Bonfire of the Vanities

94 results back to index


pages: 98 words: 29,610

From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe

Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Peter Eisenman, plutocrats, Plutocrats, The Chicago School, urban renewal

Also by Tom Wolfe The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby The Pump House Gang The Painted Word The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine The Right Stuff In Our Time The Bonfire of the Vanities A Man in Full Hooking Up I Am Charlotte Simmons Tom Wolfe is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I Am Charlotte Simmons, and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. He lives in New York City. Notes 1 The government thought (quite mistakenly) that a new and cosmopolitan architecture might help transcend the country’s bitter racial and ethnic hostilities. 2 It was sometimes permissible to construct a “mono-pitch” roof, a roof with one sloping surface instead of two; and this exception to the rule for worker housing in the 1920s is given devout homage today, on a gigantic scale, in such office towers as the Citicorp Building in New York and Pennzoil Place in Houston. 3 Likewise, in the field of psychology.


pages: 477 words: 144,329

How Money Became Dangerous by Christopher Varelas

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airport security, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, California gold rush, cashless society, corporate raider, crack epidemic, cryptocurrency, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, interest rate derivative, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, mandatory minimum, mobile money, mortgage debt, pensions crisis, pets.com, pre–internet, profit motive, risk tolerance, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, universal basic income, zero day

Moments after we stepped back onto the trading floor, Victor broke off and asked someone where he could find Penn King, and we all watched with awe and a touch of concern as this intrepid twenty-year-old walked up and introduced himself. “Mr. King, I’m Victor, one of the new summer associates.” Penn King was tall, blond, and—we soon learned—a legendary government bond salesman whose reputation extended far beyond Wall Street. The author Tom Wolfe had shadowed King, using him as the model for “Master of the Universe” Sherman McCoy in his bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Penn King peered down at Victor, smiled graciously, and offered a hand to shake. We observed them from a distance, trying to hide our envy, while Victor confidently asked if he could sit in an empty chair not far from King. It wasn’t even a folding chair; it was the real deal, armrests and all. Victor sat down and let out a satisfied breath of air. He tilted the chair back a little and couldn’t help but grin at his quick success.

Wittig had become notorious on Wall Street when he appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine in 1986, arrogantly holding a cigar under the header WALL STREET’S OVERPAID YOUNG STARS. The article went on to talk about how much money he made, a topic of conversation that was very taboo on Wall Street at the time. Over the seven years since the Fortune cover, he’d risen to the top of Salomon’s M&A group. He was the quintessential aspiring Master of the Universe of 1980s Wall Street—pompous, smug, brimming with bravado—not quite suave enough for a place in The Bonfire of the Vanities, but he seemed to be auditioning for the part. Mike Soenen—just flown in from Kalamazoo, carrying an empty briefcase from meeting to meeting to keep up appearances—had never heard of David Wittig. Mike settled down in a chair facing the big desk, and Wittig slid an open binder across it to Mike. “Do you know what this is?” he asked. Mike leaned forward. Columns of letters and numbers that looked like codes, alongside other columns with names of companies.

The squeezing of time had disconnected prices from reality. * * * Managing and refining one’s personal image was another way this desire to control information and perception was manifested. Through the 1980s and into the ’90s, the persona of the “investment banker” became firmly rooted in the public consciousness—spurred on by men real and imagined, like David Wittig and Gordon Gekko; bolstered by books like The Bonfire of the Vanities and Barbarians at the Gate; lionized in the public imagination by their portrayal in films, such as the iconic scene from American Psycho where a bunch of Wall Streeters are sitting around in a conference room trying to one-up one another with the design and quality of their business cards, and the stakes seem murderously high. Through those two decades, a growing majority of bankers came to dress and play the part.


pages: 290 words: 83,248

The Greed Merchants: How the Investment Banks Exploited the System by Philip Augar

Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, information retrieval, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, new economy, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, pensions crisis, regulatory arbitrage, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, yield curve

Wall Street became ‘Disneyland for adults’, in the words of one corporate finance executive eagerly anticipating a $9 million bonus in 1986. But Wall Street’s newfound fame turned sour for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The huge rewards led to conspicuous consumption, flash spending and growing media interest in life on Wall Street. In the late 1980s Tom Wolfe’s bestseller Bonfire of the Vanities, Michael Douglas’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street and Michael Lewis’s tale of the Salomon Brothers jungle, Liar’s Poker, picked out some not very attractive characteristics of investment banking people.16 A crop of insider trading and market manipulation cases – notably the Boesky and Milken affairs in America and the Guinness scandal in the UK – revived old memories of greed and corruption in financial circles.17 Ivan Boesky was a prominent risk arbitrageur – someone who takes stock market positions in the hope of profiting from takeover bids – who received a prison sentence and a $100 million fine in 1986 after admitting to trading on insiders’ tips.18 Boesky was well known in financial circles but what shocked the public at large was where the trail led.

Packard, Vance, The Status Seekers (Longman edition, 1960), p. 112. 13. Stiglitz, Joseph, The Roaring Nineties (Allen Lane, 2003), pp. 87–114; Krugman, Paul, The Great Unravelling (Penguin Books, 2004), pp. 295–325. 14. Augar, Philip, and Palmer, Joy, The Rise of the Player Manager (Penguin Books, 2002), p. 12. 15. Lowenstein, Roger, Origins of the Crash (Penguin Press, 2004), pp. 24–5. 16. Wolfe, Tom, The Bonfire of the Vanities (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1987); Wall Street (American Entertainment/20th Century Fox, 1987); Lewis, Michael, Liar’s Poker (Hodder & Stoughton, 1989). 17. Bruck, Connie, The Predators’ Ball (Penguin Books, 1989); Stewart, James B., Den of Thieves (Simon & Schuster, 1991); Kochan, Nick, and Pym, Hugh, The Guinness Affair (Christopher Helm, 1987). 18. For the classic account see James B.

Index 401K amendment, US tax code 9 accounting treatment/rules fees 177 stock options 201, 209 Ackermann, Josef 122 acquisitions see M&A (mergers and acquisitions) advisory work, fees 90–91, 94–5, 96–7 Alper, Andrew 182 American Express 40 American model, spread of 169–71, 199 analysts 65–9, 207, 213 bubble, role in creating 159, 160 ‘buy’ recommendations, prevalence of 67–8, 72, 141, 159, 196 company valuations 72–3 as competitive tool 145–8 increase in prominence 140–44 pressure facing 196 regulation of 19, 201–2 anti-trust action/legislation 5–6, 7–8, 26 AOL 13, 14, 76–7 auditors 21, 161, 200 Banerji, Arnab 184 Bank of America 31 Bankers Trust 11–12, 44, 78, 127–8 Barings 11, 128 barriers to entry 102–3, 140, 146, 149, 168, 213 basis point pricing 91–3 Bear Stearns 30, 34, 36, 37, 45–6, 112, 117 bid offer spread 115 Blankfein, Lloyd 117–18 block trades 87–8 Blodgett, Henry 19, 136 Bloomberg, Michael 182 boards of directors 163, 178–9, 200–201, 203–4 Boesky, Ivan 10 Boisi, Geoffrey 35 Bollinger, Judy 140–41, 142, 148 bond market crash, 1994 127–8 bond traders 133 Bonfire of the Vanities 9 book-building 92 boutiques, advisory 32, 164 Brandeis, Louis D. 6 brokers 15–16, 66–7, 69, 133, 165 fees 191, 192, 194 and fund managers 190–91, 192, 204, 209 and proprietary trading 192 and structural reform 211–14 Brown, Edgar D. 7 Brown, Tom 143–4 bubble 12–13, 158–60 Buffett, Warren 41, 79, 201 ‘bulge-bracket’ firms, overview of 30–31, 36–44 bull market mentality 3–5, 12–13, 64, 65, 71–3 bundling 193, 209 Bush, President George W. 18 ‘buy’ recommendations, prevalence of 15–17, 67–8, 72, 142, 159, 196 capital, forms of 54 Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) 57–8 capital markets, development of 63–4, 125 cartel, presence of in investment banking 25–6, 98–103, 168, 199–200 competition, driving out 145–9, 151 entry into top group of banks 44–6, 48 market concentration 46–7, 98–9 pricing 93–8, 100–103 and structural reform 214–15 Cayne, James 46 Cazenove 32 CEOs 174–8, 179, 201, 203–4 courting of 150–51 and M&A (mergers and acquisitions) 162, 163 power of 163 Chase Manhattan 45 Chen, Hsuan-Chi 90, 94–5 Citigroup 20, 31, 37, 42–3, 149, 207–8 block trading 87 corruption/malpractice 41–2, 150–51 and Enron 42, 82–3, 182–3 and Parmalat 84 class actions 20, 21 client analysis 163 client trading, and proprietary trading 115–16, 117–19, 211–12 Coffee, Professor John 181 collusion, and free markets 171–2 commercial banks 121, 127 compensation 51, 58–60, 99–100, 165–6 as anti-competitive tool 146–9 and corruption/malpractice 196 and cost control 134–6, 138 excess, source of 166–7 competition, extent of see cartel, presence of in investment banking complex derivatives 78, 80, 81–4, 89, 161–2, 202–3 concentration 46–7, 98–9 confidentiality, and lack of price negotiation 176–7 conflict of interest 16–17, 22–3, 120, 144–5, 151–2, 210–11 boards of directors 178–9 fund managers 191, 194–5 reform, efforts by banks 24, 118, 205–6 regulation 19, 185–6, 187–90, 201–2, 205, 210 structural reform 211–13 UK 170–71 corporate control 162, 163–4, 193–5, 203–4 corporate finance 9, 119–21, 142 corporate governance, recent reform 200–201 corruption/malpractice 9–12, 14–18, 21–3, 151–54, 160, 173–4, 195–8 ‘clean-up’ following 19–20, 200–211 corporate corruption 161–2 CSFB 17, 43–4, 83, 121, 137–8, 151 culture of 168–9 derivatives 11–12, 44, 81–4, 151, 161–2 Enron 41, 81, 82–3, 121, 182–3 explanations of 65 fund managers 190–91, 194–5 future prospects 208–9, 215–16 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) 17–18, 19, 43, 137, 144–5, 160, 196 and regulation 22, 23, 185–6, 202–3 Salomon Brothers/Salomon Smith Barney 17, 41–43, 137, 150–51 WorldCom 17, 121, 150–51, 161 Corvis 71–2 Corzine, Jon 4, 65, 182, 188 cost control 45, 134–9 cost of equity capital 57–8 crashes 125–6 1987 126–7 1994 (bond market) 127–8 2000 13–14, 125–6 emerging markets crisis (1998) 130 credit derivatives 47, 82 Credit Suisse 20, 31, 32 cross-selling 122 CSFB (Credit Suisse First Boston) 37, 43–4, 136–7 corruption/malpractice 17, 43–4, 83, 121, 137, 151 cost control 137–8 and emerging markets crisis, 1998 130 CSFP (Credit Suisse Financial Products) 78, 136 Culhane, Simon 184 cynicism, culture of 151–3 Davies, Sir Howard 189 debt capital 54 Dell, Michael 151 Den of Thieves 107 Derby, Peter 205 deregulation 8, 180–81, 199 derivatives 33, 77–84, 100, 161–2 margins on 88–9 misselling scandals 11–12, 44, 151 regulation of 183, 202–3 Deutsche Bank 31, 32, 37 Dillon Read 34, 36 Dinallo, Eric 15, 24, 188–9 Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette 137, 143–4 Donaldson, William 23–4, 143, 187, 205 dot-com companies 4, 13, 71, 188 Drexel Burnham Lambert 10, 26, 44, 127 Drucker, Peter 54 e-mails, as evidence of malpractice 16–17 Ebbers, Bernard J. 150, 151 economy, performance of, role of investment banks 25, 63–5, 100, 157–8, 199, 214 efficient market theory 69 Electric Storage Battery, takeover of 35 emerging markets crisis, 1998 130 employees nature of 123, 197, 198 numbers of 61, 136, 138 see also compensation Endlich, Lisa 114 Enron 42, 81, 82–3, 121, 182–3 equity capital 54–8 ‘Fannie Mae’ 80–81 Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation 80 fees accounting treatment 177 advisory work 90–91, 94–5, 96–7 brokers 191, 192, 193 bundling 193, 209 fixed commissions, abolition of 34–5 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) 89–90, 91–3, 94–5, 96, 177, 179–80 M&A (mergers and acquisitions) 90–92, 96, 176–8 see also prices First Boston 34, 36, 37 Fisher, Peter 182 fixed commissions, abolition of 34–5 fixed income, growth of 133 free market ideology 8, 12, 20, 168–72, 173–4, 194, 197, 215 Freeman, Robert 11, 107 Friedman, Stephen 182 front running 111 Fuld, Richard 124–5 fund manager services 65–9, 133, 165, 204 fund managers 190–95, 204, 209 funds, performance of 164–5, 190 futures 77, 126 General Electric 44–5, 80 Giuliani, Rudolph 10 Gleacher, Eric 32, 38, 164 Global Crossing 82 global operations/globalization 32–3, 63, 128, 133–4 Goldman Sachs 11, 30, 32, 34, 36, 37–8, 111, 148 and conflict of interest 206 earnings, recent 61 and emerging markets crisis, 1998 130 narcissism 198 political contributions 181 prices 86 proprietary trading 114, 117 risk management 112–13 value-at-risk 117 Google IPO 44, 90, 203 governments 180–84 Gramm, Phil 183 Gramm, Wendy 183 Grasso, Richard 187 Great Crash 6–7 Greenberg, Ace 45 Greenhill, Robert 32, 38, 164 Greenspan, Alan 4, 78–9, 158, 209 Gregory, Professor Alan 170 Grubman, Jack 16, 19, 161, 195 Guinness 11 Gutfreund, John 41 Hanbury, Jim 108 hedge funds 69, 133, 160, 165, 194 Heywood, Jeremy 184 Hintz, Brad 88 history/development of investment banking 5–13, 34–6, 134, 199 HSBC 31 hubris 198 IBM 35 ICI 170 illegality see corruption/malpractice importance of investment banks 29, 32 inflation, and return on equity (ROE) 55, 56 Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) 4, 14, 69–74 analysts, role of 142–3, 144–5 and bubble 159–60 corruption/malpractice 17–18, 19, 43, 137, 144–5, 160, 196 fees 89–90, 91–3, 94–5, 96, 177, 179–80 Google 44, 90, 203 long term performance 73 offer price 70–73, 179–80 reform of system 203 regulation of 202 standards, lowering of 159–60 innovation 131–4, 208–9 insider trading 9–11 integration 22, 33, 107–8, 111, 119, 122, 168 as anti-competitive tool 145–6, 148–9, 151 and conflict of interest 22–3, 118, 206, 211–12 and corporate finance 119–21 development of 140–45 as flawed concept 151–53 and identification of profits 192–3 and regulation 22, 23, 24, 185–6 structural reform 211–15 in UK 170–71 International Swaps Dealers Association 183 internet 4, 129 stocks 4, 13, 71, 188 Investment Banking: A Tale of Three Cities 131 IT revolution, 1990s 129 J.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

In the remainder of this chapter I will begin by explaining the two main components of financialisation: the substitution of trading and transactions for relationships, and the restructuring of finance businesses. I shall then move on to the broader economic effects of financialisation on economic stability, on the performance of business and on economic inequality. The rise of the trader No sooner did you pass the fake fireplace than you heard an ungodly roar, like the roar of a mob … It was the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money on the bond market. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, 1987 We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. … We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union.

The collapse of the asset-backed securities market would be at the centre of the global financial crisis. The elements of the new trading culture – based around fixed income, currency and commodities, and turbo-charged by derivatives – were now in place. Markets in shares were no longer the centre of speculative activity. Fixed interest, currency and, later, commodities (FICC) were central to the new trading culture. Sherman McCoy, the vainglorious anti-hero of Wolfe’s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, was, like Nick Carraway, a bond trader. But the environment in which McCoy worked was very different from that experienced by Nick Carraway. The changes that occurred in the structure of financial services firms are described in more detail below, but with these firms the dominant ethos changed radically. Wolfe’s fictional account satirises the new culture of financialisation, but the contemporaneous account of Michael Lewis’s time at Salomon Bros, where Lew Ranieri had made the firm a market leader in bond market innovation, demonstrates how little exaggeration was contained in Wolfe’s caricature.

., 2012, ‘The UK’s External Balance Sheet: The International Investment Position (IIP)’, Office for National Statistics, March, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/the-international-investment-position/2010/art-uk-s-iip.html. Wolf, M., 2008, Fixing Global Finance, Baltimore, MD, The Johns Hopkins University Press. Wolfe, H., 1930, The Uncelestial City, London, Gollancz. Wolfe, T., 1987, The Bonfire of the Vanities, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Woodward, R.U., 2001, Maestro: Greenspan’s Fed and the American Boom, New York and London, Simon and Schuster. Zeleny, J., 2008, ‘Obama Weighs Quick Undoing of Bush Policy’, The New York Times, 9 November. Ziegler, P.S., 1988, The Sixth Great Power: Barings, 1765–1929, London, Collins, 1988. Zuckerman, G., 2010, The Greatest Trade Ever: How John Paulson Bet against the Markets and Made $20 Billion, London, Viking.


The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, complexity theory, Copley Medal, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, failed state, Isaac Newton, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, Steven Pinker, Thomas Malthus

About the Author Tom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, I Am Charlotte Simmons, and Back to Blood. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his BA at Washington and Lee University and a PhD in American Studies at Yale. He received the National Book Foundation’s 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in New York City. Also by Tom Wolfe The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby The Pump House Gang The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers The Painted Word Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine The Right Stuff In Our Time From Bauhaus to Our House The Purple Decades The Bonfire of the Vanities A Man in Full Hooking Up I Am Charlotte Simmons Back to Blood Thank you for buying this ebook, published by Hachette Digital.


The America That Reagan Built by J. David Woodard

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, colonial rule, Columbine, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, friendly fire, glass ceiling, global village, Gordon Gekko, gun show loophole, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, late capitalism, Live Aid, Marc Andreessen, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, postindustrial economy, Ralph Nader, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Ted Kaczynski, The Predators' Ball, trickle-down economics, women in the workforce, Y2K, young professional

Greed in all its forms—greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge—has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed—you mark my words—will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much. The same theme was addressed in literature. In 1990, one of America’s foremost writers, Tom Wolfe, released a blockbuster bestseller entitled The Bonfire of the Vanities.6 The book dealt with what Wolfe called the ‘‘big, rich slices of contemporary life,’’ in this case the heady materialism of the 1980s. The plot followed the life of Sherman McCoy, a prodigiously successful bond trader at a prestigious Wall Street firm. One night Sherman, accompanied by his mistress, fatally injures a black man in a car accident. As a result of this accident, all the ennui of metropolitan life, race relations, instant affluence and gratification, and the class structure of the city afflict the lead character.

Edmund Morris, Dutch (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 586–604. 81. New York Times, October 24, 1983. 82. Lou Cannon, President Reagan (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991), p. 516. CHAPTER 4: A RISING TIDE 1. International Financial Statistics: 1957–1998. 2. National Review, August 31, 1992. 3. Barron’s, February 11, 1984. 4. John Ehrman, The Eighties (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005). 5. Wall Street, imdb.com. 6. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987). 7. Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy (New York: Modern Library, 1956). 8. Janet Lowe, Secret Empire: How 25 Multinationals Rule the World (Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1992), p. 5. 9. Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, Barbarians at the Gate (New York: Harper and Row, 1990). 10. U.S. News and World Report, December 12, 1986. 11. John Ehrman, The Eighties (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), p. 23. 12.

White, John Kenneth. The New Politics of Old Values. London: University Press of New England, 1988. White, John Kenneth. The Values Divide. New York: Chatham House, 2003. Williamson, Murray, and Robert H. Scales, Jr. The Iraq War. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 2003. Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Wolfe, Tom. The Bonfire of the Vanities. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987. Woodard, J. David. The New Southern Politics. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press, 2006. Woodward, Bob. The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994. Woodward, Bob. The Choice. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. York, Byron. The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy. New York: Crown Books, 2005. Index Afghan War, 223, 225 Afghanistan, 10, 100, 214, 220–23, 226, 243 AFL-CIO, 36 age of publicity, 76 Aidid, Mohammad, 156 AIDS, 120, 163 Alexander, Lamar, 187, 205 al Qaeda, 214, 219–23, 228 American Airlines: Flight 11, 215; Flight 77, 214, 216 American Tragedy, An (Dreiser), 66 Anderson, John B., 27, 29, 31 Arafat, Yasir, 155–56 arms-for-hostages deals, 90–91 arms race, 125 Atwater, Lee, 105, 111, 139 ‘‘Baby Jessica’’ McClure, rescue, 76 Baghdad, 124, 131–35, 138, 229–31 Barone, Michael, 27, 83 BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), 154, 177, 179 Beckwith, ‘‘Chargin’’ Charlie, Colonel, 11 Beirut.


pages: 197 words: 49,240

Melting Pot or Civil War?: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bonfire of the Vanities, charter city, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, ghettoisation, guest worker program, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, job automation, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mass immigration, megacity, new economy, obamacare, open borders, race to the bottom, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, two tier labour market, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

And in the summer of 1991, riots broke out in Crown Heights after an Orthodox Jewish man crashed his car into the home of a Guyanese immigrant family, killing the family’s young son. These incidents were only the most vivid manifestations of a general sense that the city was coming undone. Throughout these years, violent crime was terrifyingly high, and Brooklyn, my native borough, was a watchword for joblessness and urban decay. In The Bonfire of the Vanities, one of Tom Wolfe’s characters memorably described Brooklyn’s remaining bourgeois enclaves as little white Hong Kongs amidst a sea of black and brown poverty. These were years when New Yorkers of all colors fled the city in droves, and those of us who remained feared that class and racial conflict might at any moment spin out of control. Yet eventually the fever broke, and New York City made a dramatic comeback.

Casey Foundation, 35 anti-gentrification, 20–21, 23–24 anti-immigrant bias, 72–73 anti-poverty spending, 46, 48, 176–77 “Asian values,” 41 assimilation, 12, 13, 20, 63–72, 182–83 immigrants, two kinds of, 69–72 automation, 12–13, 94–96, 107–23, 127–28 cosmopolitan case for, 107–16 baby boomers, intergenerational wealth transfer, 21–22 Bachmeier, James, 117 Backlash Paradox, 88–91 Baldwin, Richard, 148 Bangladeshi immigrants, 2–3, 64, 74–78, 94, 145 Bean, Frank, 117 Betts, Alexander, 146–47 between-group inequality, 26–27 bigotry, 72–73, 88, 90, 91 birthrates, 32–33, 73 birthright citizenship, 57, 59, 60 Bitler, Marianne P., 178 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 182 Borlaug, Norman, 152–53 bracero program, 111–12, 119 Brahmins, 40 Brin, Sergey, 39 British immigrants, 73–74 Brookings Institution, 142 Brown, Susan, 117 Bush, George W., 49 Canada, 26, 60, 170 Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 52 Center for Global Development, 108 Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), 167 “chain migration,” 78.


pages: 874 words: 154,810

Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet, Virginia Maxwell, Nicola Williams

Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Costa Concordia, G4S, haute couture, Kickstarter, period drama, post-work, Skype, trade route

Just before his death, the Medici bank had failed and two years later the Medici were driven out of Florence. In a reaction against the splendour and excess of the Medici court, the city fell under the control of Girolamo Savonarola, a humourless Dominican monk who led a stern, puritanical republic. In 1497 the likes of Botticelli gladly consigned their ‘immoral’ works and finery to the flames of the infamous ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’. The following year Savonarola fell from public favour and was burned as a heretic. The pro-French leanings of the subsequent republican government brought it into conflict with the pope and his Spanish allies. In 1512 a Spanish force defeated Florence and the Medici were reinstated. Their tyrannical rule endeared them to few and when Rome, ruled by the Medici Pope Clement VII, fell to the emperor Charles V in 1527, the Florentines took advantage of this low point in the Medici fortunes to kick the family out again.

Whenever the city entered one of its innumerable political crises, the people would be called here as a parlamento (people’s plebiscite) to rubber-stamp decisions that frequently meant ruin for some ruling families and victory for others. Scenes of great pomp and circumstance alternated with those of terrible suffering: it was here that vehemently pious preacher-leader Savonarola set fire to the city’s art – books, paintings, musical instruments, mirrors, fine clothes and so on – during his famous ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ in 1497, and where he was hung in chains and burnt as a heretic, along with two other supporters a year later. The same spot where both fires burned is marked by a bronze plaque embedded in the ground in front of Ammannati’s Fontana di Nettuno MAP GOOGLE MAP (Neptune Fountain;). With its pin-headed bronze satyrs and divinities frolicking at its edges, this huge fountain is hardly pretty and is much mocked as il biancone (the big white thing), not to mention a waste of good marble, by many a Florentine.

But after Lorenzo escaped an assassination attempt by a conspiracy among the rival Florentine Pazzi family, the king of Naples and the pope, the artists he supported had to look elsewhere for sponsorship until Lorenzo could regain his position. Religious reformer Savonarola took an even darker view of Lorenzo and the classically influenced art he promoted, viewing it as a sinful indulgence in a time of great suffering. When Savonarola ousted the Medici in 1494, he decided that their decadent art had to go, too, and works by Botticelli, Michelangelo and others went up in flames in the massive ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ on Florence’s Piazza della Signoria. HOW MACHIAVELLIAN! Few names have such resonance as Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), the Florentine scholar and political thinker who said ‘the times are more powerful than our brains’. He was born into a poor offshoot of one of Florence’s leading families and his essential premise – ‘the end justifies the means’ – is one that continues to live with disturbing terrorism five centuries on.


pages: 928 words: 159,837

Florence & Tuscany by Lonely Planet

Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, European colonialism, haute couture, Kickstarter, period drama, post-work, sensible shoes, Skype, trade route, urban planning

Just before his death, the Medici bank had failed and two years later the Medici were driven out of Florence. In a reaction against the splendour and excess of the Medici court, the city fell under the control of Girolamo Savonarola, a humourless Dominican monk who led a stern, puritanical republic. In 1497 the likes of Botticelli gladly consigned their ‘immoral’ works and finery to the flames of the infamous ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’. The following year Savonarola fell from public favour and was burned as a heretic. The pro-French leanings of the subsequent republican government brought it into conflict with the pope and his Spanish allies. In 1512 a Spanish force defeated Florence and the Medici were reinstated. Their tyrannical rule endeared them to few and when Rome, ruled by the Medici pope Clement VII, fell to the emperor Charles V in 1527, the Florentines took advantage of this low point in the Medici fortunes to kick the family out again.

