement and the fact that it is printed in a magazine gives it credence. As readers, we do not expect to be lied to. With a work of

The Ukraine invasion is good news for Wall Street

Don’t be fooled by the pictures that will shortly start to emerge of traders apparently tearing their hair out against of backdrop of red screens. A proper crisis is exactly what Wall Street traders want — to provoke yet another stimulus package, as well as the cancellation of interest rate rises. In the Alice in Wonderland world of bubblenomics, bad news is good, and good news is bad. If we have good economic figures, there is a danger that the Fed, the Bank of England and other central banks will take away the punch bowl. On the other hand, all we need is a sudden crisis that gives the impression,

The capitalist nihilism of WallStreetBets

When Croatian movie director Dario Jurican ran in the country’s presidential election in 2019, his campaign slogan, ‘corruption for everybody’, promised that normal people would also be able to profit from cronyism. The people reacted with enthusiasm although they knew it was a joke. A similar dynamic is present on the WallStreetBets subreddit, which subverts the financial system by over-identifying with it or, rather, by universalizing it and thereby revealing its in-built absurdity. The story is well-known already, but let’s briefly recap. Wallstreetbets is an online group in which millions of participants discuss stock and options trading. It is notable for its profane nature and promotion of aggressive trading strategies.

Money money money: 10 movies about the markets

The furore in the US over the rocketing shares of previously written off companies such as GameStop, Blackberry, AMC Entertainment and Macy’s (the ‘Reddit Revolt’) has introduced stock market trading terms to the general public, with some folks newly opining (with a patina of assumed knowledge) about ‘hedge funds’, ‘penny shares’, ‘junk bonds’ ‘short-selling’ and ‘pump and dump’. But this is hardly the first-time similar events have occurred. Way back in 1720 the ‘South Sea Bubble’ saw investors suckered when the South Sea Company collapsed as any hopes of generating income from its monopoly on selling slaves to South America (mostly controlled by Spain and Portugal) had come to nought, despite