Is the hatred of wall street unfair (do we all have some Gordon Gekko inside us?)

Since its basically in vogue today to hate wall street (and successful people in general) it seems odd to me that many of the things people complain about are commonly done by average ordinary people. For example

1. Fraudulent lending: During the last housing boom, thousands of people lied to banks to get home loans then blamed wall street when they couldn't pay them back.

2. Tax evasion: Questionable tax practices are rampant among most small business and average Americans. When the average person finds a tax loophole, he is considered smart. If a rich person finds one, he is considered immoral.

3. Bribery and cheating: Most polls show that the majority of students cheat or at least have cheated. Therefore it seems unfair for wall street to get beaten up over insider trading when most students admit to doing the academic form of insider trading (many of whom don't even feel its unethical). Furthermore, a BusinessWeek poll from 1987 said over 50% of people would commit insider trading if given the chance.

Also, people go into a moral panic when even the idea of bribery comes along (i.e.. Let's jail him for life for paying for dinner) but polls have shown that a significant amount of the population would cheat to get ahead (i.e.. To get a new job).

Also, many of these laws are vague (i.e.. Should paying for a potential employers dinner become a felony?) Do you think there is a dark side to the ethical obsession we're currently experiencing?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • There's a huge difference between the average person on the street doing this kind of stuff and wall street. With Wall Street we're talking millions of people's retirement and homes being taken away.

    1) Fraudulent lending: The lending companies, people who because of their profession should absolutely know better, gave out high risk loans to people when they knew it would never get paid back. Why? Because then the customer would have such a high interest rate they'll NEVER be able to pay off the loan, meaning you'll make money from them as long as they live. So why did these people sign? Have you ever seen mortgage paperwork? You have to get a damn lawyer just to translate it.

    2) Tax Evasion: There's a huge difference between using a loophole and hiding massive amounts of money in offshore bank accounts that can't be traced or taxed. We're talking millions of dollars that can't be taxed and won't be put back into the economy.

    3) Bribery and cheating: There's a huge difference between cheating on an academic test and insider trading. It would put hedge fund, pension and mutual fund companies out of business, put the average investor at a huge disadvantage and it can distort the market by making it more difficult for prices to reflect how a company is doing accurately.

    But this crap isn't even why most people are angry at Wall Street. What they're really angry about is how Wall Street investors love to buy a controlling share of stock in a company, sell off all it's assets for money and leave the company in bankruptcy or foreclosure, which leads to massive layoffs of American workers. They literally destroy people's lives for profit. Or CEOs will run a their own company into the ground (usually unintentionally), set themselves up with a nice fat severance package that basically takes every last penny the company has, leaving all of their employees unemployed with empty 401k's.

    And all while wall street is making money off of people's misfortune (manufactured or otherwise) when they got themselves in financial trouble, the very people who supposedly know finances, they go and have the government bail them out. It's bullshit.

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What Girls Said 2

  • people hate wall street because instead of the petty money and academic crimes were committing wall streeters are doing it on a larger scale and actually getting somewhere with it

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  • Just hate everybody and the messed up things they do. Don't put a label on it. I hate people who do underhanded misleading things wether it affects me directly or indirectly.

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What Guys Said 1

  • People hate wall street because we've warped the concept of "fair" into that resembling a 3 year old claiming that it's not "fair" he has to go to bed at 7:30pm.

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