Whenever the city entered one of its innumerable political crises, the people would be called here as a parlamento (people’s plebiscite) to rubber-stamp decisions that frequently meant ruin for some ruling families and victory for others. Scenes of great pomp and circumstance alternated with those of terrible suffering: it was here that vehemently pious preacher-leader Savonarola set fire to the city’s art – books, paintings, musical instruments, mirrors, fine clothes and so on – during his famous ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ in 1497, and where he was hung in chains and burnt as a heretic, along with two other supporters a year later. The same spot where both fires burned is marked by a bronze plaque embedded in the ground in front of Ammannati’s Fontana di Nettuno (Neptune Fountain). With its pin-headed bronze satyrs and divinities frolicking at its edges, this huge fountain is hardly pretty and is much mocked as il biancone (the big white thing), not to mention a waste of good marble, by many a Florentine.

But after Lorenzo escaped an assassination attempt by a conspiracy among the rival Florentine Pazzi family, the king of Naples and the pope, the artists he supported had to look elsewhere for sponsorship until Lorenzo could regain his position. Religious reformer Savonarola took an even darker view of Lorenzo and the classically influenced art he promoted, viewing it as a sinful indulgence in a time of great suffering. When Savonarola ousted the Medici in 1494, he decided that their decadent art had to go, too, and works by Botticelli, Michelangelo and others went up in flames in the massive ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ on Florence’s Piazza della Signoria. THE ORIGINAL MACHIAVELLI Tuscany’s Renaissance legacy was almost lost by the 1966 Great Flood of Florence that left thousands homeless and three million manuscripts and thousands of artworks under mud, stone and sewage. Those heroes who helped dig the treasures from the mud are honoured as gli angeli del fango (angels of mud). Few names have such resonance as Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527), the Florentine scholar and political thinker who said ‘the times are more powerful than our brains’.


pages: 446 words: 117,660

Arguing With Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future by Paul Krugman

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, different worldview, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, employer provided health coverage, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, frictionless, frictionless market, fudge factor, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, index fund, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, London Whale, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, New Urbanism, obamacare, oil shock, open borders, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, universal basic income, very high income, working-age population

For example, Fortune has long carried out annual surveys of executive compensation; and since the mid-1970s compensation of top executives has risen far faster than average or typical wages, a process entertainingly discussed by Graef Crystal in his In Search of Excess. Surveys carried out by the University of Michigan have also shed useful light on income distribution, in particular on the dynamics of income over time. There is also anecdotal evidence: Tom Wolfe noted the soaring demand for apartments in Manhattan’s “Good Buildings” well before academics had started to take the growing concentration of wealth seriously, and indeed his Bonfire of the Vanities arguably tells you all you need to know about the subject. WHAT THE CENSUS SHOWS Most academic studies on the distribution of income in the United States rely on Census data, compiled from the Current Population Survey. These data have certain limitations, to which I will turn in a moment. But as a starting point, the Census numbers have one great advantage: they are not controversial.

Economics,” 125 Baily, Martin, 127 Baker, Dean, 169 Bangladesh, 243–44 banking system: unregulated “shadow” of, 9 vulnerability to panics, 82, 89 banknotes, 411, 412, 413 Bank of England, 103, 128 Barnhart, Jo Anne, 26 Barrasso, John, 57 Bartley, Robert, 271, 276 Batchelder, Lily, 239 Beck, Glenn, 356 behavioral finance, 145–46 benefits enhancement, 210, 211–12 Berlin Wall, fall of, 188, 358 Bernanke, Ben, 82, 130, 140, 141 and financial crisis (2007–2008), 89, 147 on income inequality, 282, 283 bin Salman, Mohammed, 371 bipartisanship, 198 Bitcoin, 411–14 Black, Duncan, 157 Blackwater affair, 299 Blanchard, Olivier, 130, 139, 194, 203–5 Blasey Ford, Christine, 345, 346 Bloomberg, Michael, 306 Boehner, John, 362 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 262, 270 bothsidesism, 297–98, 375, 378 Bowles, Erskine, 198, 199, 203, 218 Bowyer, Jerry, 44 “Bridge Too Far, A” (Krugman), 175–77 Britain: Brexit, 158 budget surpluses of, 154 currency of, 180 economy of, 180 hard-money policy in, 185 health care in, 45, 47, 48 retirement system in, 22–24 Brunnermeier, Markus, 412 bubbles: ends of, 87 see also specific bubbles Buckley, William, 408 budget, balancing, 6 budget deficits, 96, 104, 105, 107, 120, 157–58, 179 “deficit scolds,” 194, 207, 209 deficit spending, 153, 218 budget surplus, 154 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 87 Bush, George H.

(Frank), 302 When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor (Wilson), 286–87 “Where Did the Productivity Growth Go?” (Dew-Becker and Gordon), 283 Whitaker, Matthew, 333 white nationalism, 343, 346, 360 “Why Not the Worst?” (Krugman), 343–44, 350 wildfire, growing risks of, 332 Will, George, 381 Wilson, William Julius, 292 When Work Disappears; The World of the New Urban Poor, 286–87 wing-nut welfare, 303 Wisconsin, Republican Party in, 369 Wolfe, Tom, Bonfire of the Vanities, 262, 270 Wolff, Edward, 270 working class: anti-worker bias in politics, 290, 318, 351–53 falling incomes of, 96, 244 family values of, 286 and health care, 352 and income inequality, 259–60, 272, 273 and “skills gap,” 167–68 stagnating wages of, 92, 168, 288, 289 tax increases on, 20, 221–23 and trade war, 372 and unions, 218, 289–90, 317 work opportunities available to, 286–87, 292 World Trade Organization (WTO), 247, 252 World War I, war debts from, 254 World War II: postwar economic growth, 219, 234 postwar trading system, 244, 250 wage controls in, 270 Wren-Lewis, Simon, 5, 385–86 “WSJ calculation,” 280 Yellen, Janet, 97 Yunus, Muhammad, 388 Zandi, Mark, 113 “zero lower bound” interest rates, 142–43, 153 zombie ideas: on climate change, 4 cutting taxes on the rich, 4, 215–17 eating people’s brains, 3–4 and health care, 216 on impossibility of universal health coverage, 4 invasion of, 259 in movement conservatism, 8 and racism, 4 Zucman, Gabriel, 238–39, 349 ALSO BY PAUL KRUGMAN End This Depression Now!


pages: 437 words: 113,173

Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

The 2008 financial crisis has already taught us to respect this class of threat, but we do not yet appreciate how widespread it has become. Systemic risks are also growing within our national and geo-politics. A Renaissance age creates big winners and big losers. Our social bargain is weakening, just when the technologies to summon solidarity, or rally rebellion, are made common and powerful. Five hundred years ago, the Bonfire of the Vanities, religious wars, the Inquisition and ever-more-frequent popular revolts tore at the peace in which genius labored and smothered some of the brightest lights of the age. Now, voices of extremism, protectionism and xenophobia likewise seek to tear apart the connections that spark present-day genius, while popular discontent has sapped our public institutions of the legitimacy needed to take bold actions.

—Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498)1 Empowered prophets In early February 1497, the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola and his band of fanatic youth followers gathered up all the tangible evidence of this strange new age they could lay their hands on—immoral books, heretical texts, nude paintings and sculptures, indecent perfumes, new musical instruments and baubles from far away—and piled them into a giant heap in Florence’s central piazza, rising 60 feet high in seven tiers to represent the seven deadly sins. On February 7, Carnival Day, Savonarola set fire to the lot in an event that became known to history as the Bonfire of the Vanities. By itself, that act wasn’t so remarkable. Public bonfires to burn away sin had been lit by Italian clergy before—by Bernardino da Siena in the 1420s, and more recently by Bernardino da Feltre in 1483.2 Nor was Savonarola’s message new. He spoke, in a loud and gifted voice, against moral corruption in society and against the church’s complicity with it, but the same could have been said of many preachers before him.3 In a previous time and place, Savonarola might have been marginalized and ignored.

See HIV/AIDS Airbnb, 145, 261 Al-Qaeda, 166, 207, 210 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, 241 Apple, 43, 241 Arab Spring, 24, 36, 211, 222–4, 228 architecture, 142–5 Aristarchus, 133–4 Aristotle, 89, 144, 256, 260 Arthur, Brian, 132, 246 astronomy, 29–30, 105–7, 133, 148, 150, 156, 263. See also Copernicus, Nicolaus Australia, 20, 43, 225 automation, 116, 146, 167 Aztecs, 9, 19, 93 al-Baghdadi, Bakr, 207, 208–9 Barker, Robert, 30 Berlin Wall, 4, 7, 10, 21–2, 77–8 Bhopal Union Carbide disaster, 99 bin Laden, Osama, 166, 210 Black Death, 1, 70, 72–3, 93, 143, 173–5, 177, 184 Bohr, Niels, 124 Bonfire of the Vanities, 8, 203–4. See also Savonarola, Girolamo Botticelli, Sandro: Madonna of the Book, 109 Brahe, Tycho, 29, 35, 106, 263 Brant, Sebastian, 26 Brazil, 43, 54, 68, 248, 262 Brunelleschi, Filippo, 90, 93, 109, 142, 204, 239, 246 Buonarroti, Michelangelo, 6, 109, 132, 142, 246, 266 Creation of Adam, 1, 151, 240 David, 2, 3, 235–6 Dying Slave, 110 Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1, 9, 240 Bush, George H.


pages: 257 words: 71,686

Swimming With Sharks: My Journey into the World of the Bankers by Joris Luyendijk

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, bank run, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Emanuel Derman, financial deregulation, financial independence, Flash crash, glass ceiling, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, inventory management, job-hopping, light touch regulation, London Whale, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, regulatory arbitrage, Satyajit Das, selection bias, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, the payments system, too big to fail

The war stories: “You remember when the client said this, and you said that …?”’ This is a former managing director talking me through the listing of a new company on the stock exchange. Until he fell into a depression and dropped out, he had been a classic ‘Master of the Universe’ banker. To my surprise, this type of banker seemed perfectly happy with the name, even though Tom Wolfe coined it in Bonfire of the Vanities in the eighties to satirise the overwheening confidence of the ambitious young men who racked up millions on Wall Street. Many Master of the Universe bankers did not seem to know the providence of their nickname, nor did they seem to care. Neither for the literature nor for the irony. That said, whenever they described their work I couldn’t help but feel a sense of recognition, affinity even.

Index ABN Amro 1, 2 accountancy firms 1, 2, 3 and incentives 1 Adoboli, Kweku 1 AIG 1, 2, 3 al-Qaida 1 amorality 1, 2, 3, 4 Anderson, Geraint 1 Ankenbrand, Bernd 1 Asperger’s syndrome 1, 2 asset management 1 author’s Guardian blog 1 (see also Guardian) first interviews posted on 1 ‘Going native …’ subtitle of 1 readers’ comments posted on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 responses to interviews on 1, 2 traditional banking said to be under-represented on 1 Back from the Brink (Darling) 1, 2, 3 back office 1, 2 Bank of America, mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 banker types: blinkered 1, 2 cold fish 1 and Faustian pacts 1 legality defines ‘ethics’ of 1 corresponding to animals 1 delusional 1, 2 Masters of the Universe 1 passim, 1, 2 cold fish’s scorn for 1 criticism of sector resented by 1 sector readily defended by 1 neutrals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 nicknames for 1 teeth grinders 1, 2, 3, 4 bankers (see also banks): in back office 1, 2 evaluation of colleagues by 1 and Faustian pacts 1 and hopping between jobs 1, 2 leisure-time spending by 1, 2 (see also financial sector: remuneration in) and love life 1 in middle office 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 more power and status in, post-crash 1 nicknames used by 1 not alone in causing financial crisis 1 (see also global financial crisis) and religion 1 types of, see banker types working hours of 1, 2, 3, 4 banks (see also bankers; central banks; financial sector): ABN Amro 1, 2 abusive culture in 1 accountancy firms used by 1, 2, 3 annual results announcements of 1 balances of, as ‘blackest of black holes’ 1 Bank of America, mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 Barclays, mixed investment– commercial nature of 1 Barings 1 rogue trader at 1 BNP Paribas, mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 capital buffers of 1, 2, 3 capital buffers of 1, 2 Casenove 1 and caveat emptor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Citigroup 1, 2 mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 ‘close and continuous supervision’ of 1 (see also regulators) combined investment–commercial nature of 1 commercial: definition of, clarified 1 vs investment 1, 2 investment banks taken over by 1 Deutsche Bank 1 mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 divide between different types of 1 as dog-eat-dog world 1 Goldman Sachs 1 as exception to short-termism 1 as ‘pure’ investment bank 1 Smith’s book on 1 Smith’s NYT piece on 1, 2 HR personnel in, and redundancy 1 HSBC 1 annual results announcement of 1, 2 and drugs money 1, 2 mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 and incentives: ‘perverse’ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 short-termism encouraged by 1 insurance’s overlap with 1 as ‘intensely political’ workplaces 1 investment: ‘animal’ types within 1 books about 1 as ‘casinos’ 1, 2, 3 and ‘castes’ 1 vs commercial 1, 2 commercial banks begin to take over 1 culpability of, in global financial crash 1 daily routine of 1, 2, 3 definition of, clarified 1 and dot-com bubble 1, 2, 3 job titles within 1, 2, 3 radically changed ownership structure of 1 and risk and compliance 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (see also regulators) risk-taker–risk-bearer dichotomy in 1 and ‘rock’n’roll traders’ 1 speculation by 1 subcultures engendered by 1 and IT 1, 2 patches and workarounds in 1 JP Morgan 1 rogue trader at 1, 2 Lehman Brothers: collapse of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 inadequate buffers of 1 as ‘pure’ investment bank 1 Lloyds, annual results announcement of 1, 2 mega- 1 investment banks’ mutation with 1 speculate with people’s savings 1 Merrill Lynch 1 Morgan Grenfell 1 and prop trading 1, 2, 3, 4 rating agencies paid by 1 (see also credit-rating agencies) RBS, annual results announcement of 1, 2 recruitment in 1, 2 and redundancy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 as ‘enhanced severance’ 1 as rite of passage 1 termed ‘the cull’ 1 in UK vs US 1, 2 and work-related visas 1 and regulators 1 fighting symptoms rather than cause 1 and Financial Services Authority, Financial Conduct Authority, Prudential Regulation Authority 1 identification of, with financial sector 1 ‘idiots’ description applied to 1, 2 ‘losing people at all levels’ post-crash 1 numbers working for 1 and self-declaration 1 Salomon Brothers 1 Samuel Montagu 1 Schroders 1 silo mentality in 1 Société Générale: mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 rogue trader at 1 and ‘too big to fail’ concept 1, 2, 3, 4 and ability to blackmail 1 and ‘too big to manage’ concept 1 UBS 1 rogue trader at 1, 2 unpopularity of employees in 1 zero job security in 1, 2 and diminishing employee loyalty 1, 2, 3 Barbarians at the Gate (Burrough, Helyar) 1 Barclays: mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 Sants offered top job at 1 Barings, rogue trader at 1, 2 Binge Trading: The Real Inside Story of Cash, Cocaine and Corruption in the City (Freedman) 1 Blair, Tony, ‘adviser’ role of 1, 2, 3 blinkered bankers 1, 2 (see also banker types) BNP Paribas, mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe) 1 bonuses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 (see also remuneration) Labour’s plan to levy extra tax on 1 Brown, Gordon, financial sector praised by 1 buffers, see capital buffers Buiter, Willem 1 Canary Wharf 1 capital buffers 1, 2, 3, 4 ‘capture’ 1 Casenove 1 caveat emptor 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 CDOs (collateralised debt obligations) 1, 2, 3, 4 ‘hybrid’ 1, 2 and rating agencies 1 ‘squared’ 1 ‘synthetic’ 1, 2 central banks 1, 2 (see also banks) Bank of England 1 reaction of, to global financial crisis 1 Swiss 1 CERN 1 charity donations 1 Chinese walls 1, 2, 3 Citigroup 1, 2 mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 City (see also banks; financial sector): amorality in 1, 2, 3 anti-Semitism, sexism, snobbery and homophobia in 1 codes and mores of 1 collection of interviews from (City Lives) 1 crude terminology used in 1 and discrimination 1 ethical dilemmas in 1 greed-driven as popular image of 1 ‘it’s only other people’s money’ mentality in 1 jargon and language of 1 law firms that dominate (‘magic circle’) 1 long-term relationships in 1 and ‘my word is my bond’ 1, 2 as term 1 UK and Europe reshaped in image of 1 City Lives (Courtney, Thompson) 1 Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile (Anderson) 1, 2 Clinton, Hillary 1 code of silence 1, 2, 3, 4 cold fish 1 (see also banker types) and Faustian pacts 1 legality defines ‘ethics’ of 1 collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) 1, 2, 3, 4 ‘hybrid’ 1, 2 and rating agencies 1 ‘squared’ 1 ‘synthetic’ 1, 2 commercial banks (see also banks): definition of, clarified 1 vs investment 1, 2 investment banks taken over by 1 Confessions of a City Girl: The Devil Wears Pinstripes (Stcherbatcheff) 1 confidentiality 1 Cooper, George 1 credit-default swaps (CDSs) 1 credit-rating agencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and CDOs 1 Moody’s 1, 2 ‘oligopoly’ of 1 paid by banks 1 Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Banker (Leveraged Sell-Out) 1 Darling, Alistair 1, 2, 3 memoir of, see Back from the Brink Darwinism, social 1 Das, Satyajit 1 Davies, Howard 1 deals, code names for 1 Deloitte 1 delusional bankers 1, 2 (see also banker types) Der Spiegel 1 Derman, Emanuel 1 Deutsche Bank 1, 2 mixed investment–commercial nature of 1 dot-com bubble 1, 2, 3 economists, unhelpful 1 ‘enhanced severance’ 1 (see also redundancy) Ernst & Young 1 European Banking Union 1 European Commission 1 executive search 1 Financial Conduct Authority 1 financial crash 1 passim bankers not alone in causing 1 books written about 1, 2 and domino effect 1, 2 and government bail-outs 1 harrowing beginnings of 1 ignorance about 1, 2 ignorance of real threat posed by 1 indifference towards 1 investment banks’ culpability in 1 more ‘cock-up than conspiracy’ 1 next 1 parliamentary commissions into 1, 2 political impasse before and after 1 and redundancy 1 regulators’ personnel losses since 1 regulators’ symptoms-overcause response to 1 seen as ‘black swan’ 1 Western world ‘crippled’ by 1 The Financial Crisis: Who Is to Blame?


pages: 799 words: 187,221

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, Commentariolus, crowdsourcing, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, game design, iterative process, lone genius, New Journalism, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, urban planning, wikimedia commons

In 1494 a radical friar named Girolamo Savonarola had led a religious rebellion against the ruling Medici and instituted a fundamentalist regime that imposed strict new laws against homosexuality, sodomy, and adultery. Some transgressions were punished by stoning and burning. A militia of young boys was organized to patrol the streets and enforce morals. On Mardi Gras of 1497 Savonarola led what became known as the “Bonfire of the Vanities,” in which books, art, clothing, and cosmetics were set aflame. The following year, popular opinion turned on him, and he was hanged and burned in the central square of Florence. By Leonardo’s return, the city had again become a republic that celebrated the classics and art, but its confidence was shaken, its exuberance dampened, and the finances of its government and guilds drained. Leonardo would make Florence his base for most of 1500 to 1506, boarding comfortably with his entourage at the church of Santissima Annunziata.

One pair of dusty-rose stockings. One pink cap.”3 These might seem like costumes from one of his plays or masquerades, but we know from contemporary accounts that he actually dressed like this when walking about town. It is a delightful image: Leonardo in an Arab hooded cloak or strolling in purple and pink garb, heavy on the satin and velvet. He was tailor-made for a Florence that had rebelled against Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities and was again willing to embrace flamboyant, eccentric, and artistic free spirits. Leonardo made sure that his companion Salai, then twenty-four, was dressed with similar brio, usually also in pink and rose. In one entry Leonardo noted, “On this day I paid Salai three gold ducats which he said he wanted for a pair of rose-colored hose with their trimming.” The trimmings on the stocking must have been jewels.

His heart and his home were once again in Milan. MILAN’S DELIGHTFUL DIVERSIONS To understand Leonardo, it is necessary to understand why he moved away from Florence, this time for good. One reason is simple: he liked Milan better. It had no Michelangelo, no cadre of half-brothers suing him, no ghost of his father hovering. It had royalty rather than republicans, with jubilant pageants rather than the after-stench of bonfires of the vanities. It had doting patrons rather than oversight committees. And the foremost patron there was the one who loved Leonardo the most, Charles d’Amboise, the French royal governor who had written a flowery letter reminding the Florentines how brilliant their native son was. But there was more to Leonardo’s move than merely a preference for life in Milan. The first time he went there, he did so to recast himself as an engineer, scientist, and inventor.


pages: 807 words: 154,435

Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future by Mervyn King, John Kay

"Robert Solow", Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, popular electronics, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Chicago School, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Animals groom each other, but, as Smith went on to observe, ‘Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.’ 13 The ability to calculate and render precise accounts, which is a creation of modern commercial life, enables lengthy chains of transactions between parties far apart. But few transactions in a modern economy are anonymous. We buy trusted brands and rely on recommendations from friends or reviews on websites. Our supermarket, as well as our doctor, tries to build a relationship with us. Even in the most monstrous excesses of modern capitalism, social ties and reciprocity are important. In Tom Wolfe’s defining novel of 1980s New York, The Bonfire of the Vanities , a chapter is entitled ‘The Favor Bank’ and Tom Killian, attorney for the bond-trading anti-hero, assures him, ‘Everybody does favors for everybody else. Every chance they get, they make deposits in the Favor Bank.’ 14 The egregious email correspondence between the traders involved in fixing LIBOR and other London securities markets is replete with comments such as ‘I owe you’. 15 Even as they engaged in fraud, the participants engaged with each other through what an anthropologist would recognise as gift exchange.

., ‘Embers of Society: Firelight Talk Among the Ju/’hoansi Bushmen’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , Vol. 111, No. 39 (2014), 14027–35 Wilde, O., The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) Williamson, O. E., Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications (New York: Free Press, 1975) Wilson, E. O., Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (London: Vintage, 1999) Wolfe, T., The Bonfire of the Vanities (London: Cape, 1988) Wood, D. (director), ‘The Missing Page’ in Hancock’s Half Hour: Volume I , BBC (1960) World Bank, ‘How are the Income Group Thresholds Determined?’ < https://datahelpdesk.worldbank.org/knowledgebase/articles/378833-how-are-the-income-group-thresholds-determined > (accessed 11 Jan 2019) World Bank, ‘Poverty Headcount Ratio at $1.90 a Day (2011 PPP) (% of Population)’ (2019) World Health Organization, WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (2009) Wrangham, R., The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution (New York: Pantheon, 2019) Zabell, S.

question: and aeronautics, 354 , 355 ; central bank decision-making, 286 ; centrality of, 10 ; Churchill during Second World War, 26 ; as diagnostic process, 184–5 , 186 , 194–5 ; effective use of narrative, 218 , 225 ; experts claiming knowledge they don’t have, 46 ; failure to ask, 10 , 180 , 296 , 300 , 314 , 359 , 405 , 407 , 411 ; and financial theory, 320 , 334 , 335 , 336 , 348 , 367 , 393 ; and good decisions, 119 ; ‘hedgehog’ and the ‘fox’, 222 ; and HIV infections, 375–6 ; incremental changes to narratives, 285 ; and legal reasoning, 204 ; and NASA, 374 ; need for narrative, 315 ; no standardised spreadsheet answer to, 405 ; oil block auctions in USA, 256 ; and pragmatic approach, 209–10 ; predilection for apocalyptic narratives, 361–2 ; public role of the social scientist, 397 ; pursuit of practical knowledge, 383–4 , 385–6 , 388 ; puzzle–mystery distinction, 21 ; Ranke’s view of history, 188 ; in Rumelt’s classes, 10 , 178–9 , 180 , 184 ; Sloan at General Motors, 287 ; and ‘thick description’, 192–5 Whately, Archbishop, 165 wheel, invention of, 39 Whitelaw, William, 412 Wiessner, Polly, 216 Wilde, Oscar, 127 , 167 Wilson, E. O., 158 Wolfe, Tom, The Bonfire of the Vanities , 192 , 229 Woodford, Michael, 117 , 118 , 120 word frequencies, 236–7 World Bank, 99 , 390 World Health Organization (WHO), 375–6 Wozniak, Steve, 29 Wrangham, Richard, 161–2 Wright brothers, 275 Xerox Parc, 28 , 29 , 31 Yap (in Caroline Islands), 96 Yom Kippur war, 223 YouGov, 242 Yucatán asteroid, 32 , 42 , 70 , 72 , 86 , 238 , 402 Zimbabwe, 426 , 428 Zipf, George, 236–7


pages: 309 words: 91,581

The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah

assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, call centre, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, feminist movement, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, industrial robot, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, lump of labour, manufacturing employment, moral hazard, oil shock, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, positional goods, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, refrigerator car, rent control, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, upwardly mobile, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War

But according to the Central Intelligence Agency (whose patriotism I hesitate to question), income distribution in the United States is now more unequal than in Uruguay, Nicaragua, Guyana, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Argentina.35 Income inequality is actually declining in Latin America even as it continues to increase in the United States.36 Economically speaking, the richest nation on Earth is starting to resemble a banana republic. The main difference is that the United States is big enough to maintain geographic distance between the villa-dweller and the beggar. As Ralston Thorpe tells his St. Paul’s classmate, the investment banker Sherman McCoy, in Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities: “You’ve got to insulate, insulate, insulate.” Why do Americans tolerate this troubling state of affairs? The biggest likely reason is our enduring belief in upward mobility. Economic inequality is less troubling if you live in a country where any child, no matter how humble his or her origins, can grow up to be president. This idea lies at the heart of the notion of American exceptionalism.

Michael J. Thompson, The Politics of Inequality: A Political History of the Idea of Economic Inequality in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). Jeffrey G. Williamson, Inequality, Poverty, and History (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1991). Jeffrey G. Williamson and Peter H. Lindert, American Inequality: A Macroeconomic History (New York: Academic Press, 1980). Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (New York: Farrar Straus, 1987). 1. Three years before Willford I. King’s book appeared, Frank Hatch Streightoff, an instructor in economics at DePauw, published a book called The Distribution of Incomes in the United States (New York: Columbia University, 1912). But on page 155, Streightoff threw in the towel. “Knowledge of the distribution of incomes is vital to sane legislative direction of progress,” he wrote.


pages: 323 words: 95,188

The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Michael Meyer

Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, call centre, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, haute couture, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, union organizing

But on the issue of Solidarity, they say, ‘We can’t do this right now.’ From our perspective, this is the number one priority. Because it goes to the heart of democracy and the nation’s social and economic troubles.” Failure to reach what Geremek called a new “social contract” could lead to more than a war within the party. It could easily touch off a social “explosion.” The novelist Tom Wolfe, in his 1980s bestseller Bonfire of the Vanities, anointed one Reverend Bacon as the man who controlled “the steam” in New York, twisting a social safety valve to release pent-up pressure when racial relations approached the bursting point, or notching them up when he wanted to make a political point. In Poland in early 1989, that role fell to General Jaruzelski. As the talks between Solidarity and the government dragged on inconclusively, he would break the impasse.

