This is from 2009, but the insider look at Wall Street is invaluable for understanding the protests that are underway in NYPD and the movements that are building across the country in solidarity against corporate greed and corruption.
From The Independent:
Fine wines, lobster lunches and…
THIS ARTICLE IS RELEVANT.
The easiest thing was buy into the system, convince ourselves that there was no other way to live. A few semesters worth of economics classes certainly helped; the in-house economics classes taught by the bank helped even more. The financial markets operate on the principle that, at our core, we’re all basically shit: selfish, self-interested creatures. There’s a whole branch of economics devoted to proving that if you help someone, say, run in front of a speeding train to push another person out of the way, you are actually acting out of self-interest, not altruism; that what most of us would consider humankind’s cardinal virtues - love, honor, compassion - do not actually exist.
The idea that we’re nothing more than selfish animals is an attractive philosophy to a person pulling down a few million dollars a year. It is a philosophy that negates guilt. The guilty feeling a normal person gets while visiting a Third World country is the same feeling a senior investment banker gets when they see a working class neighborhood in Birmingham or Philadelphia. When your paycheck could cover the salaries of a few hundred nurses or teachers, you need some explanation for why that’s okay. The only one that really works is that life is a pure meritocracy. That whether rich or poor, we’re all getting what we deserve.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT WHEN I SAY WE HAVE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME. THIS IS THE IDEOLOGY THAT IS RUINING AMERICA, AND WE’LL DO ANYTHING TO DEFEND IT, EVEN IF IT MEANS GOING DOWN WITH THE SHIP.
It’s not that people in the City or on Wall Street are necessarily bad people, it’s just that they, like almost anyone, will do anything to keep their million or ten million dollar paycheck. They’ll creatively interpret data, they’ll understate risks, they’ll put the best spin on things. Some will lie, cheat, and steal. But most of them, like most of us, will simply resist looking at the world from any perspective other than their own. And if we are intelligent, we will keep a careful watch on them - both now and into the distant future.
MAINTAINING THE IMAGE OF PROSPERITY AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS, DUE TO A BRAINWASHED GROUPTHINK OF SELF-INTEREST OVER THE BELIEF IN ALTRUISM AND SACRIFICE; DUE TO SOME BOORISH ALPHA MALE CONCEPT OF SUPERIORITY THROUGH MONEY.
IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE, IT IS NIHILISTIC AND HEDONISTIC ALL AT ONCE, AND IT PROTECTS ITSELF IN THE SAME WAY YOU AND I PROTECT OURSELVES FROM PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS; FROM PAINFUL FACTS; FROM THE TRUTH.
I am SEETHING, and it feels RIGHTEOUS.