Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sorkin’s Wall Street baseball card collection

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s new book called “Too Big to Fail” gives the reader an inside the room feel for what (may have) happened during the meltdown last year. It’s a very good read, but this and other books recounting what was, while they hold lessons for learning, admittedly fascinating, also serve to distract us from the present Wall Street situation. Watch your step.

Andrew talks of this ominous piece of history like a giddy schoolboy, who’s broken into the principal’s office, and taken over the school public address system. As a New York Times writer covering mergers and acquisitions, this book will keep him solvent in the lean times where mergers and acquisitions are history for the moment. Sorkin will probably win the Pulitzer for this.

In a New York state of mind, this story of personalities, glorifies the strength of people in a way that reminds one of a baseball card collection. Sorkin worked hard on his collection for sure and that journalistic work is very commendable. We need this story.

But a few things should worry us:

- the players in the meltdown of 2008 are so few that it reminds us of just how few people hold so much economic power in America and the world. Given, the number of institutions which have fallen, that list today is even fewer.

- the Treasury Secretary achieved so much without any legislation…there’s that taxation and representation quote to remember.

- Wall Street is a club of people and personalities who has reaped a great deal from the taxpayers treasure…still.

Andrew Sorkin appears much too star struck to be a journalist, yet then again most of the stars in his book are retired, sacked or in the process, or consulting behind the scenes now getting ready to serve the next president. The present leaders on Wall Street have received a nice distracting smokescreen…while people run to buy and bury their noses in history…a new party’s starting, maybe.

See source documents referenced in his book here

Read his DealBook blog here

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