See also Iron Curtain Berlin Wall, The (Taylor), 223 Bernstein, Leonard, 204 Beschloss, Michael R., 222 Beyond the Wall (Pond), 227, 234 Bill of Rights, U.S., 30 Bismarck Strasse (Berlin), 15 Black Friday (Czech). See Velvet Revolution (Prague; 1989) Bloc That Failed, The (Gati), 39, 224 BMW, 72, 161, 228–229 Bogomolov, Oleg, 63 Bölling, Klaus, 121 Bolshevik Revolution (1917), 65–66, 85 Bond, James, 21 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 53 border guards at the Berlin Wall, 3, 5–10, 15–17, 27, 97–105 fall of Berlin Wall and, 5–10, 97–104, 168–170 Boyd, Gerald M., 222 Brain race, 21 Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, 3, 15, 170, 204 Brazil, 217 Breslau, Karen, 167 Bretton Woods Agreement, 21 Brezhnev, Leonid, 39, 45, 71, 91, 225–226 Brezhnev Doctrine, 39, 45, 63, 91, 227 Brian Lapping Associates, 228 Brokaw, Tom, 9, 183 Brookings Institution, Nuclear Audit, 22–23, 223–224 Bucharest, 105–111 Ceaucescu’s home, 198–200 Ceaucescu’s palace, 107, 198–199 fall of communism and, 193–201 Warsaw Pact summit (1989), 91–95 See also Romania Buckley, William F., Jr., 223 Budapest fall of communism in Hungary, 28, 29–39, 41–42, 46, 61, 66–74, 125, 128, 137, 139–140, 143–145 People’s Picnic (1989), 66–67 reburial of Imre Nagy, 84–88 See also Hungary Bulgaria, fall of communism in, 190–191 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 227 Bush, George H.


pages: 354 words: 92,470

Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History by Stephen D. King

9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bilateral investment treaty, bitcoin, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, imperial preference, income inequality, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, old age dependency ratio, paradox of thrift, Peace of Westphalia, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, reshoring, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, Skype, South China Sea, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, trade liberalization, trade route, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

We now know that underlying economic performance – as measured by productivity growth – was already slowing rapidly. And an important part of Minsky’s argument is that behaviour by central bankers can encourage irrational behaviour by others. See M. King, The End of Alchemy: Money, banking and the future of the global economy, Little, Brown, London, 2016. 13.Sherman McCoy, the protagonist in Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, is a Wall Street trader whose life goes horribly wrong just when it seemed to be going so well: he was a self-styled Master of the Universe. 14.For a discussion of the effects of dysfunctional belief systems, see R. Hausmann, ‘Through the Venezuelan looking glass’, Project Syndicate, August 2016, available at: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/venezuela-destructive-belief-systems-by-ricardo-hausmann-2016-08 15.The classic article on asymmetric information is George Akerlof, ‘The market for lemons: Quality, uncertainty and the market mechanism’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84:3 (1970), pp. 488–500. 16.See, for example, E.

Bloody Foreigners: The story of immigration to Britain, Little, Brown, London, 2004 Wolf, M. Why Globalization Works, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004 Wolf, M. Fixing Global Finance: How to curb financial crises in the 21st century, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2009 Wolf, M. The Shifts and the Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis, Penguin, London, 2015 Wolf, T. Bonfire of the Vanities, Random House, New York, 1987 Wolff, E.N. Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1961–2013: What happened over the Great Recession?, National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 20733, Cambridge, MA, December 2014 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In a parallel universe, I might have been tempted to thank Donald Trump and Nigel Farage. The ideas for Grave New World originally crystallized in 2015, long before the extraordinary political upheavals of 2016.


pages: 314 words: 101,452

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate raider, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Home mortgage interest deduction, interest rate swap, Irwin Jacobs, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, mortgage tax deduction, nuclear winter, Ponzi scheme, The Predators' Ball, yield curve

And when they did, they moved very slowly, like a periscope. His mouth never seemed to alter in shape; rather it expanded and contracted proportionally when he spoke. And out of that mouth came a steady stream of bottom-line analysis and profanity. The Piranha, that day, began by devouring the government of France. The French government had issued a bond known as the Giscard (yes, the one described by Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe learned of the Giscard from a Salomon trader; in fact, to research his fictional bond salesman, Wolfe had come to 41 and sat spitting distance from the Human Piranha). The Piranha was troubled by the Giscard, so dubbed because it had been the brainchild of the government of Valery Giscard d'Estaing. The French had raised about a billion dollars in 1978 with the bond. That wasn't the problem.

But it didn't seem terribly out of the ordinary when I woke up one morning thinking that there was an arbitrage available in Japanese bond futures. That morning I looked into the Japanese market, saw that it was indeed the case, and wondered why I had dreamed of it, since I couldn't recall having ever spoken of the subject. Gobbledygook to you, perhaps. A second language to me. *One of Alexander's financial heroics found its distorted way to the center of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe describes his protagonist, Sherman McCoy, getting himself in trouble with the gold-backed French government bonds, the so-called Giscard bonds It was Alexander who had first discovered the Giscard was mispnced, and far from getting himself in trouble he made many millions of dollars exploiting the mispncing Many of the trades that Alexander suggested followed one of two patterns.


pages: 443 words: 98,113

The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does Not Pay by Guy Standing

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bilateral investment treaty, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, disruptive innovation, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, ending welfare as we know it, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Firefox, first-past-the-post, future of work, gig economy, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, information retrieval, intangible asset, invention of the steam engine, investor state dispute settlement, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mini-job, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Neil Kinnock, non-tariff barriers, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, openstreetmap, patent troll, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, quantitative easing, remote working, rent control, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Right to Buy, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, structural adjustment programs, TaskRabbit, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, Zipcar

It was soon evident that the effects of financial deregulation were nothing like the predictions of neo-liberal theory. Instead of channelling money from savers to productive investments, financiers indulged in a frenzy of speculative activity to make money from interest, commissions and capital gains. The result was an unstable bubble economy, as investor ‘herds’ moved en masse from place to place. The titans of finance became ‘masters of the universe’, in Tom Wolfe’s famous phrase in The Bonfire of the Vanities, his 1987 novel satirising Wall Street, as they mingled with heads of state and spent time in senior government posts before returning to make yet more money from speculation. The rise of finance was accompanied by more frequent and widespread financial crises, from the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s to the worldwide banking collapse of 2007–08 and subsequent global recession.

W. 1 Phillips curve 1 ‘pig cycle’ effects 1 Piketty, Thomas 1, 2 Pinochet, Augusto 1, 2, 3 platform debt 1 Plato 1 plutocracy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Polanyi, Karl 1 policing 1 political consultancy 1 Politico magazine 1 Ponzi schemes 1 Poor Law Amendment Act (1834) 1 POPS (privately owned public spaces) 1 Portfolio Recovery Associates 1 ‘postcapitalism’ 1 poverty traps 1, 2, 3 precariat and commons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and debt 1, 2 and democracy 1, 2 emergence of 1 growth of 1, 2 and rentier platforms 1, 2, 3 revolt of see revolt of precariat predatory creditors 1 ‘primitive rebel’ phase 1 Private Landlords Survey (2010) 1 privatisation and commons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and debt 1, 2 and democracy 1 and neo-liberalism 1 and rentier platforms 1 and revolt of precariat 1 and shaping of rentier capitalism 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 professionalism 1 ‘profit shifting’ 1 Property Law Act (1925) 1 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph 1 Public and Commercial Services Union 1 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 1, 2, 3. 4, 5, 6 QE (quantitative easing) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Quayle, Dan 1 QuickQuid 1 Reagan, Ronald 1, 2 reCAPTCHA security system 1 ‘recognition’ phase 1 ‘redistribution’ phase 1 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 1 rentier platforms and automation 1 and cloud labour 1 and commodification 1 and ‘concierge’ economy 1 ecological and safety costs 1 and occupational dismantling 1 and on-call employees 1 and precariat 1, 2, 3 and revolt of precariat 1, 2 and ‘sharing economy’ 1, 2, 3, 4 and underpaid labour 1 and venture capital 1 rentiers ascendency of 1, 2 and British Disease 1 classical images of 1 and commons see commons and debt 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and democracy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 digital/tasking platforms see rentier platforms ‘euthanasia’ of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 lies of rentier capitalism 1, 2, 3 revolt of precariat see revolt of precariat shaping of see shaping of rentier capitalism subsidies for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ‘representation’ phase 1 ‘repression effect’ 1 Research of Gartner 1 revolt of precariat and basic income systems 1 and commons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ‘euthanasia’ of rentiers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 inequality of rentier capitalism 1, 2, 3 and intellectual property 1, 2, 3 and neo-liberalism 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 organisational forms 1 potential growth of movement 1 progressive political reengagement 1, 2 and rentier platforms 1, 2 rights as demands 1 sovereign wealth funds 1 wage and labour regulation 1, 2 ‘right to buy’ schemes 1, 2, 3, 4 Robbins, Lionel 1 Rockefeller, David 1 Rockefeller, John D. 1 Rolling Stone 1 Romney, Mitt 1 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1 Ross, Andrew 1 Ross, Michael 1 Rothermere, Viscount 1, 2 Royal Bank of Scotland 1, 2 Royal Mail 1 Royal Parks 1 Rubin, Robert 1, 2 Rudd, Amber 1 Ruralec 1 Ryan, Conor 1 Sainsbury, Lord 1 Samsung 1, 2, 3 Sanders, Bernie 1, 2, 3 Sassen, Saskia 1 school–business partnerships 1 Schröder, Gerhard 1 Schwab Holdings 1 Schwarz, Dieter 1 Scottish Water 1 Second Gilded Age 1, 2, 3 Securitas 1 securitisation 1, 2, 3 selective tax rates 1 Selma 1 shaping of rentier capitalism branding 1 Bretton Woods system 1, 2, 3 and copyright 1 and ‘crony capitalism’ 1, 2, 3 dispute settlement systems 1, 2, 3 global architecture of rentier capitalism 1 lies of rentier capitalism 1 and neo-liberalism 1, 2 patents 1 and privatisation 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and ‘shock therapy’ 1, 2 trade and investment treaties 1 ‘sharing economy’ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Shelter 1 ‘shock therapy’ 1, 2, 3, 4 Shore Capital 1 Sierakowski, Slawomir 1, 2, 3, 4 silicon revolution 1 Simon, Herbert 1 Sirius Minerals 1 Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship 1 Sky UK 1, 2 SLABS (student loan asset-backed securities) 1, 2 Slim, Carlos 1, 2 Smith, Adam 1 Snow, John 1 Social Care Act (2012) 1 social commons 1, 2, 3 social dividend systems 1, 2 social housing 1 ‘social income’ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 social strike 1 SoFi (Social Finance) 1 Solidarność (Solidarity) movement 1 South West Water 1 sovereign wealth funds 1 spatial commons 1, 2 Speenhamland system 1, 2, 3 Spielberg, Steven 1 Springer 1 ‘squeezed state’ 1 Statute of Anne (1710) 1 Statute of Monopolies (1624) 1 StepChange 1 Stevens, Simon 1 ‘strategic’ debt 1 strike action/demonstrations 1, 2, 3 student debt 1, 2 subsidies 1 and austerity 1, 2 and bank ‘bailouts’ 1 and charities 1 and ‘competitiveness’ 1 direct subsidies 1 and moral hazards 1 and ‘non-dom’ status 1 and quantitative easing 1, 2 for rentiers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 selective tax rates 1 and sovereign wealth funds 1 subsidised landlordism 1 tax avoidance and evasion 1 tax breaks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 tax credits 1 Summers, Larry 1, 2 Sun, The 1, 2 Sunday Telegraph 1 Sunday Times 1 Sutton Trust 1 ‘sweetheart deals’ 1 tasking platforms see rentier platforms TaskRabbit 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Tatler magazine 1 tax avoidance/evasion 1 tax breaks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 tax credits 1, 2, 3 Tax Justice Network 1 Tax Research UK 1 Taylor & Francis 1 Tennessee Valley Authority 1 ‘tertiary time’ regime 1 Tesco 1 Texas Permanent School Fund 1 Textor, Mark 1 Thames Water 1 Thatcher, Margaret 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 The Bonfire of the Vanities 1 The Constitution of Liberty 1 The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money 1 The Innovator’s Dilemma 1 think tanks 1 ‘thinner’ democracy 1 ‘Third-Way’ thinking 1, 2, 3 Times, The 1 TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) 1 Tottenham Court Road underground station 1 TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) 1, 2, 3 Trades Union Congress 1, 2 ‘tragedy of the commons’ 1 ‘tranching’ of loans 1 Treaty of Detroit (1950) 1, 2 Treuhand 1 TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) 1, 2, 3, 4 trolling (of patents) 1 Trump, Donald 1, 2 TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) 1, 2, 3, 4 Turnbull, Malcolm 1 Turner, Adair 1 Twain, Mark 1 Uber 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ‘ultra-loose’ monetary policy 1 underpaid labour 1 UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) 1 UNHCR (UN refugee agency) 1 Unison 1 Unite 1 UnitedHealth Group 1 universal credit scheme 1 universal justice 1 UpCounsel 1 Upwork 1, 2 Uruguay Round 1, 2, 3 USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) 1 Vattenfall 1 Veblen, Thorstein 1 venture capital 1 Veolia 1 Vero Group 1 Victoria, Queen 1 Villeroy de Galhau, François 1 Vlieghe, Gertjan 1 Warner Chappell Music 1 Watt, James 1 welfare abuse/fraud 1 Wilde, Oscar 1 Wilson, Fergus 1 Wilson, Judith 1 WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Wolf, Martin 1, 2 Wolfe, Tom 1 Wonga 1, 2 Work Capability Assessment 1 Work Programme 1 World Bank 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 World Economic Forum 1 world heritage sites 1 Wriglesworth Consultancy 1 WTO (World Trade Organization) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Y Combinator 1 Yanukovych, Viktor 1 Yukos 1 de Zayas, Alfred-Maurice 1 van Zeeland, Marcel 1 Zell, Sam 1 zero-hours contracts 1, 2, 3 Zipcar 1 Copyright First published in Great Britain in 2016 by Biteback Publishing Ltd Westminster Tower 3 Albert Embankment London SE1 7SP Copyright © Guy Standing 2016 Guy Standing has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.


pages: 391 words: 102,301

Zero-Sum Future: American Power in an Age of Anxiety by Gideon Rachman

Asian financial crisis, bank run, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, centre right, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global reserve currency, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, open borders, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, pension reform, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, price stability, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sinatra Doctrine, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, Thomas Malthus, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, zero-sum game

By 2006, the richest 1 percent gobbled up 23 percent of national wealth.16 In the United States and the United Kingdom, the success of the free-market reforms of the 1980s was closely associated with a boom in the financial services industry, which was swiftly reflected in house prices and popular culture. In the States, the boom was captured in the film Wall Street, with its catchphrase “greed is good,” and in Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which stood at 950 on the day Reagan took office, reached a peak of over 2,700 in August 1987—before the stock-market crash of October of that year.17 Some of Reagan’s critics on the left never accepted that his economic policies had succeeded. They saw them as a cruel sleight of hand, fueled by unsustainable tax cuts and deficit spending and hopelessly tilted towards the wealthy.

INDEX Abalkin, Leonid, 56–57 Adelman, Kenneth, 167 Afghanistan, 55, 174, 199, 208–12, 244, 251–56, 258 as failed state, 10, 132, 181 U.S. war in, 96, 165, 167, 169, 174, 181, 185, 209–10, 212, 230, 233, 239, 240, 249, 252–53, 254, 268, 272, 273, 314n Africa, 7, 96, 195, 228, 235, 247, 274, 283, 289 global problems and, 205–8 African National Congress, 36, 69 African Union force, 210 Aganbegyan, Abel, 56–57 Age of Anxiety, 11, 171–292 Age of Optimism, 6, 11, 85, 91–170, 173–75, 183, 188, 191, 194, 195, 208, 231, 246–49, 259–62, 271, 272, 277, 280, 281, 286 antiglobalization movement and, 96, 153, 155–62 democracy and, 99–105 the East and, 135–43 Europe and, 145–53, 290 new world order in, 87, 93, 95–96, 230 peace and, 103, 118, 126–34, 140, 304n power and, 93, 96, 118, 162–70 progress and, 118–26 prosperity and, 107–18, 133, 134, 140, 173, 194 Age of Transformation, 11, 13–90 agriculture, 56, 125, 195, 206, 290 in China, 23, 25, 294n Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud, 197, 227, 242, 244, 248 Ahmed, Kamal, 313n AIG, 201 air-traffic controllers, 39 Albright, Madeleine, 166 Aliber, Robert, 265 Allende, Salvador, 74 al-Qaeda, 10, 96, 156–57, 161–62, 210, 252, 256 American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 39, 163–64, 167–68 Angola, 43, 131, 205, 247 Annan, Kofi, 132 antiglobalization movement, 96, 153, 155–62 antitrust cases, 120 apartheid, 69, 70 Apple, 120, 261 Aquino, Corazon, 43 Arab world, 269 Argentina, 77, 78, 188 democracy in, 17, 71, 72 Falklands War and, 34, 73, 76 military regime in, 73, 75, 76 Arizona, 211, 260 Asia, 24, 66, 94, 110, 111, 114, 117, 134–43, 157, 184, 195, 200, 205, 217, 245, 256, 274, 279 democracy in, 18, 85, 94, 283 economic crisis in (1997–98), 6, 107–8, 141–43, 159, 218, 269 rise of, 4, 6, 8, 9, 46, 59–60, 73, 80, 95, 137–40, 143, 146, 173, 262 see also East Asia; specific places Asian values, 138 Aslund, Anders, 221 Audacity of Hope, The (Obama), 170 Austria, 68, 269 authoritarianism, 9, 75–76, 124, 138, 140, 174, 175–76, 233–49, 257, 283, 284 global government and, 220, 221, 223, 231 Axis of Hugo, 241–42, 249 Baghdad, 124, 125, 148, 253–54 bailouts, 113, 142, 188–89, 195 Balkan wars, 125, 130–33, 145, 146 Balls, Ed, 3 Baltic states, 58–59, 235 Bangalore, 84–85, 141 banks, 142, 159, 191–92, 200 see also investment banks BBC, 108, 279 Beijing, 15, 25, 27, 65, 137, 190, 202–3, 206, 234–38, 240, 261, 268, 305n Tiananmen Square massacre in, see China, Tiananmen Square massacre in Belarus, 59 Belgrade, U.S. bombing of Chinese embassy in, 268 Berlin, East, 65 Berlin, West, 63 Berlin Wall, fall of, 11, 43, 63, 67, 68, 69, 73, 143, 146, 147, 149, 150, 152, 165, 180, 312n-13n Bernanke, Ben, 116–17 Bezos, Jeff, 120 Bhutto, Benazir, 211, 252 Blair, Tony, 43–44, 114–15, 118, 132, 201–2, 279–80 Bloom, Allan, 99, 100, 104 Boeing, 6, 155 Bolivia, 72, 78, 242 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 40 Boot, Max, 146, 167, 168 Bosnia, 131, 132, 133, 231 Branden, Nathaniel, 109 Brazil, 17, 71, 73, 75–78, 176, 244, 245, 246, 286 in BRICs, 76–77, 196 global government and, 217, 219, 226, 227 zero-sum future and, 262, 276 Bremmer, Ian, 193 Bretton Woods, 9 Brezhnev, Leonid, 54, 64 Brezhnev Doctrine, 64, 67 Brickell, Mark, 112–13 BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), 76–77, 196 Bright, John, 128 Brookings Institution, 139, 256 Brown, Gordon, 3, 114, 117 Brussels, 213, 215, 311n Buchanan, Pat, 42, 157–58, 260 Bulgaria, 145–48 Burma, 160, 227, 274, 275 Bush, George H.


pages: 851 words: 247,711

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise

A classic of this period, Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker (1989), reveals the world of Salomon Brothers. He had been a graduate student at the London School of Economics, despised the concentration at his native Prince-ton on two-dimensional economics, but, almost by chance, was wafted into a world in which his starting salary was twice that of his professor, and then made cruel mock of the whole greedy and stupid business of the bond market. Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities remains the outstanding novel of the decade and perhaps even the half -century. He too had made his observations on the trading floor of Salomon Brothers, once a rather staid and safe Wall Street house, turned into a sort of perambulatory worldwide casino. The money thereby let loose might well be directed towards assets held by the State - in most countries, many. Here, again, was one feature that made the Thatcher government stand out, abroad as well as at home - privatization.

Besides, as the economic tide went out, various grasping monsters were beached, as indeed had happened in 1930, and that again gave ‘the eighties’ a bad name. In 1934 the Stavisky scandal had almost destroyed republican, democratic France, since government ministers and parliamentary deputies had been found to be involved in an upended credit pyramid, the apex of which stood in the municipal pawn-shop of Bayonne; the Madoff running it was found dead in mysterious circumstances. Now, in New York, life imitated art, in this case Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: the makers of ‘junk bonds’ vanished into prison as recession pricked their bubbles. In London the empire of Robert Maxwell collapsed. He (repulsively: the baseball cap making it worse), larger than life, was a lie from the start. He was not, as he claimed, a Czech and therefore a gallant ally. He was born in an eastern part of Czechoslovakia which had been part of Hungary, and where the local (Hassidic) Jews all spoke Hungarian.

Ferdinand Mount, Mind the Gap (2004), is an immensely thoughtful exercise. Melanie Phillips, All Must Have Prizes (1996), is another on education. In general, Alan Sked, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Post-War Britain (1997), and Richard Vinen, Thatcher’s Britain (2009), can be strongly recommended. The fate of the eighties ‘revolution’ in the Atlantic world causes head-shaking. The poet of the era is Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), but there are precursors of great power, Radical Chic (1970), The Painted Word (1975), and From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), making mock. For England, Simon Jenkins, Accountable to None (1995), is a brilliant book. David Frum, Dead Right (1995), shows how developments in finance derailed affairs in the USA. By contrast, Lou Cannon, President Reagan (1991), accepts he was wrong about the deficits.


pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, Myron Scholes, new economy, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

If banks couldn’t borrow from one another for less than 20%, surely corporations and governments that were trying to issue bonds would need to pay even higher rates (since typically bonds are more risky than interbank loans). The so-called bond bores of the 1970s, traders who had chosen to work in the least exciting of the financial markets, now needed to cope with the most variable market of all. (Sherman McCoy, the star-crossed antihero of Tom Wolfe’s novel Bonfire of the Vanities, was an eighties-era bond trader who took himself to be so important, given the changes in the bond markets during the late seventies and early eighties, that he privately called himself a “Master of the Universe.” The name has stuck, now used to refer to Wall Street traders of all stripes.) The success of the Black-Scholes model and other derivatives models during the 1970s inspired some economists to ask whether bonds could be modeled in a similar way to options.

Barron’s, April 14. — — — . 2009. “The Hedge Fund 100: Acing a Stress Test.” Barron’s, May 11. Wilson, E. B. 1901. Vector Analysis. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. — — — . 1912. Advanced Calculus. Boston: Ginn and Company. — — — . 1931. “Reminiscences of Gibbs by a Student and Colleague.” Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 37 (6). Wolfe, Tom. 1987. Bonfire of the Vanities. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Wood, John Cunningham, and Michael McClure. 1999. Vilfredo Pareto: Critical Assessments of Leading Economists. London: Routledge. Wu, Tai Tsun, and Chen Ning Yang. 1975. “Concept of Nonintegrable Phase Factors and Global Formulation of Gauge Fields.” Physical Review D 12 (12, December): 3845–57. Wyner, A. D., and Neil J. A. Sloane, eds. 1993.


pages: 430 words: 109,064

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown by Simon Johnson, James Kwak

American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Satyajit Das, sovereign wealth fund, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve

The idea that complex securities could help low- and middle-income families own homes was especially attractive to Democratic congressmen and officials who might ordinarily be distrustful of mortgage lenders and investment bankers, and helped seal off Wall Street’s new money machine from criticism. The economic and political elites could agree that innovation was good, and that homeownership was good. But the ideology of finance went beyond the idea that Wall Street was good for America. Banking was not only the center of the U.S. economy—it became cool, seductive, and even sexy. In 1987, Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities introduced the term “Master of the Universe” to American culture, in the form of multimillionaire investment banker Sherman McCoy, who lived in “the sort of apartment the mere thought of which ignites flames of greed and covetousness under people all over New York and, for that matter, all over the world.”72 Although the term was used sarcastically, and McCoy turns out badly in both the human and financial senses, the image of the swashbuckling, super-rich banker engaged in transactions too complex to be understood by ordinary mortals was born.

Household income data are from U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage, supra note 33, at Table A-1. 71. Alan Greenspan, “Consumer Finance” (lecture, Federal Reserve System’s Fourth Annual Community Affairs Research Conference, Washington, D.C., April 8, 2005), available at http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/speeches/2005/20050408/ default.htm. 72. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1987), 9. 73. Stanley Weiser, “Repeat After Me: Greed Is Not Good,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 2008, available at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/05/entertainment/ca-wallstreet5. 74. Michael Lewis, “The End,” Portfolio, December 2008, available at http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom. 75.


pages: 367 words: 108,689

Broke: How to Survive the Middle Class Crisis by David Boyle

anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, Desert Island Discs, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, housing crisis, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, mortgage debt, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, pension reform, pensions crisis, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, positional goods, precariat, quantitative easing, school choice, Slavoj Žižek, social intelligence, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, Walter Mischel, wealth creators, Winter of Discontent, working poor

Is this the fault of the middle classes for being exclusive, and for hugging to themselves some of the most important products that England creates for the world? Or is it something to do with the prevailing culture? 4 The third clue: the corrosive explosion of finance ‘On Wall Street he and a few others — how many? — three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? — had become precisely that … Masters of the Universe.’ Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, 1987 One of the peculiarities of the financial world over the past two decades or more, which has drawn even more of the middle classes into its grip, has been the recruitment of physicists and mathematicians into the exclusive world of trading and electronic markets — the growing belief that there were patterns to be recognized in the markets if only you could see them. One of the British pioneers of that idea has been Paul Woolley, a tall, donnish, slightly crumpled figure who became one of the leading experts in the world on applying mathematical principles to the financial markets.

One twenty-eight-year-old analyst on a salary of £35,000 was snapped up by an American bank on a salary of £130,000, but this was only the beginning. Basic salaries in the City doubled in two years. middle-class England tut-tutted, but failed to see the significance. Even Norman Tebbit, who had taken over the trade portfolio from Parkinson after his resignation, called pay levels ‘ridiculous and extremely embarrassing’.[18] This was the period when the novelist Tom Wolfe published his bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, where his hero Sherman McCoy — one of the ‘Masters of the Universe’ in Wall Street — was unable to explain to his son what he did for a living. The three-year run-up to Big Bang in London rid the City once and for all of its old aristocratic snobbery and deference. The new City was classless, even egalitarian, in its relentless pursuit of profit, but the extraordinary salaries were a sign that perhaps it might not stay classless — a small clue that a ferocious new class was emerging.


pages: 382 words: 105,166

The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations by Jacob Soll

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, delayed gratification, demand response, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, God and Mammon, High speed trading, Honoré de Balzac, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, new economy, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scientific racism, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trade route

., 85. 31. Ibid., 86. Chapter 2 1. Quotation from Iris Origo, The Merchant of Prato: Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City (London: Penguin Books, 1992), 66. 2. Ibid., 66, 259, 194. 3. Raymond de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank 1397–1494 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963), 2–3; Ludovica Sebregondi and Tim Parks, eds., Money and Beauty: Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities (Florence: Giunti Editore, 2011), 121. 4. Origo, The Merchant of Prato, 194; De Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank 1397–1494, 38, 194. 5. Origo, The Merchant of Prato, 259, 276; Tim Parks, Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 32–33. 6. Pierre Jouanique, “Three Medieval Merchants: Francesco di Marco Datini, Jacques Coeur, and Benedetto Cotrugli,” Accounting, Business and Financial History 6, no. 3 (1996): 263–264. 7.

Edited by Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954. Seaward, Paul. “Parliament and the Idea of Political Accountability in Early Modern Britain.” In Realities of Representation: State Building in Early Modern Europe and European America, edited by Maija Jansson, 45–62. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Sebregondi, Ludovica, and Tim Parks, eds. Money and Beauty: Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities. Florence: Giunti Editore, 2011. Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal. Lettres de Mme de Sévigné. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1846. Shovlin, John. The Political Economy of Virtue: Luxury, Patriotism, and the Origins of the French Revolution. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006. Skinner, Quentin. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Jones Act, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, NetJets, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Satyajit Das, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Serve in opaque tumbler of awed, ill informed media coverage.1 Hedge fund managers: “considered [themselves] part of the new era and the new breed, a Wall Street egalitarian, a Master of the Universe, who was only a respecter of performance.”2 The original Masters of the Universe were HeMan and his Friends in the 1980s popular children’s cartoon. Tom Wolfe used the term to satirize his bond trader protagonist in Bonfire of the Vanities. In 2009, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, unconsciously borrowed from Wolfe to justify bumper profits: “performance is the ultimate narrative.”3 By the new millennium, Wolfe admitted that hedge fund managers had superseded bankers as the new Masters of the Universe. Keeping Up with the Joneses Hedge funds came to prominence when Soros broke the Bank of England and the pound sterling on Black Wednesday, September 16, 1992.

David McNally “From financial crisis to world slump: accumulation, financialization, and the global slowdown” (15 December 2008), expanded version of a paper presented to the plenary session (“The global financial crisis: causes and consequences”), 2008 Historical Materialism Conference, University of London (http://marxandthefinancialcrisisof2008.blogspot.com/2008/12/david-mcnally-from-financial-crisis-to.html). 40. Alan Greenspan, Testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (23 October 2008). Chapter 15—Woodstock for Hedge Funds 1. Martin Baker (1995) A Fool and His Money, Orion Books, London: 157, 158. 2. Tom Wolfe (1988) The Bonfire of the Vanities, Picador, London: 64. 3. Tony Tassell “The Goldman Sachs narrative” (8 February 2010) Financial Times. 4. Quoted in Robert Slater (2009) Soros: The World’s Most Influential Investor, McGraw Hill, New Jersey: 178. 5. Philip Delves Broughton (2009) Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School, Penguin Books, New York: 99. 6. Ron Chernow (1990) The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance, Touchstone Books, New York: 43. 7.

See also Warren Buffet Berle, Adolf, 54 Berlin Wall, fall of, 101, 295 Bernanke, Ben, 170, 182, 203, 303, 338, 366 debt, 267 Great Moderation, 277 on 60 Minutes, 343 September, 2008, 342 Bernstein, Peter, 26, 129, 208 Besley, Tim, 278 Best, George, 88 beta (market returns), 241 Beveridge Report, 47 Beveridge, Sir William, 47 Beyond Belief, 338 Bhagavad Gita, 339 Bhide, Amar, 312 BHP Billiton, 59 bias, 243 Bieber, Matthew, 198 Bierce, Ambrose, 326 Big Short, The, 198 Biggs, Barton, 99 Bild, 358 Billboard Top 100 Chart, 124 Billings, Josh, 233 billionaire drivel, 327 bills of exchange, 32 bimetallism, 26 bio-fuels, 334 Bird, John, 91, 320 Black Swan, The, 95, 126 Black Wednesday, 240 Black, Fischer, 121, 127 black-box trading, 242 Black-Scholes models, 120-122, 277 Black-Scholes-Merton (BSM) option, 121 Blackrock, 170 Blackstone, 167, 325 Blackstone Group, The, 154, 318 Blair, Tony, 81 Blankfein, Lloyd, 239, 364 Blinder, Alan, 129 Blomkvist, Mikhael, 360 Bloomberg TV, 92 Bloomberg, Michael, 164 Bloomsbury group, 29 Blue Force, 264 Blumberg, Alex, 185 Boao Forum, 324 boards of directors, knowledge of business operations, 292-293 BOAT (Best of All Time), 228 Boesky, Ivan, 147, 244 Bogle, Jack, 123 Bohr, Niels, 101, 257 Boiler Room, 185 Bonanza, 31 Bond, James, 26 Bonderman, David, 154, 164, 318 bonds, 169 adjustable rate, 213 failure of securitization, 204-205 high opportunity, 143 insurance, 176 junk, 143, 145-146 Milken’s mobsters, 146-147 municipal, 211-214 PAC (planned amortization class), 178 ratings, 143, 282-285 securitization, 173 TAC (target amortization class), 178 TOBs (tender option bonds), 222 U.S. Treasury, 87, 174 VADM (very accurately defined maturity), 178 Bonfire of the Vanities, 239 bonuses, 317-318 books, financial, 96-98 boom and bust cycles, 305 Booth School of Business, 116 Borges, Jorge Luis, 210 Born, Brooksley, 300 borrowing levels, increase in, 265, 267-268 Boston Post, 34 Bottomley, Horatio, 89 Bourdieu, Pierre, 308 Bouton, Daniel, 227 Bowers, David, 357 Bowie Bonds, 168 Bowie, David, 157, 168, 186 Bowsher, Charles, 272 Boy, John, 330 BP (British Petroleum), Gulf of Mexico oil spill, 361 Braddock, Ben, 308 Brandenburg Gate, Ronald Reagan’s speech at, 101 Brazilian reals, 21 Breeden, Richard, 292, 296 Bretton Woods, 29-30 BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), 90 bridges, 150, 158 Bridgewater, 327 Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, 186 British Aluminum (BA), 57 British pound sterling, 22 Brodsky, Joseph, 44 brokers money, 22 mortgages, 186 Brown, Gordon, 81, 342, 347 Brown, Ian Harold, 35 Bryan, William Jennings, 26, 324 bubbles, 277-278 economies, 39, 54 end of, 329 price, 299 Buckely, Christopher, 98 budget deficits, 1970s, 104 Buffett, Warren, 154, 202, 276, 325-326 bonuses, 319 compensation, 316 derivatives, 211, 225, 236 end of bubble, 329 Financial Times, 206 Gen Re Securities, 231 GE stock, 344 hedge funds, 261 ownership percentage of Moody’s, 283 purchase of, 322 bugs, gold, 28 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 34 bullion, gold.


pages: 733 words: 179,391

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W. Lo

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, Arthur Eddington, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Diane Coyle, diversification, diversified portfolio, double helix, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Ernest Rutherford, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, framing effect, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, housing crisis, incomplete markets, index fund, interest rate derivative, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, martingale, merger arbitrage, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, old-boy network, out of africa, p-value, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, predatory finance, prediction markets, price discovery process, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sam Peltzman, Shai Danziger, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical arbitrage, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, Thales and the olive presses, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, US Airways Flight 1549, Walter Mischel, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

However, in a 2010 article with the unequivocal title “The Financial Meltdown Was Not an Accident,” Perrow flatly rejected this unwelcome application of his theory to the financial crisis.34 The reason he gave 322 • Chapter 9 was human behavior: “Although these structural characteristics were evident, I argue that the case does not fit the theory because the cause was not the system, but behavior by key agents who were aware of the great risks they were exposing their firms, clients, and society to. . . . Complexity and coupling only made deception easier and the consequences more extensive.” No doubt, Perrow has a point. There’s no shortage of bad behavior in the financial industry, and the excesses of the 1990s and 2000s only confirmed the Wall Street Master-of-theUniverse stereotype popularized by Tom Wolfe’s iconic The Bonfire of the Vanities.35 We’ll examine these bad behaviors in the next chapter. But isn’t the source of all accidents, normal and otherwise, human behavior? Through the lens of the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis, we can see why the world of finance produces tight coupling, because in a highly competitive financial environment, firms naturally adapt to produce greater gains in efficiency and profit. This new coupling creates new risk, but accidents happen because investors will necessarily use their old adaptations until they learn the new rules of the game.

“The Shuttle Inquiry; NASA’s Inquiry Begins: Status Is Not Disclosed.” New York Times, January 31. Wilson, Edward O. 1975. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. –––. 1994. Naturalist. Washington, DC: Island Press/Shearwater Books. –––. 1998. Consilience. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Winston, Patrick Henry. 2012. “The Right Way.” Advances in Cognitive Systems 1: 23–36. Wolfe, Tom. 1987. The Bonfire of the Vanities. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Wolford, George, Michael B. Miller, and Michael Gazzaniga. 2000. “The Left Hemisphere’s Role in Hypothesis Formation.” Journal of Neuroscience 20: RC64. Woodward. Susan. 2009. “The Subprime Crisis of 2008: A Brief Background and a Question.” ASSA Session on Recent Financial Crises, January 3. Woolverton, William L., and James K. Rowlett. 1998. “Choice Maintained by Cocaine or Food in Monkeys: Effects of Varying Probability of Reinforcement.”

., 46–47 Australopithecus, 153 autism, 110–111 Automated Proprietary Trading (APT), 236, 237, 240 automated teller machines (ATMs), 400 automobile safety, 205 aviation safety, 85, 321, 379–383 Avnaim-Pesso, Liora, 166, 167 Awakenings (Sacks), 88 Azar, Pablo, 372 Bachelier, Louis Jean-Baptiste Alphonse, 18–20, 21, 234 back testing, 285 Ball, Lucille, 395 Bamberger, Gerry, 235–236 Bankers Trust, 320, 344 Bank of America, 386–387 Bank of England, 366–367 bank runs, 176 Barings Bank, 61 Barnea, Amir, 161 Baron-Cohen, Simon 111 Barrett, Majel, 396 Bartra, Oscar, 100 BATS Global Markets, 360 Bear Stearns, 304, 305, 307, 308, 309, 316, 317 Bechara, Antoine, 106 behavioral economics, 3, 6–7, 51, 71, 92, 220 Behavioral Investment Allocation Strategy (BIAS), 90 behavioral risk, 388–394 Beinhocker, Eric, 218 bell curve (Gaussian distribution), 22, 273 Benner, Samuel, 29 Benner’s Prophecies of Future Ups and Downs in Prices, 29 Benyamine, David, 60 Bernanke, Ben, 300 Bernoulli, Daniel, 57 Berns, Gregory, 97, 98 Berra, Yogi, 415 beta (measure), 232, 249, 251, 252, 268–269, 282 Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Ralston), 118 Beutler, Ernest, 419 Bezear Homes, 325 Biham, Eli, 238 Billio, Monica, 376 binary choice model, 190–199, 201–202, 220, 362 biodiversity, 148–149 biofeedback, 93 biological determinism, 170–172 Biological Economics (Lo and Zhang), 218 biotechnology, 401–410 birthday problem, 67–68 Bismarck, Otto von, 417 Biston betularia (peppered moth), 138–140, 141 Bitcoin, 356 Black, Fischer, 27, 97, 260, 274, 276, 356–357 Black-Scholes/Merton option pricing formula, 10, 27, 97, 211, 260, 356–357 Blinder, Alan, 7, 310 block trading, 235 Bloomberg terminals, 360 Bocskocsky, Andrew, 69 Bogle, John C., 6, 263–264, 265, 397, 398 bonds, 259, 409; for biotechnology, 407; government, 242, 249–250, 292; index funds for, 265 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 322 Bonner, John, 371 bonobo, 162 bonuses, 303–305 Bossaerts, Peter, 101 bounded rationality, 36, 208, 215; Adaptive Markets Hypothesis likened to, 188; applications of, 185, 217; criticisms of, 181–182, 209, 213–214; informational limits acknowledged by, 34; optimization contrasted with, 180, 183 Boyle, Danny, 118 bracketology, 64–65 brain size, 152–53 brainstem, 81 Breiter, Hans, 88–89 Brennan, Tom, 182, 190, 196–197, 198, 203, 220, 362, 369 Brexit referendum, 377 Brodmann, Korbinian, 76 Index broker-dealers, 304–308, 311, 376 Bronze Age, 163 Brosnan, Sarah F., 337 Brownian motion, 19, 211 Buck v.


pages: 414 words: 119,116

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Michael Marmot

active measures, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Atul Gawande, Bonfire of the Vanities, Broken windows theory, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, centre right, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Doha Development Round, epigenetics, financial independence, future of work, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, illegal immigration, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, Kenneth Rogoff, Kibera, labour market flexibility, longitudinal study, lump of labour, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, New Urbanism, obamacare, paradox of thrift, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Spirit Level, trickle-down economics, twin studies, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working poor

The women themselves had to contribute $50, a great amount if you are living on $2 a day.44 The results are impressive: same streets, same modest houses, but spruced up, made pukka, and the required additions made. It feels cared for. I don’t know whether it would lead to less crime. It feels like it might, if there is anything to the broken windows theory.45 What is clear, though, is that women no longer have to stand in long queues to collect water, there is less water-borne disease, and as a result children lose fewer days of school. In Bonfire of the Vanities, the novelist Tom Wolfe talks of his obscenely rich banker achieving ‘isolation’ from the chaos of New York. He could have been living in New York, London or Frankfurt for all the contact he had with people who were not in his rarefied stratum. For people with less money and privilege, and particularly for families, community is where life happens, death too. Communities can be a place of social, physical and biological hazards, but the social and physical attributes of the places where people are born, grow, live, work and age can have a profoundly positive effect on the lives they are able to lead and hence on health equity.

A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff. Political Economy Research Institute – Working Paper Series. 2013; April(322). 32International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook October 2012: Coping with High Debt and Sluggish Growth. Washington DC: IMF, 2012. 33UCL Institute of Health Equity. Reducing the Number of Young People Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). Public Health England, 2014. 34Wolfe T. The Bonfire of the Vanities. London: Vintage Books, 1987. 7 DO NOT GO GENTLE 1Gawande A. Being Mortal. London: Profile Books, 2014. 2United Nations Population Fund, HelpAge International. Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge. New York: UNFPA, 2012, p. 33. 3Kinsella K, He W, U.S. Census Bureau. An Aging World: 2008. International Population Reports. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009. 4United Nations Population Division.


pages: 408 words: 114,719

The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, complexity theory, Eratosthenes, George Santayana, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton

Savonarola’s passionate, charismatic preaching had provoked large numbers of Florentines, the elite as well as the masses, into a short-lived but feverishly intense mood of repentance. Sodomy was prosecuted as a capital crime; bankers and merchant princes were attacked for their extravagant luxuries and their indifference to the poor; gambling was suppressed, along with dancing and singing and other forms of worldly pleasure. The most memorable event of Savonarola’s turbulent years was the famous “Bonfire of the Vanities,” when the friar’s ardent followers went through the streets collecting sinful objects—mirrors, cosmetics, seductive clothing, songbooks, musical instruments, playing cards and other gambling paraphernalia, sculptures and paintings of pagan subjects, the works of ancient poets—and threw them onto an enormous blazing pyre in the Piazza della Signoria. After a while, the city tired of its puritanical frenzy, and on May 23, 1498, Savonarola himself was hanged in chains, alongside two of his key associates, and burned to ashes on the spot where he had staged his cultural bonfire.

Aachen, 120 Aalen, 15 abbots, 29, 30, 31–32, 38, 42, 45–50, 106, 148, 163, 210 Abracadabra, 60–61 Abraham, 194 academies, 28, 59, 211 Accius, Lucius, 23–24 acediosus (apathetic), 25–26 Acheron, 52, 273n Adam, 105, 109 Adams, John, 263 adaptation, 189–90 Adimari, Alamano, 162 adultery, 98, 141, 143–44 Aeneid (Virgil), 52, 273n Aeschylus, 81, 280n Aesculapius, 180 afterlife, 6, 57, 75–76, 98, 99–100, 101, 150, 158, 159, 171, 183, 192–95, 220, 223, 230–32, 244, 260 Against the Hypocrites (Poggio), 147–49, 150 Agamemnon, 194 Agora, 276n agriculture, 38, 45, 66, 126, 191, 228, 275n, 279n–80n Albergati, Niccolò, 210 Alberti, Leon Battista, 9, 110, 127–28, 218 Albizzi family, 113, 301n Alcubierre, Rocque Joaquin de, 55 Alcuin, 121 Alexander of Ephesus, 85 Alexander the Great, 60 Alexander V, Pope, 159–60 Alexandria, 279n–80n, 282n Alexandrian Library, 86–94, 130–31, 275n, 279n–83n Alexandrian Museum, 93 Alfonso II, King of Naples, 153 algebra, 239 Allah, 282n–83n alphabetical order, 88 altars, 10, 89 Ammianus Marcellinus, 49, 89, 93 anatomy, 87, 99–100 Ancona, 125 angels, 10, 194–95 anger, 6, 75–76, 103, 105, 145–46, 150, 209, 285n Anglesey, Arthur Annesley, Earl of, 257–58, 260 animal sacrifices, 183, 298n annotations, 23, 88, 221, 248–49, 256, 306n Anthony, Saint, 68, 286n antipopes, 160, 205, 293n–94n see also John XXIII (Baldassare Cossa), Antipope antiquarianism, 123, 129, 208–9, 290n Antoninus Pius, Emperor of Rome, 273n Antony, Mark, 61, 281n apikoros (Epicurean), 101 Apis, 89 Apollo, 75, 99 Apologeticus (Tertullian), 284n “Apology for Raymond Sebond” (Montaigne), 246 apostles, 24, 217–18 apostolic secretary (secretarius domesticus), 141–42, 154, 155–58, 161, 170, 180, 181, 205–15, 221, 224, 269n Aquinas, Saint Thomas, 252–53 Arabs, 282n–83n Aragazzi, Bartolomeo de, 34–35, 44 Aramaic language, 97 archaeology, 54–59, 63–64 Archimedes, 87 architecture, 9, 110–11, 129, 151, 156 Aretino, Leonardo, 179 Arezzo, 34, 141 Ariosto, Ludovico, 9, 242 aristocracy, 14–20, 36, 44, 59–61, 93 Aristotelianism, 96, 252–53 Aristotle, 62, 69, 73, 83, 91, 96, 98, 252–53, 284n, 304n art, 9, 17, 39, 40, 59, 60, 70, 88, 104, 129 asceticism, 6, 37, 41, 94–97, 104–9, 195, 228, 244, 285n–86n Ass, The (Lucian), 217 Assayer, The (Galileo), 254–55 astronomy, 5–6, 8, 48, 87, 91, 92, 239 atheism, 183–84, 221, 239, 259, 261 Athens, 59, 75, 77, 78–79, 274n, 276n, 280n atomism, 5–6, 8, 46, 73–75, 82, 99, 101, 185–89, 198–201, 220–21, 237, 239, 242–43, 244, 249, 250–53, 254, 255–56, 258, 260, 261, 297n, 306n atonement, 105–6 Atticus, 85, 119 Attila, 11 Augustine, Saint, 43 Augustinians, 111 Augustus, Emperor of Rome, 48, 61, 275n Austria, 55, 163 Averroës, 117 Avignon, 293n Bacchus, 183 Bacon, Francis, 8, 243, 261 Baden, 173–76, 177 Baghdad, 38 Balbus, Quintus Lucilius, 69–70 banking, 21, 22, 113–14 Baptistry (Florence), 110 barbarians, 11, 24, 28, 49, 59, 94 Barbaro, Francesco, 180–81, 203, 268n Barberini, Maffeo, 254 Bari, 135 Bassus, Saleius, 23–24 Bay of Naples, 54–55 Beaufort, Henry (bishop of Winchester), 206–8 beauty, 1–2, 8–10, 11, 201–2, 228, 251, 260–61, 299n Benedict, Saint, 25–28, 97, 103 Benedict XIII, Antipope, 160, 205 Benedictine Rule, 25–28, 37, 272n Benedictines, 25–28, 37, 44, 107, 272n benefices, 147, 269n Bernardino, Saint, 128 Bethlehem, 95 Bibaculus, Marcus Furius, 23–24 Bible, 3, 24, 43, 46, 88, 89, 95–96, 97, 105, 166, 239, 250, 285n bibliomancy, 18–19 bibliomania, 19, 152–54, 131, 177 Bischhoff, Bernhard, 271n–72n bishops, 20, 36, 38, 135, 161, 162, 168–69, 210 Black Death, 113 Bobbio monastery, 271n–72n Boccaccio, Giovanni, 120, 124, 132–33, 144 Bohemia, 155, 166, 168 Boiardo, Matteo, 242 Bologna, 113, 143, 158, 159–60, 214, 226 Bologna, University of, 158 “Bonfire of the Vanities,” 219 Boniface, Saint, 44, 45–46 Boniface IX, Pope, 135, 158 book repairers, 84–85 books of hours, 17 bookworms, 30, 83–84, 93 Borgia, Cesare, 226 Botticelli, Sandro, 10, 202, 226, 242, 267n Bourbon dynasty, 55 Bracciolini, Filippo, 213 Bracciolini, Giovanni Battista, 213 Bracciolini, Giovanni Francesco, 213 Bracciolini, Guicco, 111–12, 113, 122, 141, 211 Bracciolini, Jacoba, 112 Bracciolini, Jacopo, 213 Bracciolini, Lucretia, 213 Bracciolini, Pietro Paolo, 213 Bracciolini, Poggio, see Poggio Bracciolini, Gian Francesco Bracciolini, Vaggia di Buondelmonti, 212–14, 301n Brancacci family, 126 Branda de Castiglione, 162 bribery, 139–40 Brunelleschi, Filippo, 110, 218 Bruni, Leonardo, 125–26, 133, 134, 159, 162, 172–73, 178, 205, 210, 216, 295n Bruno, Giordano, 10, 233–41, 242, 243, 250, 256 Brutus, 61 Bryaxis, 89 bubonic plague, 18 “Bugiale” (“Lie Factory”), 142, 210 Buondelmonti, Gino dei, 301n Buondelmonti, Vaggia di Gino, see Bracciolini, Vaggia di Buondelmonte Buondelmonti family, 113, 212, 301n bureaucrats, 85, 135–38, 157 burning at the stake, 172–73, 177–79, 240–41 Burton, Robert, 8 Byzantium, 126 Caesar, Julius, 61, 65, 79, 85, 89, 274n, 281n Caesarini, Giuliano, 210 Cairo, 38 calculus, 87 calfskin, 40 Caligula, Emperor of Rome, 48 calligraphy, 112–13, 115–16, 121, 130, 135, 155–56, 179 Calvin, John, 253 cameos, 129, 209 Campbell, James, 285n Campo dei Fiori, 240–41 candles, 41, 83, 158 canon law, 136–37, 158 Canterbury Tales (Chaucer), 278n capitalism, 114 Capponi family, 113 Capra, Bartolomeo della, 162–63 Caravaggio, 9 carbonized remains, 54–59, 63–64, 68, 77, 82 cardinals, 135, 161, 163, 165, 168, 169, 210, 293n Carmelites, 111 Caro, Rodrigo, 250 Carolingian minuscules, 115, 121 Carthage, 59, 85, 275n cartography, 239 Cassian, John, 26 Cassiodorus, 123 Castel St.


pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner

A. Roger Ekirch, Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Shoshana Zuboff, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

America’s most proficient cat burglar of the 1990s, Blane David Nordahl, routinely discarded his shoes (as well as clothing and tools) after his sneaker print on a countertop led to arrest and a three-year jail sentence. The FBI is able to identify 70 percent of the footwear impressions it receives, according to the former head of its footwear unit, William J. Bodziak.5 Sneakers are as suited for self-assertion as for flight. The bouncing and dragging “pimp walk” was a staple of black exploitation films of the 1960s and early 1970s, just before the sneaker explosion. In Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel Bonfire of the Vanities, youthful black defendants in the Bronx County Courthouse defy officialdom with the pimp walk’s successor, an insolent gait called the “pimp roll,” a “pumping swagger” that another writer, a London journalist, has described as “that swaying, strutting way you walk when your soles are bouncy and your ankles supported”—a gait less feasible in sandals than in running shoes. As usual in conflicts, the police have body techniques of their own.

Stanley, Ralph Vigod, and Joseph Cambardello, “Police Come to Admire the Area’s ‘Burglar to the Stars,’” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 22, 1998; William J. Bodziak, Footwear Impression Evidence (New York: Elsevier, 1990); Andrea Codrington, “Technology and Design Run Wild in the Soles of the Newest Sneakers,” New York Times, November 6, 1997. 6. John W. Fountain, “Noted with … Pride; Way Black When,” Washington Post, July 25, 1999; Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987), 110; William Leith, “Pump It Up,” The Independent (London), July 8, 1990. 7. Michelle Higgins, “The Ballet Shoe Gets a Makeover, but Few Yet See the Pointe,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 1998. 8. Wolfgang Decker, “Die Lauf-Stele des Königs Taharka,” Kölner Beiträge zur Sportwissenschaft, vol. 13 (1984), 7–37; E. Norman Gardiner, Athletics of the Ancient World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930), 128–33, fig. 87; E.


pages: 970 words: 302,110

A Man in Full: A Novel by Tom Wolfe

Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, global village, hiring and firing, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Socratic dialogue, South of Market, San Francisco, walking around money

—The Star-Ledger, Newark Also by Tom Wolfe The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flaffe Streamline Baby The Pump House Gang The Electric Kool-AidAcid Test Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flal( Catchers The Painted Word Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine The Right Stuff In Our Time From Bauhaus to Our House The Bonfire of the Vanities Hooding Up With immense admiration the author dedicates A Man in Full to PAUL McHUCH whose brilliance, comradeship, and unfading fondness saved the day. This book would not exist had it not been for you, dear friend. And the author wants to express a gratitude beyond measure to MACK AND MARY TAYLOR who opened his eyes to the wonders of Atlanta and the Georgia plantation country and gave him the run of their vast storehouse of knowledge and insights, all with a hospitality he will never forget. The author bows deeply to JANN WENNER the generous genius who walked this boo/( along until it found its feet, just as he did The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Ambush at Fort Bragg. KAILEY WONG whose eye for the telling details of contemporary American life is unsurpassed and whose help, once more, has been invaluable.

—San Francisco Chronicle "A Man in Full nails the sensibilities and frailties of today ... the quickest 742-pagc read you will ever find.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch "EVERYTHING YOU WANT A NOVEL TO BE. It has complex characters, a storyline that keeps you guessing, and the kind of writing that makes you want to take your TV out in the back yard and pulverize it with a sledgehammer." —The Orlando Sentinel "A Man in Full is bound to take the nation by storm.... If Wolfe's previous novel, 1987s The Bonfire of the Vanities, is ever knocked off its pedestal as America's finest work of contemporary fiction, A Man in Full will be what does it." —Naples Daily News, Naples, FL "His most deeply felt, most unabashedly literal’)' book, imbued with more compassion than satire... Timeless and resonant." —The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC "A big, complex interweaving of characters to love, to hate, to marvel at, to be appalled by, to recognize as peers in our humans-with-faults parade through life ...

She was really quite lovely, beautiful, in fact, aglow with happiness and champagne and the presence of so many males, all of whom no doubt found her just as gorgeous as he did. "You can't leave without saying goodbye!" she said. "Wouldn't think of it," said Roger, "and thanks for everything." "Don't forget where we are, now!" "Oh, don't worry," said the man of the world, "I'll be back." About the Author Tom Wolfe is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B.A. at Washington and Lee University and his Ph.D. in American studies at Yale. He lives in New York City. BY HRUNDI, IF YOU EVER PROOF THIS BOOK PLEASE LET ME KNOW; I’M ON THE EBOOKS CHANNEL Proofed by ansdell sept 09 ( I was scanning this book but you got there first) YOU CAN SEARCH THROUGH THE WHOLE BOOK ON BARNES AND NOBLE IF YOU’RE NOT SURE ABOUT A PARTICULAR WORD www.barnesandnoble.com <http://www.barnesandnoble.com> Table of Contents Table of Contents Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Table of Contents Table of Contents Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Table of Contents Table of Contents Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled


pages: 474 words: 136,787

The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley

affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Bonfire of the Vanities, demographic transition, double helix, Drosophila, feminist movement, invention of agriculture, Menlo Park, phenotype, rent control, theory of mind, twin studies, University of East Anglia, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In a good year for mice, a male can catch so many mice that he can simultaneously give two females the impression that he is a fine male; he can provide each with more mice than he could catch for one in a normal year.36 Nordic forests seem to be full of deceitful adulterers, for a similar habit by a deceptively innocent-looking little bird led to a long-running dispute in the scientific literature of the 1980s. Some male pied flycatchers, in the forests of Scandinavia, manage to be polygamous by holding two territories, each with a female in it, like the owls or like Sherman McCoy in Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, who keeps an expensive wife on Park Avenue and a beautiful mistress in a rent-controlled apartment across town. Two teams of researchers have studied the birds and come to different conclusions about what is going on. The Finns and Swedes say that the mistress is deceived into believing that the male is unmarried. The Norwegians say that, since the wife sometimes visits the mistress’s nest and may try to drive her away, the mistress can be under no illusions.

., 224 Bernstein, Harris, 41–4 Betzig, Laura, 120, 191–4, 232 Bilharzia, 72, 78 Birds concealed ovulation among, 223 mating systems of, 209, 213–16, 219 parasites of, 146–7 sex chromosomes in, 116–17 sexual selection in, 133–7, 138–9, 158 See also specific species Birds of paradise, 143–4 Birkhead, Tim, 214, 215, 219 Blind Watchmaker, The (Dawkins), 15 Bloom, Paul, 318, 321 Bodmer, Walter, 81 Bogart, Humphrey, 199 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 225 Bonobos, 208–9, 222 Borgia, Cesare, 273 Bosnia, 198 Botticelli, Sandro, 272, 280 Bounty (ship), 195 Bowerbirds, 143, 158 Boyce, Mark, 147 Brain critical period and, 276–7 of dolphins, 299–300 gender differences in, 239 hormones and, 246–50, 255–6 mechanisms of, 311–13 neoteny and, 316–18 progression in size of, 300–303 toolmaking and, 313–14 Brain Sex (Moir and Jessel), 247 Bremermann, Hans, 71–2, 73, 74 Brooks, Lisa, 28 Brown, Don, 198 Buddha, 21 Budding, 48 Burley, Nancy, 117, 160, 216, 223 Burt, Austin, 59–60, 68–9, 83 Buss, David, 259–60, 265, 290 Butler, Samuel, 127 Byrne, Richard, 324–5 Caesar, Julius, 193, 325 Caligula, 193, 273 Carotenoids, 151, 159 Carroll, Lewis, 2 Catherine of Aragon, 233 Catholic Church, 222 controversies with state, 232–3 Cattle breeding, 119 Chaffinches, 277–8 Chagnon, Napoleon, 196–7 Chemical defence, 68 Chimpanzees, 6–7, 206–9, 211–12 intelligence of, 325–6 power seeking among, 188 promiscuity of, 205 toolmaking by, 313 violence of, 196 China ancient, 191, 192, 199 female infanticide in, 117, 122 harem polygamy in, 186 marriage customs in, 275 Chlamydomonas, 97, 98 Chloroplasts, 96–7 Chomsky, Noam, 304, 311, 318 Chromosomes, 29, 42, 43, 90 crossovers on, 60 jumping genes and, 91–2 parasitic, 69 selfish, 92 sex, 95, 105–10, 116–18, 256, 271 swapping of chunks of, 94–5 Claudius, 193 Clutton-Brock, Tim, 112 Coalitions of males, 189–90 Coelacanth, 31, 60 Cognitive approach, 311 Cohen, Fred, 66–7 Coming of Age in Samoa (Mead), 308 Commons, tragedy of, 87, 122 Communication, 321–3 Competition, 62, 63, 89–90 diversity and, 57–8 female, 224 sexual selection and, 129, 132 within species, 33–4 testicular size and, 214 violence and, 195 Complexity, 15 Computer viruses, 66–7 Concealed ovulation, 222–4 Conditioning, 172, 244 Conflict, 17–19 Conjugation, 91, 98 Connectionism, 310 Connor, Richard, 189, 326 Contingent history, 17 Coolidge, Calvin, 290 Cooperation, 17–19 among genes, 88–90 individual selection and, 36 reciprocity as key to, 74 Corals, 55–6 Cortisol, 151, 247, 256 Cosmides, Leda, 96, 106, 267, 303, 311, 321, 323, 324, 329 Cott, Hugh, 131 Courtly love, 232 Courtship, 128, 129, 150, 163, 164 competition and, 132–3 Cousins, marriage between, 234 Critical period, 276–8 Cronin, Helena, 138 Crook, John, 321 Crossing over, 94–5, 122 Crow, James, 32, 48 Cytomegalovirus, 99 Dahomey, 168 Daly, Martin, 227–8 Dart, Raymond, 314 Darwin, Charles, 6, 8, 9, 14, 19, 27, 31–3, 36, 58, 61, 130–32, 134, 135, 138, 143, 158, 214, 241, 295, 301, 319 Darwin, Erasmus, 24, 232 Darwinian history, 235–6 Dawkins, Marian, 154, 156 Dawkins, Richard, 9, 15, 63, 65, 92, 118–19, 153, 323 Deep structure of language, 304 Deer, 180 Democracy, 199 Descartes, René, 306 Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (Darwin), 130 Despotism, 191–3, 199, 200, 203, 264 Determinism, 252–5 Diamond, Jared, 143, 208 Dickemann, Mildred, 121, 190 Dio, 193 Dionysus effect, 328 Diploidy, 43, 44, 93 Disease theory, 73–6 Dispersal, 54 Division of labour, sexual, 242, 243, 251, 253–4 Divorce, 264–5 DNA, 29, 40, 42, 43–4, 50 discovery of, 8–9 insertions of, 49 parasitic, 92 in sex chromosomes, 116 Dogs, 317 Dolphins, 189, 212, 299–300 Dominance beauty and, 295–6 biased sex ratios and, 112–15, 119–20 and cultural gender bias, 120–22 inheritance of, 230–31 personality and, 289–90 sexual selection and, 143–4 wealth and, 187–8 Dörner, Gunter, 256 Douglas firs, 77 Dunbar, Robin, 206 Durkheim, Emil, 307, 322, 339 Eals, Marion, 243 Ecology, 41, 43–4, 54–61, 62–3, 76–7 intelligence and, 319–20 mating systems and, 180–86 Education, gender differences and, 249 Egypt, ancient, 191 Eleanor of Aquitaine, 234 Eliot, George, 322 Ellis, Bruce, 260, 261, 263, 289, 296 Ellis, Havelock, 294 Elm trees, 56 Endler, John, 158 Environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA), 184–6 Ericsson, Roland, 116 ‘Essay on Man, An’ (Pope), 336 Eugenics, 295, 307 Evolution of Sex (Maynard Smith), 40 Exogamy, 113, 114, 182–3 Extinction 61 Extra-pair copulation (EPC), 214 Facial features, 282–8 Fallon, April, 293 Fantasies, sexual, 261–3 Fashion, status and, 291–4 Fat distribution, 154–6 Fei-ti, 192, 199 Felix Holt, the Radical (Eliot), 322 Felsenstein, Joe, 83 Feminism, 252–5 Finches, 160, 246–7 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, 250 Fisher, Helen, 264 Fisher, Ronald, 31, 32, 35, 119, 122, 134–5, 138–42, 143, 159, 281, 288, 330 Flaubert, Gustave, 216 Flax, 71 Flour beetles, 92 Flycatchers, 225 Foley, Robert, 182–4 Foragers, see Hunter-gatherers Ford, Henry, 320 Fossils, 60, 61 of human ancestors, 183, 301, 317 Fox, Robin, 307 Frank, Steve, 93 Free will, 4, 5, 7 Freud, Sigmund, 273–6, 308, 322, 339 Frogs, 156–7 Fruit flies, 93–4, 142, 173 Fungi, 68, 84 bacteria and, 68, 69 Fusion sex, 97–9 Galton, Francis, 287, 339 Game theory, 177, 180, 213 //Gana San people, 187 Gender(s), 13, 87–123 asymmetry between, 171–5 choosing, 122 cultural preference patterns for, 120–22 determination of, 95, 105–10 dominance and, 112–15, 119–20 hermaphroditism versus, 100–103 mentality and, 239–67 and organelles, 96–8, 100–103 parasites altering, 104–5 selling, 115–20 Generations, length of, 68–9 Genes, 8–9, 16, 31–3 altruism and, 36 asexual, 38 of bacteria, 68, 90–91 behaviour and, 306–7, 309 and competition within species, 34 cooperation between, 19, 88–95 crossing over of, 94–5 in defence against parasites, 64 definition of, 29 gender and, 88, 100 histocompatibility, 72–3 homosexuality and, 255–7, 271–2 hormones and, 246 jumping, 82, 91–2 kin selection and, 74 meiotic-drive, 94 mental differences and, 244 mixing of, 30, 53 mutations and, 44–50 neoteny, 330–32 in organelles, 96–8, 100–103 for ornamentation, 140 parliament of, 95, 123 polymorphism and, 69–71, 81 racial differences and, 12–13 repair of, 41–4, 49–50, 60, 83 resistance, 75, 81–2 selfish, 92–4 sex and, 12–13 sex-linked, 330 for sexual reproduction, 36–7 sexual selection and, 136, 137 and tangled bank theory, 59–60 Genetics, 40–41, 42, 44–50 Genome, 29 ‘Gentle Echo on Woman, A’ (Swift), 202 Germanic tribes, 195 Ghiselin, Michael, 36–7, 38, 57 Gibbons, 206, 207 Gibbon, Edward, 193 Gigerenzer, Gerd, 323–4 Goodall, Jane, 114, 188, 207, 325 Gonadotrophin, 118 Gordian, 193 Gorillas, 206, 208, 209, 211, 212 intelligence of, 320 Goshawks, 222 Gosling, Morris, 117 Gould, Stephen Jay, 38–9, 306, 309, 316, 317 Grackles, 160 Gradualism, 60 Grafen, Alan, 93–5 Grant, Valerie, 115, 118 Greece, ancient, 197 Group selection, 34–6, 69 Grouse, 136, 137, 139, 147, 181–2 Guilford, Tim, 154, 156 Guppies, 134, 158–9 Gynodioecious plants, 101 Haig, David, 93–5, 271–2 Haldane, J.


pages: 407 words: 136,138

The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler

always be closing, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, David Brooks, full employment, illegal immigration, late fees, low skilled workers, payday loans, profit motive, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, working poor

And I think this is an American problem … this advertising, you got to have this, you got to have the newest, the latest, the best, and so on—and that is, I think, an American problem.” Overspending is certainly not the exclusive province of the poor. Tom Wolfe, capturing the opposite side of Horatio Alger’s America, deftly caricatures the foibles of the affluent. “I’m already going broke on a million dollars a year!” the bond trader screams to himself in The Bonfire of the Vanities: The appalling figures came popping up into his brain. Last year his income had been $980,000. But he had to pay out $21,000 a month for the $1.8 million loan he had taken out to buy the apartment. What was $21,000 a month to someone making a million a year? That was the way he had thought of it at the time— and in fact, it was merely a crushing, grinding burden—that was all! It came to $252,000 a year….

Peter T Kilborn, New York Times, June 18,1999, p. Ai. 8. Tamar Lewin, New York Times, Feb. 13, 2001, p. A14. 9. Richard A. Oppel, Jr., New York Times, Mar. 26,1999, p. Ci. 10. Consumer Reports, January 2001, pp. 20–24. 11. Geraldine Fabrikant, New York Times, Dec. 3, 2000, Section 3, p. 17. 12. Vivienne Hodges and Stuart Margulies, Stanford çth Language Arts Coach Grade 4 (New York: Educational Design, 1998). 13. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities (New York: Bantam, 1987), pp. 142–43. Chapter Two: Work Doesn’t Work 1. Alan Weil and Kenneth Finegold, Welfare Reform: The Next Act (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 2002). Introduction at http://www.urban.org/pubs/welfare_reform/intro.html. 2. Robert Lerman, “Single Parents’ Earnings Monitor,” Urban Institute, Oct. 26, 2001, and Dec. 26, 2002, available at www.urban.org. 3.


pages: 311 words: 130,761

Framing Class: Media Representations of Wealth and Poverty in America by Diana Elizabeth Kendall

Bernie Madoff, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, David Brooks, declining real wages, Donald Trump, employer provided health coverage, ending welfare as we know it, fixed income, framing effect, Georg Cantor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, haute couture, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, telemarketer, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, working poor

During the economic crisis of the 2000s, in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Michael Douglas reprises his role as Gordon Gekko, who emerges twenty years later from prison and seeks to rebuild his career and repair his relationship with his daughter. She is engaged to a young, ambitious Wall Street trader with goals much like Gekko himself had when he became involved in chicanery resembling much of what has contributed to many of this country’s financial problems in the twenty-first century.94 Like the original Wall Street and other films such as the 1980s classic Bonfire of the Vanities, Wall Street 2 highlights price-tag framing: everything (and everybody) has a price, and the higher the price, the greater the zeal with which people will pursue wealth and power at any cost. 9781442202238.print.indb 48 2/10/11 10:46 AM Twenty-Four-Karat Gold Frames 49 Not only does price-tag framing tell media audiences how much the rich pay for their possessions, but it also may suggest that ordinary people can live like millionaires, even if on a reduced scale.

., 7 Berroa, Anna, 96–97 The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans and Their Families (Shulman), 158 Betty Crocker, 172 The Beverly Hillbillies, 142 Biagi, Shirley, 223 Biden, Joseph, 175 Biel, Jessica, 114 Blair, Henry William, 127 Blakely, Edward J., 207, 208 Blasi, Gary, 93 Bloom, Orlando, 76 Bloomberg, Michael R., 32, 33 Blue Collar TV, 146 Bobos in Paradise (Brooks), 165–66, 206 The Bold and the Beautiful, 57 Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), 48 Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (Schor), 217 Boston Globe, 60 Boston Med, 10 Bourdieu, Pierre, 34 BP oil spill, 16, 30, 137, 139, 216 9781442202238.print.indb 290 Bradley-Martins, charitable activities, 25 Branson, Richard, 62 Brathwaite, Kim, 95–96 Bravo, 12–13, 44 Bricklayers Protective Union, 125 Brittain, Deborah C., 27 Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.


pages: 453 words: 132,400

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, double helix, fear of failure, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Vilfredo Pareto

What happens afterward is a gripping and in many ways still relevant account of the difficulties to be encountered in middle age. First of all, wandering in the dark forest, Dante realizes that three fierce beasts are stalking him, licking their chops in anticipation. They are a lion, a lynx, and a she-wolf—representing, among other things, ambition, lust, and greed. As for the contemporary protagonist of one of the bestsellers of 1988, the middle-aged New York bond trader in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, Dante’s nemesis turns out to be the desire for power, sex, and money. To avoid being destroyed by them, Dante tries to escape by climbing a hill. But the beasts keep drawing nearer, and in desperation Dante calls for divine help. His prayer is answered by an apparition: it is the ghost of Virgil, a poet who died more than a thousand years before Dante was born, but whose wise and majestic verse Dante admired so much that he thought of the poet as his mentor.

Sociobiology: The new synthesis. Boston: Belknap Press. Wilson, S. R. 1985. Therapeutic processes in a yoga ashram. American Journal of Psychotherapy 39:253–62. ——. In press. Personal growth in a yoga ashram: A social psychological analysis. The social scientific study of religion, vol. 2. Wittfogel, K. 1957. Oriental despotism. New Haven: Yale University Press. Wolfe, T. 1987. The bonfire of the vanities. New York: Farrar, Straus. Wood, E. 1954. Great system of yoga. New York: Philosophical Library. Wundt, W. 1902. Grundzuge der physiologischen Psychologie, vol. 3. Leipzig. Wynne, E. A. 1978. Behind the discipline problem: Youth suicide as a measure of alienation. Phi Delta Kappan 59:307–15. Yankelovich, D. 1981. New rules: Searching for self-fulfillment in a world turned upside down.


pages: 457 words: 143,967

The Bank That Lived a Little: Barclays in the Age of the Very Free Market by Philip Augar

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, break the buck, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, high net worth, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, light touch regulation, loadsamoney, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, prediction markets, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Sloane Ranger, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, wikimedia commons, yield curve

Anyone in the middle levels and above in investment banking earns enough money to live a different life from that lived by other people of their age: bigger houses, more exotic holidays, nicer clothes, better restaurants, priority lines at airports, the best hotels. The power is alluring too. You are at the centre of the action, working with dynamic people in an electric environment. You meet corporate chief executives, big investors and people from Washington. Tom Wolfe wrote of the hubristic Sherman McCoy in The Bonfire of the Vanities: ‘On Wall Street he and a few others – how many? Three hundred, four hundred, five hundred? – had become precisely that … Masters of the Universe.’1 Diamond was no Sherman McCoy but he was in the upper reaches of the real life top 300 and it was both too late and too soon to return to the quiet life. That was how he found himself sitting across the breakfast table from Bycroft in the New York Racquet and Tennis Club in February 1996.

Disposals included American Mortgage and Business Credit in 1995, enabling Barclays to cut its US loan book from £9 billion to £3 billion. 13. ‘New buy-back by Barclays after 15% profit rise’, Irish Times, 7 August 1996 14. Kirstie Hamilton, ‘Barclays chiefs called to account’, Sunday Times, 4 October 1998 5. A Dark Night in Essex, 1995 1. Securities Industry Association, Securities Industry Fact Book 2006, p. 31 6. The Dumb Money, 1996 1. Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Pan Books, London, 1988, p. 19 7. In Memoriam BZW, 1997 1. Andrew Lorenz, BZW: The First Ten Years, BZW, London, 1996, p. 191 2. Barclays Annual Report 1996, p. 81 3. Financial Times, 4 October 1997 4. Barclays confirms sale agreement with CSFB, Barclays press release, 12 November 1997 5. Strategic reorganization of BZW: financial effect, Barclays press release, 2 February 1998; Barclays Annual Report 1997, p. 82 8.


pages: 385 words: 128,358

Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in a Global Market by Steven Drobny

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital controls, central bank independence, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, fixed income, glass ceiling, high batting average, implied volatility, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, inventory management, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, paper trading, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, price anchoring, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

There were also the classic management mistakes, such as having parking slots for the officers of the company but not the workers. After a while, I started thinking, “Is this what I want to do with my life?” I looked at my friends’ careers, and the people who liked their lives the most were the proprietary traders. I started spending my spare time in upstate New York reading finance stuff: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, Bonfire of the Vanities, Market Wizards, Money Masters—anything I could get my hands on. My game plan was to go to business school; get a job in proprietary trading; work 10 years on the sell side developing my knowledge, experience, contacts, and track record; and then make a move to the buy side. I applied to a bunch of business schools and was offered a fellowship at the University of North Carolina (UNC). It paid full tuition, full expenses, plus a $10,000-a-year stipend.That was too good to pass up.The THE COMMODITY SPECIALIST 245 fellowship was in the name of Julian Robertson because it was funded by one of Tiger Management’s early investors for whom Julian had made a fortune.

See also Central bank(s)/banking Bank of Canada, 285 Bank of England, 14–15, 113, 152, 161, 166, 175, 274–275, 285 Bank of Japan, 175, 318 Bank paper, 141 Barclays Capital, 134–139, 141, 153 Barings Singapore, 80 Barron’s, 231, 238 Baruch, Bernard, 146–147 Bear/bearish markets, 82–83, 123, 157, 225, 228, 230, 237, 340 Beauty contest, 164–165 Behavioral finance, 152, 159 Bernanke, Ben, 350 Bessent, Scott, 14, 16, 20, 269–288 Bessent Capital, 269 Beta, 8, 282, 328 BHP Billiton, 252 Bid/offer spreads, 45, 61 Big-bet approach, 341–343 Black box trading systems, 332 Black Monday, 11, 212–213 Black Wednesday 1992, 10, 14–17, 29, 114, 275 361 362 Blodgett, Henry, 260 Bond investments, 61, 88, 118, 121–122, 146–147, 157–158, 231, 251 Bond market, 61, 78, 145, 149–151, 193, 225–226, 292, 323, 328 Bond market rout of 1994, 10, 17, 155 Bond prices, 204 Bond rally, 75 Bond specialists, 127 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 244 Boom-bust cycle, 167–168 Bosnia, 51 Bottom-up approach, 51, 346 Brady bonds, 296 Brazil/Brazilian real,193, 204, 208–209, 239, 261, 290, 295–296, 327–328, 334–335 Bretton Woods, 6–7, 90, 123, 201 British pound, 14–16, 76, 117, 209, 221–222, 274, 285. See also Sterling Brown Brothers, 271 BTPs (Buoni del Tesoro Poliennali), 85–87 Bucket shops, 36 Buffett,Warren, 278, 292 Bull/bullish market, 83, 107, 123, 217, 225–226, 228, 230–231, 239, 273 Bund/BTP convergence trade, 85–87 Bundesbank, 14 Bunds, 75, 340 Business cycle, global, 328–329 Butterfly options, 46 Buy and hold strategy, 7, 47 Buy low, sell high, 228–229 Buy signals, 226 Call options, 85 Canada, 167 Canadian dollar, 67, 239, 286 Capital allocation, 24, 33, 98–99, 315, 321 Capital preservation, 144, 323–324 Carry trades, 78–79, 110–111, 113, 117–118, 125, 134 Cash market, 85 Caxton, 9–10, 33 Central bank(s)/banking, 32, 40, 83, 139–140, 148, 151–153, 161–162, 167–170, 204, 313, 331 Central banker(s), 13–14, 160, 229, 349.


pages: 419 words: 130,627

Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase by Duff McDonald

bank run, Blythe Masters, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, fixed income, G4S, housing crisis, interest rate swap, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, profit motive, Renaissance Technologies, risk/return, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Saturday Night Live, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Some months earlier, in fact, Weill himself had referred to Salomon’s trading outfit as a “casino,” and now here he was thinking of buying that casino outright. (Sandy Weill, it can be argued, was somewhat cavalier in his choice of Salomon as the investment bank that would take Travelers to the next level. Building a top-tier investment bank is more difficult than merely making a turnkey purchase.) Finally, there was the issue of culture. Salomon’s “Big Swinging Dicks” had been lampooned in Tom Wolfe’s popular 1987 book Bonfire of the Vanities (in which Wolfe coined the term “Masters of the Universe”) and in Michael Lewis’s 1989 insider account Liar’s Poker. Both books had painted a culture in which the client was viewed more as prey than partner, and the Treasury bond scandal had revealed a moral vacuum at the top levels of the firm. Weill and Dimon had only recently rid themselves of the overweening personalities of Greenhill and Lessin.

., 47–48 American Credit Indemnity, 39 American Express (Amex), 15, 19–26, 27, 29, 31, 35, 37, 66, 71, 98, 106, 134, 137, 138, 186, 208, 278, 323 Andrews, Suzanna, 95 Anheuser-Busch, 305 AT&T, 158 auction-rate securities, 276–77, 290 auto leasing, 27, 31–32, 39, 159, 194 Avis Rent-A-Car, 27 Baca, Carlos, 222 Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, 19 Bachelder, Joseph, 148 Bair, Sheila, ix–x, 292, 293, 294, 300 balance sheets, 32, 39, 44–45, 47, 156, 160, 189, 192–93, 196–97, 198, 206, 209, 227, 238, 240, 272, 278, 310, 320, 323 Ballmer, Steve, 181 Banc One, 103, 143–45 Bankers Trust, 89 bank holding companies, 285, 287–88 Bank Investment Consultant, 151 Bank of America, ix, 27–30, 103, 147, 170, 174, 197, 204, 219, 222, 224–25, 229, 232, 238, 251, 274, 282, 286, 289, 295, 299–300, 302, 306, 310, 316, 318, 320 Bank of Manhattan, 202, 203 Bank of New York, 103, 202, 216, 238, 261, 283, 296 Bank One, 143–51, 162, 167, 171–201, 204, 209, 220, 238–39, 261, 273, 291, 293 Barbarians at the Gate (Burrough and Helyar), 28, 52 Barclays Bank PLC, 52–53, 138, 282, 283 Barron’s, 155, 168 Baruch, Bernard, 45 Beacon Group, 172, 174 Bear Stearns, ix, 17, 19, 53, 112, 166, 204–5, 214, 216, 223–28, 230, 232, 240, 241, 243–74, 275, 277, 278, 279, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 294, 297, 300, 301, 306–7, 311, 317, 321, 326 Beeson, Mark, 165 Bergman, Shelley, 270 Berkshire Hathaway, 27, 37, 190–91, 227, 231–32 Berlind, Roger, 17 Bernanke, Ben, 89, 205, 230, 244, 247, 273, 285, 288, 300 Bewkes, Jeff, 243 Bezos, Jeff, 138 Bialkin, Kenneth, 46, 184 Bibliowicz, Jessica Weill, 7, 78–83, 96, 127–28, 186, 194 Bisignano, Frank, 116, 166, 200, 239, 290, 299 Black, Debbie, 118–19, 247, 249 Black, Steve, 51, 59, 61, 66, 68, 77, 96, 118–20, 125–26, 133, 151, 163, 172, 176–77, 188, 189, 191, 199, 200, 217, 218, 225, 234, 235, 239, 242, 247–57, 262, 271, 278–81, 282, 286, 315 Blackstone Group, 138 Blank, Arthur, 139 Blankfein, Lloyd, 221, 244, 275, 282, 300 Blockbuster Entertainment, 69–70 Blodget, Henry, 164 Bloomberg, Michael, 251–52 Bludhorn, Charlie, 17 BNP Paribas, 226, 283 Boesky, Ivan, 27 Boisi, Geoffrey, 172 bonds, 10, 20, 21, 32, 33, 34, 52, 53, 57, 73, 84, 90, 91, 109, 114, 182, 196, 200–206, 238, 254–55, 277, 297, 308 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 92 bonuses, 39, 69, 156, 165, 195, 214, 216 Bookstaber, Richard, 107–8, 109, 113, 130, 199 Booz Allen Hamilton, 12 Boshart, Jim, 68, 77, 149–50, 166, 176–77 Boston Consulting Group, 8 Bove, Dick, 131, 195, 196, 277 Braunstein, Doug, 176, 253–54, 255, 258, 281 Brenneman, Greg, 137, 168 British Telecommunications, 96 broad index secured trust offering (BISTRO), 210–11 Brookfield Asset Management, 219 Brooks, John, 231 Brown & Co., 216 Browning School, 3–5, 6, 10, 62 Brysam Global Partners, 207 Budd, Ed, 58, 70 Buffett, Warren, xi, 25–26, 27, 37, 91–94, 135, 136, 160, 190–91, 201, 227, 231–32, 258–59, 323, 327 Burke, Stephen, 9–11, 15, 25, 81, 139, 149 Burner, Paul, 31 Burnett, Erin, 316 Burr, Aaron, 202 Burrough, Bryan, 28, 52, 226 Bush, George W., 205, 278, 301, 317 Bushnell, Dave, 111 Business Week, 53, 71, 72, 75, 84, 85, 89–90, 95, 124, 131, 134, 151, 194, 197–98, 224, 324 Buyers-Russo, Jane, 281–82 Califano, Joseph, 49, 75–76, 135 Calvano, James, 27, 34, 37, 59, 150 Campbell, William, 104, 107, 111–12, 139, 142, 150, 186, 215 Capitalism and Freedom (Friedman), 6 capital markets, 20, 51, 53, 61, 68, 83, 107–14, 277, 294 capital reserves, 44–45, 46, 48, 131 Capp, Al, 67 Carpenter, Mike, 98, 100–101, 120, 122, 125–26, 163 “Cars for Cons” program, 31–32 Carter, Arthur, 17 Carter, Berlind, Potoma & Weill (CBPW), 17 Carter, Jimmy, 49 Carter, Linda, 17 Cassano, Joseph, 211 Cavanagh, Emily, 151–52 Cavanagh, Michael, 62, 84, 149, 150, 151–52, 180, 186, 208, 239, 240, 242, 246, 247, 248, 252, 253, 254, 256, 259, 260, 265, 290, 292, 293, 294–95, 298, 319, 326 Cayne, James, 112, 166, 221, 226, 228, 241, 258, 265, 268, 269, 304, 323, 325 CBS Marketwatch, 151 CBWL-Hayden Stone, 17–18 Chase, Salmon P., 202–3 Chase Home Finance, 235, 291 Chase Manhattan, 89, 135, 162, 171–73, 194, 199–204 Chase National Bank, 202–3 Chemical Bank, 36, 41, 57, 59, 89, 145, 171, 203 Chenault, Ken, 244 Cherasia, Peter, 270 Chernow, Ron, 52, 87, 202, 203, 260 Chicago Sun-Times, 153 Chief Executive, 163 Cioffi, Ralph, 223–26, 231 Citadel Investment Group, 217–18, 268, 285–86 CITIC, 228 Citicorp, 54–55, 98–101 Citigroup, 83, 98–150, 155, 160–68, 177, 178, 183–84, 185, 195, 196, 200–209, 214, 219, 220, 221, 228–30, 232, 238, 240, 251, 269, 276, 280, 289, 295–303, 310, 316, 321, 323, 324, 325 City National Bank, 143 Clinton, Bill, 87, 103, 140, 221 Clinton, Hillary, 241, 316 CNBC, 84, 227, 245, 249, 302 CNN, 196 Cogan, Marshall, 19 Cohan, William, 224, 244, 258, 262 Cohen, H.


pages: 162 words: 51,473

The Accidental Theorist: And Other Dispatches From the Dismal Science by Paul Krugman

"Robert Solow", Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, declining real wages, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, life extension, new economy, Nick Leeson, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trade route, very high income, working poor, zero-sum game

The evidence is overwhelming, and it comes from many sources—from government agencies like the Bureau of the Census, from Fortune’s annual survey of executive compensation, and so on. And, of course, there’s the evidence that confronts anyone with open eyes. Tom Wolfe is neither an economist nor a liberal, but he is an acute observer. When he wanted to portray what was happening in American society he came up with the world of The Bonfire of the Vanities. Here’s a rough (and reasonably certain) picture of what has happened: The standard of living of the poorest 10 percent of American families is significantly lower today than it was a generation ago. Families in the middle are, at best, slightly better off. Only the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans have achieved income growth at anything like the rates nearly everyone experienced between the forties and early seventies.


pages: 196 words: 57,974

Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, business process, Charles Lindbergh, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, double entry bookkeeping, Etonian, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, market bubble, mittelstand, new economy, North Sea oil, race to the bottom, railway mania, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, wage slave, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Junk bonds lived up to their name: around a fifth of the bonds issued from 1978 to 1983 had defaulted by 1988.18 Many of the thrifts that bought junk bonds went bankrupt, as did Drexel Burnham Lambert itself in February 1990. Milken was indicted on almost one hundred counts of racketeering—and eventually sent to jail. Across in Britain, Hanson’s ambition overran itself: after an unsuccessful play for ICI, its two founders effectively broke up the company in 1996. Goldsmith ended his career as an antiglobalization crusader. Wall Streeters were pilloried for their greed in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), Liar’s Poker (1989), and Barbarians at the Gate (1991). By the end of the century, shareholders had plainly failed to restrain managerial power in the way that many had hoped. Nine in ten big American companies were incorporated in Delaware, a state whose laws favored managers over shareholders. The experiment of making managers behave more like owners had been perverted, via excessive use of stock options, into a get-rich-quick scheme for bosses.


pages: 207 words: 63,071

My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, coherent worldview, creative destruction, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, superconnector, technology bubble, traffic fines, Year of Magical Thinking

by William Marling Intellectual Life The Blank Slate, by Steven Pinker The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, by Erving Goffman Reflections by an Affirmative Action Baby, by Stephen Carter Integrity, by Stephen Carter The Accidental Asian, by Eric Liu Mind Wide Open, by Steven Johnson Socrates Café, by Chris Phillips Self-Renewal, by John Gardner Public Intellectuals, by Richard Posner Psychology Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl Biography/Memoir My Life, by Bill Clinton This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff Swimming Across, by Andy Grove All Over But the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg Personal History, by Katherine Graham Emerson: Mind on Fire, by Robert Richardson In an Uncertain World, by Robert Rubin The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion Religion End of Faith, by Sam Harris The Universe in a Single Atom, by the Dalai Lama APPENDIX C The World’s Religions, by Huston Smith The Bhagavad-Gita Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer Politics/Current Affairs Ghost Wars, by Steve Coll Running the World, by David Rothkopf Founding Brothers, by Joseph Ellis A Conflict of Visions, by Thomas Sowell Going Nucular, by Geoffrey Nunberg America at the Crossroads, by Francis Fukuyama Holidays in Hell, by P. J. O’Rourke River Town, by Peter Hessler Novels I Am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe Reading in the Dark, by Seamus Deane Dubliners, by James Joyce The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card Disgrace, by J. M. Coetze Indecision, by Benjamin Kunkel The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe Saturday, by Ian McEwan Random On Paradise Drive, by David Brooks How to Be Alone, by Jonathan Franzen A Hope in the Unseen, by Ron Suskind Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris Clinton & Me, by Mark Katz What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated? by Alfie Kohn Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace 181 Acknowledgments I am lucky on many levels, and it’s most evident if I think about the people who have entered my life.


pages: 598 words: 172,137

Who Stole the American Dream? by Hedrick Smith

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbus A320, airline deregulation, anti-communist, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, business process, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, family office, full employment, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, income inequality, index fund, industrial cluster, informal economy, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, low cost airline, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mortgage debt, negative equity, new economy, Occupy movement, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ponzi scheme, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Renaissance Technologies, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Vanguard fund, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, Y2K

Since top company executives were privy to inside company information, they could obviously cash in big-time by trading in company stock. But the unwritten code frowned on that. “Were everyone to seek to do so …,” Galbraith wrote, “the corporation would be a chaos of competitive avarice.” By the 1980s, competitive avarice was in. Tom Wolfe captured the winner-take-all creed in his book Bonfire of the Vanities, and so did Oliver Stone’s 1987 movie, Wall Street. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” preached Gordon Gekko, the movie’s mogul investor. “Greed is right, greed works…. Greed, in all of its forms … has marked the upward surge of mankind.” It certainly marked the upward surge in CEO pay, which rocketed from forty times the pay of an average company worker in 1980 to nearly four hundred times by 2000.

Its profits soared—from 17 to 18 percent of total U.S. corporate profits in 1980 to 46 percent in 2005. As former Nixon political strategist Kevin Phillips put it, Wall Street “hijacked” the U.S. economy for its own profit, causing a “perilous overconcentration” of economic power. In terms of political power, Wall Street has no peer. Over the past two decades, the bankers portrayed by Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities as arrogant “Masters of the Universe” have been even more successful than the leaders of other sectors of business, such as oil or the military-industrial complex or the pharmaceutical industry, in influencing Washington to adopt their agenda. They have lobbied successfully to overturn New Deal–era laws and time-tested government regulations. They have won several government bailouts in one financial crisis after another, culminating in the collapse of 2008.


pages: 446 words: 578

The end of history and the last man by Francis Fukuyama

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, centre right, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Joan Didion, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, land reform, liberal world order, liberation theology, life extension, linear programming, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, nuclear winter, old-boy network, open economy, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, strikebreaker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, zero-sum game

And as long as they are not, the horizon of human possibilities that they define will not be ultimately satisfying for the most thymotic natures. In particular, the virtues and ambitions called forth by war are unlikely to find expression in liberal democracies. There will be plenty of metaphorical wars—corporate lawyers specializing in hostile takeovers who will think of themselves as sharks or gunslingers, and bond traders who imagine, as in Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, that they are “masters of the universe.” (They will believe this, however, only in bull markets.) But as they sink into the soft leather of their BMWs, they will know somewhere in the back of their minds that there have been real gunslingers and masters in the world, who would feel contempt for the petty virtues required to become rich or famous in modern America. How long megalothymia will be satisfied with metaphorical wars and symbolic victories is an open question.

INDEX Abortion, 176 Acid rain, 86 Affirmative action, 237, 293 Afghanistan, 26, 127, 275 African National Congress, 15, 111 Afrikaners, 14, 21, 111, 172 Afro-American culture, 237 Aganbegyan, Abel, 29 Alawi-dominated regime (Syria), 16 Albalkin, Leonid, 29 Albania, 27, 112 Alcibiades, 317 Alexander II, Czar of Russia, 75 Alfonsin government (Argentina), 14 Algeria, 275 Alienation, 65, 197, 335 All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque), 5 Alwyn, Patricio, 42 Ambition, 162 American Bill of Rights, 43, 159 American Civil War, 171, 175-176, 261, 330 American Revolution, 42, 64, 134 Amish, 85 Amour-propre, 83-84, 155, 162, 255 Andropov, Yuri, 47 Angell, Norman, 5 Anger, 163-165, 171, 172, 178-180 Angola, 35 Animal behavior, 297 Anomie, 337 Anthropology, 151 Anti-liberal doctrines, 235-244 Anti-Stalinism, 30, 40 Apartheid, 20-21, 77, 111, 171-172 Aquino, Corazon, 14, 119-120 Arab-Israeli conflict, 283 Aral Sea, 115 Argentina, 14, 16, 19, 20, 23, 42, 104-106, 112, 113, 256 Aristocracies, 45, 185-86, 200, 259, 260, 265 Aristophanes, 296 Aristotle, 55-56, 127, 335 Aron, Raymond, 66, 95 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), 102 Assembly of Women (Aristophanes), 294 Associational life, 322-324 Astayev, Viktor, 37 Ataturk, Kemal, 236, 256, 272 Athens, 48, 127, 184, 247, 316, 317 Athletic competition, 318-320 Atlantic Charter, 258 Augustine, Saint, 56, 183 Australia, 111 Austria-Hungary, 333 Authoritarianism, 8-9, 11, 12, 37, 39-42, 124 current crisis of, 13-22, 44, 47 market-oriented, 123, 124 new Asian, 238-243 Ba‘ath parties, 16, 236 Bacon, Francis, 56, 57, 72, 135 Baigan, Ishida, 227 Balance of power, 247-250 Baltic states, 27-28, 215, 273 Bangladesh, 275 Basques, 269 Battle of Jena, significance of, 64, 67 Beast with red cheeks, 162, 170-180, 188 “Bee and the Communist Ideal, The” (Nuikin), 23 Belief, 309-310 Bell, Daniel, 91 Bellah, Robert, 227, 229 Belorussia, 35 Beria, Lavrenty, 32, 40 Berlin Wall, 27, 178, 263, 280 Biology, 151 Bipolarity, 248, 255, 262 Black market (Soviet), 32 Black underclass, 293-294 Bogomolov, Oleg, 29 Bolshevik party, 43 Bolshevik Revolution, 24, 25, 66, 304-305 Bombing, 6 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 329 Botswana, 35 Bourgeois, 145, 160, 180, 185, 188, 189, 314, 323, 329 Brazil, 14, 20, 42, 104-105, 112, 123 Brezhnev, Leonid, 8, 10, 32, 76 Brezhneva, Galina, 16 Bryce, Lord, 42 Buddhism, 216-217, 227 Bukovsky, Vladimir, 169 Bulgaria, 27, 36, 112 Bureaucracy, 65, 89 as characteristic of modern societies, 77-78 Burma, 14, 85 Bush, George, 318, 328 Bushido ethic, 227 Caetano, Marcello, 13, 18 Calvinism, 226, 227, 229 Cambodia, 79, 127, 275, 293 Canada, 264 Capitalism, 44, 90-91, 98, 99, 102, 103, 106, 108, 114, 120, 204, 226-230, 290, 292, 316 Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (Schumpeter), 123 Capital punishment, 261 Carthage, 248 Caste system, 228 Catholicism, 19, 221 Ceaucescu, Nicolae, 115 Centrally planned economic systems, 90, 91, 93-96, 98, 107 Ceylon, 123 Chad, 275 Chamorro, Violetta, 14 Charismatic authority, 115 Charter 77, 166 Charter of the United Nations, 282 Checks and balances, 188 Chemical and biological weapons, 278 Chemistry, 151 Chernenko, Konstantin, 47 Chernobyl, 115 Chiang Ching-kuo, 14 Chile, 14, 21, 42, 104, 112, 123 Chinese Revolution, 11, 66, 127 Christian Democracy, 284 Christianity, 56 grounds for human equality, 196-197, 301 Hegel and, 216, 301 as slave ideology, 62, 196-198, 205, 261, 301 Churbanov, Yury, 32 Churchill, Winston, 318 CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), 18, 28 Citizenship, 202, 322 Civil rights, 42-43, 203-204, 237 Civil society, 33, 219, 221, 222 Civil war American, 171, 175-176, 261, 330 English, 271 Spanish, 79 Class conflict, 65, 118-119 Classical liberal trade theory, 100 CNN (Cable News Network), 7 Cold War, 7, 10, 46, 127, 233, 246, 248, 252, 262, 264, 272, 282, 283 Collectivization, 30 Collor de Mello, Fernando, 42 Colombia, 14 Colonialism, 99, 258, 267, 338 Communications technology, 7 Communism, 7, 45; see also Authoritarianism; Communist parties; Totalitarianism belief in permanence of, 8, 10 Havel on, 166-169 legitimacy of, 10-11 as slave ideology, 205 Soviet-style, 9-10 worldwide collapse of, 8, 12, 25-38, 177-179, 264, 280, 293, 296 Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels), 65 Communist parties Chinese, 34 Filipino, 119 Portuguese, 18, 47 South African, 15 Soviet, 26, 27 Spanish, 19 Community, 242, 304, 322-327 Compassion, rise of, 261 Comte, Auguste, 68 Condorcet, Marquis de, 57, 62 Conflict resolution, 117-119 Confucianism, 217, 325 Congress of Vienna, 267, 331 Conservatives, in Soviet Union, 40-41 Constitution of the United States, 25, 153, 184, 187, 200, 204, 296 Consumer electronics industry, 84 Consumerism, 4, 63, 83-85, 126, 169, 230, 242 Contradictions, 61, 64, 65, 136, 137, 139 Cortés, Hernando, 259 Cosmopolitanism, 126 Costa Rica, 123, 217-218 “Cotton mafia,” 32 Craft guilds, 232 Crimean War, 75 Critique of Pure Reason (Kant), 151 Croatia, 272, 273 Cuba, 10, 14, 25, 127 Cultural relativism, 340 Cultural Revolution, 79, 95, 96 Culture preconditions for democracy, 215, 219-222 relationship to thymos, 213 work attitudes and, 224-225, 230-234 Cunhal, Álvaro, 18 Custine, Marquis de, 25 Cyprus, 20 Czechoslovakia democratic transition in, 36, 112 fall of communist government, 27, 177-178 nationalism in, 273 Darwin, Charles, 299 Debray, Régis, 320 Declaration of Independence, 134, 153, 158, 186, 196, 200, 204, 296 Decline of the West (Spengler), 68 Defensive modernization, 74-76 de Gaulle, Charles, 332 de Klerk, F.


pages: 183 words: 17,571

Broken Markets: A User's Guide to the Post-Finance Economy by Kevin Mellyn

banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, information asymmetry, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, mobile money, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, seigniorage, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Great Moderation, the payments system, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Works Progress Administration, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

In a market economy, investors and lenders always get overconfident in good times and overshoot into bubbles followed by crises. The first instinct of market participants, who rarely have personal experience of extended downturns, since up to 2008 there had not been any since the early 1980s, is that time will solve the problem. Markets always come back. Except, of course, when they don’t. The new “Masters of the Universe,” as Tom Wolfe dubbed the Sherman McCoys of this world in The Bonfire of the Vanities (Bantam, 1998), actually believed that their way of life is natural. After the panic of 2008 recedes in memory, people will become less hostile to finance, regulations will prove unworkable, and the political tide will turn. No doubt Richard Whitney, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and uncrowned king of the 1920s Golconda, felt the same way, at least until he was headed to Sing Sing.


pages: 302 words: 74,878

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman

4chan, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Asperger Syndrome, Bonfire of the Vanities, en.wikipedia.org, game design, Google Chrome, Howard Zinn, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Norman Mailer, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple

Rader: psychiatrist, administers stem cell injections for a variety of illnesses Jason Randal: magician, mentalist Ronald Reagan: president of the United States, 1981–1989 Sumner Redstone: media magnate, businessman, chairman of CBS, chairman of Viacom Judith Regan: editor, book publisher Eddie Rehfeldt: executive creative director for the communications firm Waggener Edstrom David Remnick: journalist, author, editor of the New Yorker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize David Rhodes: president of CBS News, former vice president of news for Fox News Matthieu Ricard: Buddhist monk, photographer, author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill Condoleezza Rice: U.S. secretary of state, 2005–2009, former U.S. national security advisor, former provost at Stanford University, professor of political economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Frank Rich: journalist, author, former columnist for the New York Times, editor at large for New York magazine Michael Rinder: activist and former senior executive for the Church of Scientology International Richard Riordan: mayor of Los Angeles, 1993–2001, businessman Tony Robbins: life coach, author, motivational speaker Robert Wilson and Richard Hutton: criminal defense attorneys Brian L. Roberts: chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation Burton B. Roberts: chief administrative judge, New York Supreme Court in the Bronx, model for a character in Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities Michael Roberts: fashion journalist, fashion and style director at Vanity Fair, former fashion director at the New Yorker Joe Robinson: speaker and trainer on work-life balance and productivity Gerry Roche: senior chairman of Heidrick & Struggles, a business executive recruiting firm Aaron Rose: film director, art-show curator, writer Charlie Rose: journalist, TV interviewer, host of PBS’s Charlie Rose Maer Roshan: writer, editor, entrepreneur who launched Radar magazine and radaronline.com Pasquale Rotella: founder of Insomniac Events, which produces music festival Electric Daisy Carnival Karl Rove: Republican political consultant, chief strategist for George W.


pages: 416 words: 204,183

The Rough Guide to Florence & the Best of Tuscany by Tim Jepson, Jonathan Buckley, Rough Guides

air freight, Bonfire of the Vanities, car-free, housing crisis, land reform, Nelson Mandela, plutocrats, Plutocrats, sustainable-tourism, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning

. #"34$"'²4 3&45"63"/54 "OUJDP'BUUPSF $BGGÒ*UBMJBOP Though it’s always busy, the %B(BOJOP $BOUJOFUUBEFJ piazza is at its liveliest during (VTUBWJOP 7FSSB[[BOP *'SBUFMMJOJ political campaigns, when speakers (&-"5&3*" .BZEBZ 1FSDIÒ/P 2VBTJHSBUJT address the crowds from the terrace 3JWPJSF in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. $-6# 5BCBTDP (The terrace is called the arringhiera, from the same root as the English word “harangue”.) Tempers can get frayed at such gatherings, but things used to be a lot wilder than they are today: in 1343, for example, one inflammatory meeting ended with a man being eaten by a mob. Most famously, it was here that Savonarola held his “Bonfires of the Vanities” (see p.124) – on the very spot where, on May 23, 1498, he was to be executed for heresy. A circular plaque in the pavement near the fountain marks the place. The statues Florence’s political volatility is encapsulated by the Piazza della Signoria’s array of statues, most of which were arranged in the sixteenth century to accentuate the axis of the Uffizi. From left to right as you face the Palazzo Vecchio, the line-up starts with Giambologna’s equestrian statue of Cosimo I (1587–94).

Continual decrees were issued from San Marco: profane carnivals were to be outlawed, fasting was to be observed more frequently, children were to act as the agents of the righteous, informing the authorities whenever their parents transgressed the Eternal Law. Irreligious books and paintings, expensive clothes, cosmetics, mirrors, board games, trivialities and luxuries of all types were destroyed, a ritual purging that reached a crescendo with a colossal “Bonfire of the Vanities” on the Piazza della Signoria. Meanwhile, Charles VIII was installed in Naples and a formidable alliance was being assembled to overthrow him: the papacy, Milan, Venice, Ferdinand of Aragon and the Emperor Maximilian. In July 1495 the army of this Holy League confronted the French and was badly defeated. Charles’s army continued northwards back to France, and Savonarola was summoned to the Vatican to explain why he had been unable to join the campaign against the intruder.


pages: 601 words: 193,225

740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building by Michael Gross

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bonfire of the Vanities, California gold rush, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Irwin Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, McMansion, mortgage debt, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, short selling, strikebreaker, The Predators' Ball, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

Its seventeen simplex and duplex apartments, including two fullfloor units of ten thousand square feet apiece, featured every modern convenience—even jewelry safes for each bedroom, a large silver vault in each kitchen, an ice-making plant and individual refrigerated wine cellars, and private laundry rooms in the basement. These were the first of the sorts of apartments that, eighty years later, inspired the fictional one created by Tom Wolfe for Sherman McCoy, the hapless lead character in the novel The Bonfire of the Vanities: “the sort of apartment the mere thought of which ignites flames of greed and covetousness under people all over New York, and for that matter, all over the world.” The first renters at 998—attracted by a lavish hardcover brochure— included a granddaughter of Commodore Vanderbilt; Levi Morton, U.S. vice president under Benjamin Harrison; the former secretary of state and war Elihu Root; John Jacob “Jack” Astor V, who moved in after surviving, in utero, the sinking of the Titanic; and Murray Guggenheim of the mining Guggenheims.

It was in full swing by the winter of 1981, when the heat in 740 went off for ten days and the owners held a meeting in the Perelmans’ apartment. “We were all frozen, all in fur coats, surrounded by glorious flowers,” says one attendee. “They were done by the mistress, though we didn’t know that at the time.” The building staff may have been the first to learn of the affair, and some of them later came to believe that a scene in the film based on Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, in which the protagonist Sherman McCoy calls his mistress from a pay phone right outside his building, was based on Perelman and Kasen. “He had that reputation,” Patrick O’Connor says carefully. “He was a strange character. Not very polite. A double life is bound to catch up with you.” Perelman’s double life caught up with him when the luxury jeweler Bulgari accidentally sent a pair of blue-sapphire-and-diamond earrings meant for Kasen to Faith.


pages: 687 words: 204,164

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Bonfire of the Vanities, deskilling, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, l'esprit de l'escalier

About the Author Tom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his BA at Washington and Lee University and a PhD in American Studies at Yale. He received the National Book Foundation’s 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in New York City. ALSO BY TOM WOLFE The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby The Pump House Gang The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers The Painted Word Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine The Right Stuff In Our Time From Bauhaus to Our House The Bonfire of the Vanities A Man in Full Hooking Up I Am Charlotte Simmons * “Look at her! Granny, you spit when you talk, like a rabid mutt foaming at the mouth


pages: 279 words: 87,910

How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life by Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky

"Robert Solow", banking crisis, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Paul Samuelson, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, union organizing, University of East Anglia, Veblen good, wage slave, wealth creators, World Values Survey, zero-sum game

” * What we here call respect is also often called “dignity,” especially in religious discussions. We prefer the term “respect” because it brings out more clearly its interpersonal dimension. Respect is conferred; dignity is inherent. Still, our ability to respect a human being presupposes that there is something in him worthy of respect, and this something could, if desired, be called dignity. * Sherman McCoy, the “master of the universe” in Tom Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, consumes his salary in rents, school fees, etc., with the result that bankruptcy follows within a few weeks of his losing his job. He is in effect a wage-slave, if a rather well-heeled one. * Lord Turner admits this possibility. In his third lecture, he writes that the ends of change and economic freedom “need to be balanced against other potentially desirable objectives.” But he should add that this undermines the utility of growth as an indicator of economic health


pages: 287 words: 80,050

The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less by Emrys Westacott

Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate raider, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Diane Coyle, discovery of DNA, Downton Abbey, dumpster diving, financial independence, full employment, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, McMansion, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, negative equity, New Urbanism, paradox of thrift, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, the market place, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, Zipcar

If they feel the need to exhibit their wealth, as many do, they will start to indulge in various luxuries and extravagances that make them increasingly dependent on others—both those who are the source of wealth (patrons, bosses, clients) and those who provide services (servants, chauffeurs, beauticians). And this concern for expensive superfluities will lead to their wasting both their resources and, much more importantly, their time. Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, set in the world of New York’s financial wheelers and dealers, offers a memorable portrayal of all these failings in a modern context. Claims of this sort regarding the effects of wealth on an individual are obviously neither necessary nor universal. Some who become rich, far from becoming extravagant, grow increasingly parsimonious. Hetty Green, the “Witch of Wall Street,” who when she died in 1916 was one of the richest women in the world, was famous for her miserliness: according to one story, she insisted that her laundress wash only the hems of her dresses—the most soiled parts—in order to save on soap.


pages: 244 words: 85,379

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Bonfire of the Vanities, fear of failure, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, old-boy network, pink-collar, telemarketer, traveling salesman, War on Poverty

The structure is complex; the vocabulary is not far removed from the old Dick and Jane primers. The Grapes of Wrath is, of course, a fine novel. I believe that Blood Meridian is another, although there are great whacks of it that I don’t fully understand. What of that? I can’t decipher the words to many of the popular songs I love, either. There’s also stuff you’ll never find in the dictionary, but it’s still vocabulary. Check out the following: —Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities “Egggh, whaddaya? Whaddaya want from me?” “Here come Hymie!” “Unnh! Unnnh! Unnnhh!” “Chew my willie, Yo’ Honor.” “Yeggghhh, fuck you, too, man!”This last is phonetically rendered street vocabulary. Few writers have Wolfe’s ability to translate such stuff to the page. (Elmore Leonard is another writer who can do it.) Some street-rap gets into the dictionary eventually, but not until it’s safely dead.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

Other books to read Ha-Joon Chang and Illene Grabel (2004) Reclaiming Development: An Alternative Economic Manual, Zed Books, London Herman Daly and John Cobb (1994) For the Common Good, Beacon Press, New York Herman Daly and Joshua Farley (2004) Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications, Island Press, Washington, DC Jeff Gates (2001) Democracy at Risk, Perseus, New York Oliver James (2008) The Selfish Capitalist: Origins of Affluenza, Vermilion Books, London David Korten (1995) When Corporations Rule the World, Earthscan, London Bernard Lietaer (2001) The Future of Money, Century, London Erik Reinart (2007) How Rich Countries got Rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor, Constable, New York Vandana Shiva (1999) Stolen Harvest, South End Press, New York Joseph Stiglitz (2002) Globalisation and its Discontents, Penguin, London 16 THE NEW ECONOMICS Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Tom Wolfe (1988) Bonfire of the Vanities, Cape, London. Arts Council (1946), First Annual Report, London. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2008) Climate Change 2007, Geneva. United Nations Development Programme (1998) Consumption for Human Development, Oxford University Press, New York. Daily Telegraph (2003) 16 April. Daily Mail (2008) 21 March. Richard R. Zabel (2008) ‘Credit Default Swaps’, Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law, Sept.


How to Write Like Tolstoy: A Journey Into the Minds of Our Greatest Writers by Richard Cohen

Anton Chekhov, Bonfire of the Vanities, colonial rule, Honoré de Balzac, index card, Joan Didion, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia

In context, this is effective, but the opening to Victoria Glendinning’s first novel, The Grown Ups (1989), runs: “There’s more to loving than fucking.” I was her editor and didn’t question it; only after the book was published did we both agree that that first sentence drew the wrong attention to itself. Not that outrageous openings can’t work. Quirky can be good: Mikhail Bulgakov begins The Heart of a Dog (1925), “Ooow-ow-ooow-owow!” as if language itself has failed him, and Tom Wolfe, in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), early on the opening page gives us a long drawn-out cackle: “Heh-heggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Garrison Keillor put such attempts in fine context. “When someone gets in your face as a writer does, either you love him or you loathe him,” he wrote, citing a memoir he was reading of two lesbians who had taken up farming sheep in Minnesota. It begins with them attending shepherd school and learning to assess the potency of a ram by holding his testicles.


pages: 223 words: 10,010

The Cost of Inequality: Why Economic Equality Is Essential for Recovery by Stewart Lansley

"Robert Solow", banking crisis, Basel III, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, borderless world, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, business process, call centre, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Meriwether, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working-age population

According to their architects, by anticipating and controlling the level of risk, finance could increase the level of liquidity in the markets and improve the level of efficiency with which resources were allocated, thus enabling a higher level of national and world economic activity. This claim seemed to be vindicated when two hedge fund partners, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1997. Their Greenwichbased firm, Long Term Capital Management had been founded by John Meriwether, a former highly successful bond trader at Salomon, Lewis’s boss and widely believed to be the inspiration for the Bonfire of the Vanities , Tom Wolf’s 1980s novel of Wall Street excess. For a while the heavily-leveraged operation grew to be one of the most lucrative of the American hedge funds. Even when their award-winning formula failed and LTCM collapsed in 1998, nearly bringing Wall Street down with it, the modelling and recruitment continued. The best American and British PhD econometricians, mathematicians and physicists continued to pour into Wall Street and the City, where they could earn huge multiples of the salaries on offer in industry or academia.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Milken would plead guilty to six counts and be sentenced to ten years in prison. Remarkably, as complex a subject as finance was, story lines of trading desks and boardroom aspirations found themselves expressed fully in pop culture. Family Ties, the second-highest-rated show on television in the mid-1980s, starred Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, a precocious and charming ball of comically moneyed ambition. Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities spent several weeks at number one on the New York Times best-seller list in 1988. Its main character was a top-producing bond trader, a “Master of the Universe” in Wolfe’s telling. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street gave American cinema one of its most memorable antiheroes in Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. The fall of Gekko starts with his attempt to take over an airline, a story line loosely based on Icahn’s efforts at TWA.

., 427–28, 430–31, 465 Atlantic & Pacific, 191 Austria-Hungary, 296, 297 automobiles, 279–91 assembly line manufacturing and, 289–90 building of factories, in 1980s, 489–90 Durant and, 281, 286–87 Ford and, 281–83, 284–86, 287–91 government regulation of roads and, 283–84 internal combustion versus steam power, 279–80 Japanese competition in 1970s and, 438 Model T and, 286, 288–89, 291 production of, during Great Depression, 329, 335 production of, during World War II, 364 references in rap music, 451–53 B-24 Liberator (bomber), 361–62 Baldwin Locomotive, 362 Ball, Lucille, 381, 383–84 Ballmer, Steve, 487 Bank of America (Italian-American Bank), 310, 344, 345 Bank of United States, 325–26 banks/banking bank holidays, 331–34 failures, during Great Depression, 324–28 Barksdale, Jim, 472 Barnes & Noble, 442 baseball, 391 BASIC programming language, 430 Bavarian Motor Works (BMW), 354, 489 beaver fur trade, 14–15, 17 Beaver (ship), 39 Beckert, Sven, 145 Beecher, Catharine, 198–99 Beecher, Henry Ward, 136 beer, 178–80, 183–84 Bellona (steamboat), 64, 65, 67 Benchmark Capital, 474 Ben-Hur (film), 337–38 Berkman, Alexander, 222 Berkshire Hathaway, 436–37, 442–43 Berlin Wall, fall of, 484 Berners-Lee, Time, 466–68, 480 Bessemer, Henry, 168 Bessemer Steel Association, 172 Best Friend (locomotive), 82 Beveridge, Albert, 274 Bezos, Jeff, 470–71 Billings, John Shaw, 412 Bissell, George, 150 Bloomingdale’s, 207 Blue Ribbon Sports, 458 Boeing, 490 Bond, Joseph, 130 bonds/bond market for canal financing, 76, 77, 78, 79, 83 Chrysler and, 440 for Civil War financing, 146–47 formation of US Steel and, 248 Jay Cooke & Co., 169 junk bonds, 439–42 U.S. government bond yields in 1981, 440 World War I and, 299 Bonfire of the Vanities, The (Wolfe), 449 bootlegging, 315–19 B&O Railroad Company, 81–82 Boston tea party, 39–40 bottling, 179 Bowerman, Bill, 458 boxing, 304 boycott, colonial of British goods, 37–38 Bradford, William, 3, 4, 11, 12–13, 16, 17 Brewster, William, 10 Brinkley, Alan, 473 British East India Company, 38–39 Broderick, Joseph, 326 Brooklyn Bridge, 194 Brooks, Preston, 121 Brown, John, 135–36 Brown, Kay, 337 Brush, Charles, 185 Bryan, Joseph, 123 Bryan, William Jennings, 233–37, 241, 246–47, 298 bubbles in Internet stocks, 472–78 in slave prices (Negro Fever), 126, 130–31 Buchanan, James, 121 Budweiser, 180 buffalo, 177 Buffett, Warren, 423, 437 Buick, David, 280 Buick Manufacturing Company, 280–81, 286–87 Busch, Adolphus, 178–79 Bush, George H.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

Purchases of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin videotapes and associated merchandise might justify Disney's allowing every child in the world one free viewing. The transferability of information will be another big pricing issue. The information highway will allow the transfer of intellectual property rights from one person to another at the speed of light. Almost all the music, writing, or other intellectual properties stored on disks or in books sits unused most of the time. When you're not consuming your particular copy of Thriller or Bonfire of the Vanities, most likely no one else is, either. Publishers count on this. If the average buyer lent his or her albums and books frequently, fewer would be sold and prices would be higher. If we assume that an album is in use, say, 0.1 percent of the time, "light speed" lending might cut the number of copies sold by a factor of 1,000. Lending will probably be restricted so users will only be allowed to lend a copy out perhaps up to ten times a year.


pages: 827 words: 239,762

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, deskilling, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global pandemic, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job-hopping, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Menlo Park, new economy, obamacare, oil shock, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, pushing on a string, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, urban renewal, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

From the student perspective, it might as well not have been there at all, since at the same time that HBS graduates were streaming onto Wall Street, so too were a large percentage of graduates from Harvard College. From the faculty perspective, however, the intellectual distance between HBS and the rest of Harvard widened to the largest it had been since the days of the School’s founding. In the decade of greed, the market was triumphant, Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities was more aspirational novel than cautionary tale, and whatever reticence had existed at HBS about the maximization of wealth as the central purpose of business disappeared along with the seemingly antiquated notion of a corporation’s responsibility to anyone other than its shareholders. The separation wasn’t just metaphorical, either: In 1981, HBS announced the discontinuation of all non-School use of its facilities, including by others at Harvard itself.2 “For as long as anyone can remember Harvard’s courses have mostly bubbled up from its faculty’s interests: A professor would become intrigued by something and do research on it,” wrote Walter Kiechel in Fortune.

., 102 Bewkes, Jeff, 534 Bharara, Preet, 441 Bhatnagar, Sanjay, 514 Big Time, The (Shames), 168, 173, 324–25, 529 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 211 Bilzerian, Paul, 380 Birkinshaw, Julian, 226, 396–97, 539 Bishop, John, 215 Black, Leon, 531, 534 Blackstone Group, 76, 125, 394, 468, 470, 531 Blavatnik, Len, 531 Bloomberg, Michael, 456, 510–11, 530–31, 561–62, 563 Bloomingdale’s, 169, 171 Board of Directors of Small Corporations, The (Mace), 325 Boesky, Ivan F., 380, 431 Bogart, Humphrey, 183 Bok, Derek, 206, 334–41, 435, 567 Bok, Sissela, 337 Bollinger, Lynn, 326 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 453 Booth, David G., 533 Borden, Neil, 293 Boston Beer Company, 456, 477 Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 3, 207, 210, 417, 458, 460, 477, 507 Botlin, Ana Patricia, 241 Bower, Joseph, 413 Bower, Marvin, 105, 132, 142, 184, 199–212, 246, 254, 288, 289, 436, 458; Bok and, 337–40; case method and, 202–3, 206; Fellowship Program, 208–9; Matsushita Chair and, 205–6; McArthur and, 339–40 Bower-Gordon Award, 458 Bowes, Bill, 323 Bowling Alone (Putnam), 56 Bradshaw, Thornton, 105–6 Brandeis, Louis, 131 Breech, Ernest, 270 Breyer, Jim, 321 Broadway, Robert, 531 Brooker, Katrina, 480 Brooks, John, 289 Broughton, Philip Delves, 546, 552, 559, 568 Brown, Charles, 106 Brown, Theodore, 154 Browne, Jacqueline, 203 Brownstein, Howard, 507 “Brownsville Girl” (song), 397 “Buck Stops (and Starts) at Business School, The” (Podolny), 236, 439–40 Budgetary Control (McKinsey), 116 Buffett, Warren, 480, 482 Built to Last (Collins and Porras), 492 Bundy, McGeorge, 218 Bupp, Chip, 519 Bureau of Business Research (BBR), 38, 94–95 Burke, James, 169, 171, 525–29 Burnham, Elizabeth Abbott, 238 Burr, Francis H., 401 Bursk, Edward, 297 Bush, George H.


pages: 446 words: 108,844

The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World by Alexander Roy

Bonfire of the Vanities, Google Earth, post-work, urban planning, urban sprawl

A trio of mustached Moroccan police—all in pressed royal-blue uniforms, double-breasted jackets, light blue shirts, black ties, shiny boots, bright white belts, shoulder straps, and hats—enthusiastically waved us on. I was driving 74 mph in a densely populated urban area. Legally. We were moving up the grid. Kinsley leaned right in her seat. “Traffic circle ahead!” 77 “Keep those warnings coming! We don’t need a North African Bonfire of the Vanities!” HIGHWAY P24 APPROXIMATELY 100 MILES NORTHEAST OF MARRAKECH LATE MORNING The convoy’s tight columns uncoiled, lunging and fighting two and sometimes three cars abreast—one column against thankfully infrequent oncoming traffic, forcing locals onto the left shoulder, the other onto the right shoulder when debris didn’t force quick reentry into the one legal lane. “More livestock ahead!”


pages: 377 words: 110,427

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig

affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, American Legislative Exchange Council, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, Joan Didion, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game

Ware’s method is to publish a page each week or so in a weekly paper (the Sunday New York Times, the Chicago Reader), then redraw the entire chapter and send it out as an edition of the Novelty Library, then redraw it a third time when the entire book is published. So this is a way of getting intermediate results, but you could just wait for the final books themselves (if they are ever finished). Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe Absolutely fantastic. A rare must-read novel—packed full of information about society, journalism, activism, race, etc. I can’t convey just how good it really is. It’s like The Power Broker of fiction. How to Win Friends and Influence People (reread) by Dale Carnegie There’s a reason this is a classic. It articulates a way of dealing with people, founded on concern and empathy, and convincingly argues that this kind style is actually the more productive one for getting things done.


pages: 354 words: 105,322

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James Rickards

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, jitney, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Pierre-Simon Laplace, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, reserve currency, RFID, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, stocks for the long run, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transfer pricing, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

The partners debated strategies in meetings that were more like academic seminars than the knife fights that go on in some banks. When the weather was nice, Meriwether and his partners were as likely to be on the links at nearby Winged Foot Country Club as on the trading floor. There was no reason not to golf; the computers were in control. JM’s public persona was the bold, brash, Wall Street “master of the universe,” as portrayed in two iconic books, Tom Wolfe’s 1987 novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, and Michael Lewis’s 1989 comic memoir, Liar’s Poker. Wolfe told the story of larger-than-life bond trader Sherman McCoy, who held a position similar to Meriwether’s at Salomon Brothers. The comparison was impossible to miss. Lewis told a real-life anecdote about a million-dollar bet made on the Salomon trading floor between Meriwether and Gutfreund on a single liar’s poker hand, a legend that dogged JM.


The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, interchangeable parts, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Socratic dialogue, traveling salesman, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

Additional Praise for The Bonfire Of The Vanities “Brilliant—Bonfire illumines the modern madness that [was] New York in the 1980s with the intense precision of a laser beam.” —People “Impossible to put down.” —The Wall Street Journal “Marvelous.” —Business Week “It’s The Human Comedy, on a skyscraper scale and at a taxi-meter pace.” —Newsweek “Vintage Wolfe…The plot is an astonishing intricate machine that manages to mesh at every turn.” —The New York Times “It’s a monstrous pleasure to watch this world burn…. Wolfe’s conflagration sweeps away New York in a great tragicomic circus…. Wolfe’s the uncanny master of the inside angle on style, our best meteorologist of hip.” —New Haven Register “One of the most impressive novels of the decade.” —Library Journal “Nasty, satirical, probing, and dead-on accurate…Wolfe falls so naturally into this colorful, supercharged account of New York high life and low life that it’s hard to believe he hasn’t been writing fiction all his life….

Also by Tom Wolfe The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby The Pump House Gang The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers The Painted Word Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine The Right Stuff In Our Time From Bauhaus to Our House A Man in Full Hooking Up I Am Charlotte Simmons © 2004 by Mark Seliger Tom Wolfe is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and I Am Charlotte Simmons. He lives in New York City. THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES. Copyright © 1987 by Tom Wolfe. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address Picador, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010. www.picadorusa.com Picador® is a U.S. registered trademark and is used by Farrar, Straus and Giroux under license from Pan Books Limited.


Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America by David Callahan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, automated trading system, Bernie Sanders, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, carried interest, clean water, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial independence, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, income inequality, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, medical malpractice, mega-rich, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor, World Values Survey

If you run a hedge fund, a tech company, or a law firm, you depend on talent that increasingly comes in all colors from all backgrounds and countries. Forty years ago, nearly three-quarters of the graduates of engineering and science doctoral programs were U.S.-born white males; now only a third are.12 The quants on Wall Street look nothing like Sherman McCoy, the pedigreed WASP protagonist of The Bonfire of the Vanities. And, increasingly, the highly educated engineers and computer scientists working in Silicon Valley look nothing like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. They are as likely to be from Madras as Massachusetts. The same trend is evident in law. In 2009, the graduating class of Harvard Law School was a quarter nonwhite, and if you were to meet all of the first-year associates at a top firm like Cravath, Moore, you’d see a snapshot of a professional upper class in rapid demographic transition.


pages: 289 words: 113,211

A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Richard Bookstaber

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, butterfly effect, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, computer age, computerized trading, disintermediation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index arbitrage, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, margin call, market bubble, market design, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, The Market for Lemons, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, yield curve, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

Corporate bonds are more complex than Treasuries for two reasons. First, unlike the U.S. government, corporations can go into default, which means credit risk is added as a consideration to yield curve dynamics. Second, there is far more liquidity risk. There are many more corporate bonds than Treasury bonds, and most corporate bonds only traded by appointment. This led, true to the caricature in Tom Wolfe’s novel Bonfire of the Vanities, to bond salesmen whose principal expertise was knowing who owned what bonds (the principal value of having done the bond underwriting) and passing these bonds from one hand to the other for a spread. Sell $100 million of bonds at a quarter-point spread, and the firm would pocket $250,000 for making a few phone calls. Success came from building up a client list and knowing what bonds these clients held.


pages: 401 words: 115,959

Philanthrocapitalism by Matthew Bishop, Michael Green, Bill Clinton

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, business process outsourcing, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, don't be evil, family office, financial innovation, full employment, global pandemic, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Dyson, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Live Aid, lone genius, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, mass affluent, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Singer: altruism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, wealth creators, winner-take-all economy, working poor, World Values Survey, X Prize

A century ago, economist Thorstein Veblen argued that the wealthy used conspicuous consumption to establish their social status; does philanthropy take that to the next level, as conspicuous nonconsumption? “Wealthy donors were generally more focused on their peers, rather than those outside their class, as the audience for their philanthropy,” concludes Ostrower in her study of philanthropists. Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities, apparently agrees and derides much of the philanthropy of the new hedge fund tycoons as ego driven. In a savage piece in Portfolio magazine in 2007, Wolfe reveled (among other things) in the difficulty that the hedge funders were having buying their way onto the boards of the citadels of old New York philanthropy. “Only halfway, halfway, halfway . . . These people have yet to actually make it into the walled city and onto the boards of the Big Four” (the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and the Frick Collection), he writes, oozing schadenfreude.


pages: 374 words: 114,600

The Quants by Scott Patterson

Albert Einstein, asset allocation, automated trading system, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Blythe Masters, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized trading, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, I will remember that I didn’t make the world, and it doesn’t satisfy my equations, index fund, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kickstarter, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Mercer, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sergey Aleynikov, short selling, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Predators' Ball, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, volatility smile, yield curve, éminence grise

An October 1987 Newsweek cover queried, “Is the Party Over? A Jolt for Wall Street’s Whiz Kids.” In December 1987, audiences in movie theaters listened to Gordon Gekko, the slimy takeover artist played by Michael Douglas, proclaim the mantra for the decade in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: “Greed is good.” A series of popular books reflecting the anti–Wall Street sentiment hit the presses: Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, Barbarians at the Gate by Wall Street Journal reporters Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, The Predators’ Ball by Connie Bruck, Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis. The quants were licking their wounds. Their wondrous invention, portfolio insurance, was roundly blamed for the meltdown. Fama’s efficient-market theory was instantly called into question. How could the market be “right” one day, then suffer a 23 percent collapse on virtually no new information the next day, then be fine the day after?


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, commoditize, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, Landlord’s Game, liberal capitalism, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Nelson Mandela, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Parag Khanna, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stocks for the long run, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, undersea cable, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

To keep the firm afloat, Lorenzo was driven to raid the municipal Monte delle Dote (a kind of mutual fund for the payment of daughters’ dowries).38 Finally, in 1494, amid the chaos of a French invasion, the family was expelled and all its property confiscated and liquidated. Blaming the Medici for the town’s misfortunes, the Dominican preacher Girolamo Savonarola called for a purgative ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’, a call answered when a mob invaded the Medici palace and burned most of the bank’s records. (Black scorch marks are still visible on the papers that survived.) As Lorenzo himself had put it in a song he composed in the 1470s: ‘If you would be happy, be so. / There is no certainty about tomorrow.’ Yet when the wealthy elite of Florence contemplated the fire-brand Savonarola and the plebeian mob as alternatives to Medici rule they soon began to feel nostalgic for the magnificent family.


pages: 602 words: 120,848

Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer-And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Paul Pierson, Jacob S. Hacker

accounting loophole / creative accounting, active measures, affirmative action, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business climate, business cycle, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, desegregation, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Martin Wolf, medical bankruptcy, moral hazard, Nate Silver, new economy, night-watchman state, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, union organizing, very high income, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce

Even more important, they pushed for an energized and cohesive party dedicated to a radical restructuring of government’s role to unleash the winner-take-all economy. The baby steps of the 1980s were ready to give way to something more ambitious. Chapter 8 Building a Bridge to the Nineteenth Century By all accounts, the 1980s was a great time to be rich. As chronicled in pop-culture movies like The Bonfire of the Vanities and Wall Street, it was a moment when capitalism’s winners took center stage. And as they did so, they revealed the contours of a new capitalism. Deal-makers and financial gamblers were supplanting captains of industry as the biggest winners of all. But the 1980s was just a warm-up act. The staggering paychecks that generated such wonder and bewilderment would have been dismissed a few years later as decidedly second-rate.


pages: 363 words: 123,076

The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution by Marc Weingarten

1960s counterculture, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, Donner party, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Haight Ashbury, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, post-work, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, working poor, yellow journalism

Boynton, interviewed the authors of these and other recent nonfiction classics for a 2005 book called The New New Journalism. With the exception of Jimmy Breslin, who continued to write a weekly column until retiring from newspaper work in November 2004, New Journalism’s greatest practitioners moved on to other pursuits. Tom Wolfe virtually gave up journalism to devote himself to novels such as The Bonfire of the Vanities and I Am Charlotte Simmons. Michael Herr has published only three smallish titles in the years since Dispatches. Since publishing Thy Neighbor’s Wife, his 1980 book about sexual mores in America, Gay Talese has written only one other book (Unto the Sons, a multigenerational saga of his own family) and has spent ten years working on the next one. A collection of his magazine pieces called The Gay Talese Reader was published in 2003.


pages: 425 words: 122,223

Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street by Peter L. Bernstein

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, corporate raider, debt deflation, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, law of one price, linear programming, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, means of production, money market fund, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Paul Samuelson, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, stochastic process, Thales and the olive presses, the market place, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, transfer pricing, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

The stock market crash of October 19, 1987 wiped out $600 billion of wealth in six and a half hours. The Brady report explained this tragedy by denouncing “mechanical, price-insensitive selling . . . concentrated in the hands of surprisingly few institutions” and proposed a series of constraints to bring the market’s penchant for wildness under control. The popular literature about the world of investment in the 1980s carries titles that reflect those events: Bonfire of the Vanities, Barbarians at the Gates, The Predators’ Ball, and Liars’ Poker. The main characters are arrogant, greedy, cynical, and shady. At one point or another in their careers, they grow rich beyond the dreams of most of us—largely because they have profited from the new technologies, novel financial instruments, and mysterious investment strategies that emerged from the revolution in finance and investing.


pages: 224 words: 91,918

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Asilomar, Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, edge city, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Menlo Park, Ronald Reagan, stakhanovite, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen

Of the many other people I talked to or corresponded with, I particularly want to mention Vic Lovell, Paul Sawyer, Paul Krassner, Pat Hallinan, Brian Rohan, Paul Robertson, Jerry Garcia, Gary Goldhill, Michael Bowen, Anne Severson, Paul Hawken, Bill Tara, Michael Laton, Jack the Fluke, Bill Graham, John Bartholomew Tucker, Roger Grimsby, Marshall Efron, Robin White, Larry McMurtry, Larry Schiller, Donovan Bess, Carl Lehmann-Haupt, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kesey. About the Author TOM WOLFE is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and A Man in Full. A native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B.A. at Washington and Lee University and a Ph.D. in American studies at Yale. He lives in New York City.


pages: 421 words: 128,094

King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone by David Carey

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset allocation, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, margin call, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, risk tolerance, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Sand Hill Road, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, The Predators' Ball, éminence grise

The CEO of an unnamed $125 billion corporation, he told the audience, was tired of the hassles of answering to the public markets and said to him, “Geez, I wish you could buy us, but we’re too big.” It was Schwarzman’s sixtieth birthday party on February 13 that elevated him from being one more Wall Street bigwig to a symbol. It transformed him into a cliché for the age and a punching bag. The scale of the bash stunned even jaded Wall Streeters, and to the man in the street the extravagance reinforced every negative stereotype of financiers. It was the reality version of Bonfire of the Vanities, and the press had a field day, for the event encapsulated the power and wealth of private equity and of the small band of men who controlled its biggest firms. The potential political fallout from the party worried Henry Silverman, the ex-Blackstone partner who had left to run Cendant. He says he bluntly asked Schwarzman, “Why would you do this?” Silverman was involved in a business group that lobbied in Washington and he knew that there were people in Congress who were looking at ways to raise taxes on hedge fund and private equity partners.


How I Became a Quant: Insights From 25 of Wall Street's Elite by Richard R. Lindsey, Barry Schachter

Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, computerized markets, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, Donald Knuth, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, John von Neumann, linear programming, Loma Prieta earthquake, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, performance metric, prediction markets, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, sorting algorithm, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, stochastic process, systematic trading, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the scientific method, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, transfer pricing, value at risk, volatility smile, Wiener process, yield curve, young professional

.): Stochastic Optimization Models in Finance, Academic Press, 1975. 3. Myron J. Gordon: Finance, Investment and Macroeconomics: The Neoclassical and a Post Keynesian Solution (London: Edward Elgar, 1994). 4. “You see, Daddy didn’t bake the cake, and Daddy isn’t the one who gets to eat it. But he gets to slice the cake and hand it out. And when he does, little golden crumbs fall off the cake. And Daddy gets to eat those.” This extract from Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities captures the essence of a lot of investment finance. We slice up raw financial returns and create return distributions that suit people’s portfolios. Thus, for example, a collection of bonds is analogous to a side of beef, the senior tranches of a CDO are like steak, and the junior tranches are like sausages, all priced accordingly with something left over for us. Like sushi masters, we have elevated “slicing” to an art. 5.


pages: 518 words: 143,914

God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World by John Micklethwait, Adrian Wooldridge

affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, David Brooks, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, global supply chain, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, industrial cluster, intangible asset, invisible hand, Iridium satellite, Jane Jacobs, joint-stock company, knowledge economy, liberation theology, low skilled workers, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, oil shock, Peace of Westphalia, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, stem cell, supply-chain management, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus

John Rawls, Harvard’s leading political philosopher, argued that people should set aside their religious views before they could participate in the public square.2 Religion was even out of favor in schools of religion: a report by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1976 found that fewer than half of the graduates of the country’s top five divinity schools—Harvard, Yale, Chicago, Vanderbilt and New York’s Union Theological Seminary—went on to work for the church or engage in further study of religion, down from four-fifths a couple of decades earlier.3 In 1988, fresh from his triumph with The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe told students at Harvard, not entirely happily, that they lived in an era of “freedom from religion.”4 Now God is returning to intellectual life. The revival was supercharged by September 11. After the terrorist attacks large numbers of what David Brooks of The New York Times has diagnosed as “recovering secularists”5 went back to church, and religious courses in universities swelled dramatically.


The Cleaner: The True Story of One of the World’s Most Successful Money Launderers by Bruce Aitken

air freight, airport security, Asian financial crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, Maui Hawaii, offshore financial centre, profit motive, risk/return, South China Sea

They opened the trunk and dropped in my little hand-carry luggage. This was the exact moment that Cowboy was savoring to repeat, yet again, in front of all to hear. “Oh, by the way,” he said casually while all the others laughed, “Did I tell you? I may have forgotten. I have some more good news for you. You just got indicted in Seattle!” It was true; a “Sealed Indictment.” I replied that years earlier I had read a book called Bonfire of the Vanities, where it pointed out that a grand jury in the USA could indict a ham sandwich. I said, “Now I know what a ham sandwich feels like.” It went over their heads. A rogue prosecution, a rogue system of justice, a rogue government! It was close to noon when we arrived downtown at what I was told was the Federal Building; I had a sinking feeling as we drove into the underground car park. (My mood contrasted totally with that of the almost festive mood of the agents.


pages: 1,123 words: 328,357

Post Wall: Rebuilding the World After 1989 by Kristina Spohr

American Legislative Exchange Council, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, colonial exploitation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, G4S, Kickstarter, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, open economy, price stability, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, software patent, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas L Friedman, Transnistria, uranium enrichment, zero-coupon bond

Libal Limits pp. 78–9; Genscher Erinnerungen p. 958 Back to text 151. Both From Indifference pp. 131–2 Hella Pick ‘Early Recognition “Is Unstoppable”’ Guardian 5.12.1991 Back to text 152. Serge Schmemann ‘Declaring Death of Soviet Union, Russia and 2 Republics Form New Commonwealth’ NYT 9.12.1991; Celestine Bohlen ‘The Union is Buried: What’s Being Born?’ NYT 9.12.1991. See also David C. Gompert ‘Bonfire of the Vanities: An American Insider’s Take on the Collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia’ in Hamilton & Spohr (eds) Exiting the Cold War, Entering a New World Back to text 153. Glaurdic The Hour pp. 259–60 Back to text 154. Kohl Erinnerungen 1990–1994 pp. 385–90; Favier & Martin-Roland La Décennie Mitterrand iv pp. 227–33. Cf. Alan Riding ‘West Europeans Gather to Seek a Tighter Union’ NYT 9.12.1991; idem ‘Europeans Accept a Single Currency and Bank by 1999’ NYT 10.12.1991; idem ‘Europe at Crossroads – Leaders Return from Meetings Confident That Region Will Move Onward to Union’ NYT 12.12.1991.

. + cover note Gompert to Tim Niles et al. 31.3.1992; Memorandum from Lowenkron to Howe 26.3.1992; Memorandum from Gompert to Zoellick et al. – US National Security Interests in Europe Beyond the NATO Area 7.2.1992; NATO and the East: Key issues (Secret) 7pp. (undated [early 1992] – no author). See also Daniel Hamilton & Kristina Spohr (eds) Open Door: NATO and Euro-Atlantic Security after the Cold War Brookings Institution Press 2019 pp. viii–xx; Gompert ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ Back to text 248. Cf. Piers Robinson The CNN Effect: The Myth of News, Foreign Policy and Intervention Routledge 2002; idem ‘The CNN Effect: Can the News Media Drive Foreign Policy?’ Review of International Studies 25, 2 (April 1999) pp. 301–9; Jonathan Mermin ‘Myth of Media-Driven Foreign Policy’ Political Science Quarterly 112, 3 (autumn 1997) pp. 385–403; Steven Livingston & Todd Eachus ‘Humanitarian Crises and US Foreign Policy: Somalia and the CNN Effect Reconsidered’ Political Communication 12, 4 (1995) pp. 413–29; Bernard C.


pages: 1,061 words: 341,217

The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal by William D. Cohan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, David Brooks, fixed income, medical malpractice, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, union organizing

There are at least two different scenarios, with vastly different implications for everyone involved.” Meadows and Thomas then described the facts of the case, as found in Gottlieb’s affidavit, and how Nifong “publicly criticized” the players for failing to testify about the alleged rape. “There is, however, possibly a different side to the story—a chapter from another Tom Wolfe novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, a tale of a prosecutor exploiting racial tensions with a trumped-up charge.” Newsweek quoted Joe Cheshire, who said Nifong had “unfairly tried the players in the media” as part of his reelection strategy, since one of his principal opponents was a woman. “The real story,” Cheshire said, “is how he pandered to the public to stir up race and class division.” Meadows and Thomas wrote that if Zash, Flannery, and Evans had “anything to hide” after the party at their house on the night of March 13, “they didn’t act like it.”

., 28–29 Beta House fraternity, 611 Beusse, Edwin, 427 Bilas, Jay, 408, 587–88 Birnbach, Lisa, 144 Bishop, Keith, 195, 251, 252, 253, 283, 372 Bissey, Jason, 13, 20, 23, 60 Bissinger, Buzz, 11, 360–62 Black, Freda, 81, 195, 251–52, 282, 372, 523, 556–57, 559 Black Majority (Wood), 141 Black Student Alliance, 408 Blair, Jayson, 394, 403 Bland, Rayone, 186 Bliwise, Robert, 40, 42, 321 Bloom, Harold, 151 Bloxsom, Jeffrey O., 199–200, 280, 284, 302–3, 355, 383 Blue, Dan, 348 Boehmler, William Blake, 122 Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe), 239 Boomer Esiason Foundation, 602 Boone, Wanda, 337 Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm, 159 Bordley, Rob, 275–76, 366 Bork, Bob, Jr., 590 Bostock, Roy, 214 Boston Celtics, 3 Botnick, Marvin, 288 Bowen, William, 214, 219 report of, 317–18, 340, 376, 387 Boyd, Mark, 48 Boyer, Peter, 143, 161, 397–99 Bradley, Ed, 403–4, 410, 437, 474 Brammell, Shirika, 244 Brawley, Tawana, 258, 259, 273, 281 Breaux, Kevin, 51 Brenhouse, Shawn, 219 Breschi, Joe, 210 Brewer, Beth, 425 civil affidavit against Nifong, 485–86, 548 Brocker, Douglas, 479, 540, 556–57, 558 Broder, Dr.


pages: 462 words: 151,805

Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson by Corey Seymour, Johnny Depp, Jann S. Wenner

Bonfire of the Vanities, buy low sell high, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, Mason jar, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, Y2K

JOHN WALSH, a former managing editor of Rolling Stone, is now a senior vice president and executive editor of ESPN, Inc. TEX WEAVER was a Woody Creek neighbor of Hunter’s. JANE WENNER is the wife of Jann Wenner and a vice president of Wenner Media. JANN WENNER is the founder, editor, and publisher of Rolling Stone. JOHN WILBUR is a former guard for the Washington Redskins. TOM WOLFE is the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Bonfire of the Vanities, among many other titles. BARNEY WYCOFF is an Aspen gallery owner. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Fifteen years ago, Jann charged me with being Hunter’s aide-de-camp in New York. Two and a half years ago, he directed me to compile Hunter’s life story. I’m grateful to him for the opportunity, direction, leadership, advice, wisdom, and the many good times along the way. Paul Scanlon, a Rolling Stone veteran who helped edit and shape this book into its present form from an unwieldy manuscript more than three times this size, provided genius edits and institutional knowledge, esprit de corps, and a necessary dose of sanity.


pages: 585 words: 151,239

Capitalism in America: A History by Adrian Wooldridge, Alan Greenspan

"Robert Solow", 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, air freight, Airbnb, airline deregulation, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, edge city, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, George Gilder, germ theory of disease, global supply chain, hiring and firing, income per capita, indoor plumbing, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, Mason jar, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, refrigerator car, reserve currency, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade route, transcontinental railway, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, white flight, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yom Kippur War, young professional

Much discussed though they were at the time, however, these exceptions did little to change the character of the era. THE FINANCIAL REVOLUTION Ronald Reagan inaugurated the most exuberant era on Wall Street since the 1920s. Financiers became national celebrities. Investment banks sucked in the country’s jeunesse dorée with a promise of instant riches and a glamorous life. Books such as The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) by Tom Wolfe and Liar’s Poker (1989) by Michael Lewis, as well as films such as Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987), glamorized life on the Street even as they pretended to demonize it. A tidal wave of money poured into various financial instruments as the economy expanded and people entrusted their retirement savings to the market. Meanwhile, the range and variety of those instruments expanded as financiers applied their brainpower to squeezing better returns out of their investments.


pages: 486 words: 150,849

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, always be closing, American ideology, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Sanders, blue-collar work, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Burning Man, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, centre right, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, corporate raider, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, Erik Brynjolfsson, feminist movement, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, game design, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, High speed trading, hive mind, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jitney, Joan Didion, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Picturephone, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Seaside, Florida, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, very high income, wage slave, Wall-E, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, éminence grise

I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you, go home and play with your kids,” and “What’s my name? Fuck You, that’s my name.”*1 He’s like a hellish noncommissioned officer to Gekko’s gleefully demonic general in the U.S. capitalist legion as it was then being reconstituted. In 1987 as well, some Wall Street guys started referring to themselves as Masters of the Universe, thanks to The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s novel inspired, as he said, by “the ambitious young men (there were no women) who, starting with the 1980s, began racking up millions every year—millions!—in performance bonuses at investment banks.” * * * — Suddenly in the 1980s the news media were also celebrating and glorifying real-life big businessmen as they hadn’t since the 1950s and early ’60s—in fact, as they really hadn’t since the 1910s and ’20s.


pages: 551 words: 174,280

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch

agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Johannes Kepler, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, Thales of Miletus, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam, zero-sum game

Frequent fasting became effectively compulsory. Homosexuality and prostitution were violently suppressed. The Jews of Florence were expelled. Gangs of ruffians inspired by Savonarola roamed the city searching for taboo artefacts such as mirrors, cosmetics, musical instruments, secular books, and almost anything beautiful. A huge pile of such treasures was ceremonially burned in the so-called ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ in the centre of the city. Botticelli is said to have thrown some of his own paintings into the fire. It was the bonfire of optimism. Eventually Savonarola was himself discarded and burned at the stake. But, although the Medici regained control of Florence, optimism did not. As in Athens, the tradition of art and science continued for a while, and, even a century later, Galileo was sponsored (and then abandoned) by the Medici.


pages: 552 words: 163,292

Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, Etonian, high net worth, index card, Jane Jacobs, mass immigration, NetJets, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, rolodex, Silicon Valley, tulip mania, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, Works Progress Administration

Lisa Schiff somehow fell in with actor and collector Leonardo DiCaprio. Often, the same artist’s work popped up in one client’s home after another. “All of my clients have a Christopher Wool,” Schiff acknowledged. “But I am very happy about that overlap.”35 For this new breed of art advisor, Art Basel Miami Beach was the market’s new epicenter, starting in December 2002. “That was the real bonfire of the vanities,” Schiff noted. “Suddenly there was this excitement about contemporary art. I was quite young, so I wasn’t on top of what was happening at auctions.” But in Miami, Schiff didn’t need to be. The game was in hearing who bought what in the opening minutes of Art Basel Miami Beach, and then snapping up those same artists before everyone else did. Don and Mera Rubell, who had lobbied hard for Art Basel Miami Beach, had come a long way since their $25 art buying trips to the East Village.


Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Sixth Edition by Kindleberger, Charles P., Robert Z., Aliber

active measures, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, break the buck, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, death of newspapers, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, edge city, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Honoré de Balzac, Hyman Minsky, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, large denomination, law of one price, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, price stability, railway mania, Richard Thaler, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, telemarketer, The Chicago School, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, very high income, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

A large part of the excess of the actual costs over the costs that would have been incurred if the failed thrifts had been closed in a timely manner resulted from the costs of closing down failed thrifts that had become major buyers of junk bonds. Milken and his family became billionaires and he probably remained one even after paying a fine or penalty of $550 million and spending thirty months in a federal ‘country club’ (minimum-security prison). Fact and fiction about junk bonds Corporate takeovers and junk bonds led to an interesting literature. Consider the titles of both the fiction and the non-fiction. Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities is a remarkable description of the values of New York’s financial elite. Predator’s Ball by Connie Bruck is a description of an annual party for the buyers and sellers of junk bonds. Barbarians at the Gate is a tale about the would-be takeover of RJR Nabisco; it is hard to decide whether the would-be acquirers or the target was less attractive. The title of James Stewart’s Den of Thieves offers a clue to the story of Milken and his friends.


pages: 584 words: 187,436

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, index fund, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, the new new thing, too big to fail, transaction costs

By 1990 Meriwether’s team included Robert Merton and Myron Scholes, who would later win the Nobel Prize for their pioneering work on options pricing. In the mid-1980s, most Salomon partners had not gone to college, much less a PhD program.4 The personification of the firm’s trading culture was Craig Coats Jr., a tall, handsome, charismatic stud believed by many to be the model for the hero in Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. Coats ran Salomon’s government-bond trading the old-fashioned way: While Meriwether’s professors debated whether the relationship between two bonds was out of its normal range, or whether the volatility of a bond price was likely to decelerate, Coats’s main tool was a firm belief in his own instincts. But remarkably quickly, the superiority of Meriwether’s professors became obvious. By the end of the 1980s, the small quasi faculty accounted for 90 percent of the profits at Salomon.


pages: 388 words: 211,074

Pauline Frommer's London: Spend Less, See More by Jason Cochran

Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, British Empire, congestion charging, David Attenborough, Etonian, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Haight Ashbury, haute couture, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Kickstarter, low cost airline, Nelson Mandela, Skype, urban planning

Among the museum’s many noteworthy holdings: Sainsbury Wing u Piero della Francesca, one of the most sought-after Renaissance painters (there’s only one of his works on display in the entire United States), is represented by The Baptism of Christ (1450s, at press time it was in room 66) with its advanced use of light and foreshortening. The faces of its subjects verge on bemusement, and the dove, representing the Holy Spirit, seems to fly into viewers’ faces. 09_308691-ch05.qxp 146 u 12/23/08 Chapter 5 9:17 PM Page 146 Why You’re Here: The Sights of London In his later years, Sandro Botticelli fell under the spell of the hardline reformer Savonarola. He burned many of his finest paintings in the Bonfire of the Vanities and changed to an inferior style, so his best works are rare; Venus and Mars (1485, room 58), depicting the lovers reclining, is one of them, and it’s in a room full of others. The Main Building The Gallery has four Michelangelos. The Entombment (around 1500, room 8) is unfinished but one of the most powerful. The feminine figure in the red gown is now thought to be St. John, but it’s hard to know for sure, since the artist favored strong masculine traits. u Kids love Holbein’s The Ambassadors (1533, room 4), full of symbolic riddles and famous for a stretched image of a skull that can only be viewed in proper perspective from the right of the painting; and the hideous, porcine old lady in A Grotesque Old Woman (1525–30), thought to be a satire on ladies who try to look younger than they are. u Nearby is Hans Holbein The Younger’s oil-on-oak portrait of Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan (1538), painted for King Henry VIII when he was wife-shopping.


pages: 823 words: 220,581

Debunking Economics - Revised, Expanded and Integrated Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? by Steve Keen

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, cellular automata, central bank independence, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, collective bargaining, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Henri Poincaré, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, iterative process, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market microstructure, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, place-making, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, seigniorage, six sigma, South Sea Bubble, stochastic process, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, total factor productivity, tulip mania, wage slave, zero-sum game

Given the poor response of the economy to the stimulus and QE1, I think it’s reasonable to argue that it’s time Obama – and politicians in general – looked elsewhere for their economic advice. From tranquility to breakdown To a neoclassical economist, the most striking aspect of the Great Recession was the speed with which apparent tranquility gave way to sudden breakdown. With notable, noble exceptions like Nouriel Roubini, Robert Shiller, Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, economists paid little attention to the obvious Bonfire of the Vanities taking place in asset markets, so in a sense they didn’t see the warning signs, which were obvious to many others, that this would all end in tears. My model, in contrast, is one in which the Great Moderation and the Great Recession are merely different phases in the same process of debt-financed speculation, which causes a period of initial volatility to give way to damped oscillations as rising debt transfers income from workers to bankers, and then total breakdown occurs when debt reaches a level at which capitalists become insolvent.


The Rough Guide to New York City by Martin Dunford

Anton Chekhov, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Buckminster Fuller, buttonwood tree, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, desegregation, Donald Trump, East Village, Edward Thorp, Exxon Valdez, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, market bubble, Norman Mailer, paper trading, post-work, Saturday Night Live, sustainable-tourism, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, Yogi Berra, young professional

Edith Wharton Age of Innocence. A withering, deftly drawn picture of New York high society at the turn of the twentieth century and how rigid social convention keeps two sensitive, ill-fated lovers apart. See also Wharton’s astounding House of Mirth and her classic stories Old New York. Paul Rudnick Social Disease. Hilarious, often incredible send-up of Manhattan night-owls. Very New York, very funny. Tom Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities. Set all around New York City, this sprawling novel skewers 1980s statusmongers to great effect. 445 New York on film ith its skyline and rugged facades, its mean streets and swanky avenues, its electric energy and edgy attitude, New York City is a natural-born movie star. From the silent era’s cautionary tales of young lovers ground down by the metropolis, through the smoky location-shot noirs of the 1940s, right through to the Lower East Side indies of the past twenty years, New York has probably been the most filmed city on earth.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

As I mentioned in chapter 2, the human moral sense is not particularly moral; it encourages dehumanization (“politicians are pigs”) and punitive aggression (“make the polluters pay”). Also, by conflating profligacy with evil and asceticism with virtue, the moral sense can sanctify pointless displays of sacrifice.58 In many cultures people flaunt their righteousness with vows of fasting, chastity, self-abnegation, bonfires of the vanities, and animal (or sometimes human) sacrifice. Even in modern societies—according to studies I’ve done with the psychologists Jason Nemirow, Max Krasnow, and Rhea Howard—people esteem others according to how much time or money they forfeit in their altruistic acts rather than by how much good they accomplish.59 Much of the public chatter about mitigating climate change involves voluntary sacrifices like recycling, reducing food miles, unplugging chargers, and so on.


pages: 920 words: 237,085

Rick Steves Florence & Tuscany 2017 by Rick Steves

active transport: walking or cycling, Airbnb, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, carbon footprint, Dava Sobel, Google Hangouts, index card, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Murano, Venice glass, new economy, place-making, Skype, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wikimedia commons, young professional

Upstairs are 43 cells decorated by Fra Angelico and his assistants. While the monk/painter was trained in the medieval religious style, he also learned and adopted Renaissance techniques and sensibilities, producing works that blended Christian symbols and Renaissance realism. Don’t miss the cell of Savonarola, the charismatic monk who rode in from the Christian right, threw out the Medici, turned Florence into a theocracy, sponsored “bonfires of the vanities” (burning books, paintings, and so on), and was finally burned himself when Florence decided to change channels. Cost and Hours: €4, free and crowded on first Sun of the month, covered by Firenze Card, Tue-Fri 8:15-13:50, Sat 8:15-16:50; also open 8:15-13:50 on first, third, and fifth Mon and 8:15-16:50 on second and fourth Sun of each month; reservations possible but unnecessary, on Piazza San Marco, tel. 055-238-8608.


pages: 790 words: 253,035

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Donald Trump, family office, interchangeable parts, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, obamacare, out of africa, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, union organizing

The script was credited to Beatty and Robert Towne, legendary big-time CAA client and writer of Chinatown, with another major CAA client, Glenn Gordon Caron—creator of Moonlighting for ABC-TV and director of the critically acclaimed Clean and Sober—brought in to helm. Ovitz had personally recruited Caron to the agency. GLENN GORDON CARON, Writer and Director: I came out to California in ’79 and my agent was Elliot Webb, who at that time was at ICM. I’d always been with Elliot and felt this tremendous sense of loyalty to him. ELLIOT WEBB: Terry Semel was close to Ovitz at that time and approved Glenn to write Bonfire of the Vanities, but Glenn wanted to write it and direct it. That started off a whirlwind romance with CAA because Ovitz had that information and he used it to his best advantage. Glenn was making a leap into motion pictures and I was pretty much in the television business. He wrote and was directing the Michael Keaton movie Clean and Sober. I’d go to dailies every day, but Ovitz was feeding him information that I had no way of knowing because I was new to the motion picture business.


pages: 1,169 words: 342,959

New York by Edward Rutherfurd

Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, illegal immigration, margin call, millennium bug, out of africa, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, the market place, urban renewal, white picket fence, Y2K, young professional

And as the eighties progressed, New York had been booming. It was the stock market that was booming. The market and all the service industries, including the law firms, that went with it. In ’84, the market had experienced its first million share trading day. Traders, brokers, anyone dealing in shares or bonds had the opportunity to make a fortune. It was all beautifully summarized in Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities, which had just hit the best-seller lists as Maggie’s pregnancy began. Greed was everywhere. Greed was exciting. Successful greedy men were heroes. Greed was good. But Gorham had to ask himself: Had he been greedy enough? Sometimes, sitting in his office, he’d take out the silver Morgan dollar his grandmother had given him and stare at it sadly. Would the Masters in times past, the merchants and owners of privateers, and speculators in property and land, would they have sat quietly in a corporate office and taken a salary—all right, a salary with bonus and stock options—but would they have been so cautious when others were making rapid fortunes?


pages: 1,797 words: 390,698

Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan by Lynne B. Sagalyn

affirmative action, airport security, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, estate planning, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, informal economy, intermodal, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, place-making, rent control, Rosa Parks, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, the High Line, time value of money, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, white flight, young professional

On July 15, Rampe called the architects to a meeting at LMDC headquarters on the twentieth floor of 1 Liberty Plaza in a room overlooking Ground Zero. Childs came with one of his SOM partners and John “Janno” Lieber, Silverstein executive in charge of the Trade Center project. Libeskind came with his lawyer, Edward W. Hayes, a hard-charging incisive veteran of political battles, who was a model for the lawyer Tommy Killian in Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. Hayes understood the dynamic of power after being around the city’s development battles for thirty-five years. His job, he said, was to lead Libeskind “though the jungles of New York without getting ambushed and eaten alive.” On what was ahead, he was razor-sharp: “There are people that reach positions of power, and as far as they’re concerned, we’re just players on a chessboard. And if we have to get run over, they run us right over.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The section of downtown Boston not far from where I now live was called the Combat Zone because of its endemic muggings and stabbings. Urbanites quit other American cities in droves, leaving burned-out cores surrounded by rings of suburbs, exurbs, and gated communities. Books, movies, and television series used intractable urban violence as their backdrop, including Little Murders, Taxi Driver, The Warriors, Escape from New York, Fort Apache the Bronx, Hill Street Blues, and Bonfire of the Vanities. Women enrolled in self-defense courses to learn how to walk with a defiant gait, to use their keys, pencils, and spike heels as weapons, and to execute karate chops or jujitsu throws to overpower an attacker, role-played by a volunteer in a Michelinman-tire suit. Red-bereted Guardian Angels patrolled the parks and the transit system, and in 1984 Bernhard Goetz, a mild-mannered engineer, became a folk hero for shooting four young muggers in a New York subway car.


pages: 1,336 words: 415,037

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, global village, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, Honoré de Balzac, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index fund, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, money market fund, moral hazard, NetJets, new economy, New Journalism, North Sea oil, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, random walk, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration, Y2K, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

In New York, their righteously indignant neighbors sued them when an allegedly unauthorized crane appeared on their penthouse terrace to hoist a twenty-two-foot, five-hundred-pound Christmas tree into the Gutfreunds’ living room.68 Thus did Susan Gutfreund become 1980s Nouvelle Society’s most beloved object of parody. The Gutfreunds graced magazine covers and Susan earned a role in Tom Wolfe’s roman à clef, The Bonfire of the Vanities.69 Susan’s friends defended her, but however overdone the satire might be, nobody, not even her husband, questioned that this outpouring of opulence had diverted his attention, at least a little bit.70 A corporate history published around this time included a telling remark. Instead of making a decision and expecting others to follow, it said Gutfreund “liked to involve the people who would be affected” and “would bend over backward to make them comfortable with what was to be done.”


Italy by Damien Simonis

active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, bike sharing scheme, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, congestion charging, discovery of the americas, Frank Gehry, haute couture, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, large denomination, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, period drama, Peter Eisenman, Skype, spice trade, starchitect, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

His bloodcurdling warnings of horrors to come if Florentines did not renounce their evil ways somehow captured everyone’s imagination and the city now submitted to a fiery theocracy. He called on the government to act on the basis of his divine inspiration. Drinking, whoring, partying, gambling, wearing flashy clothes and other signs of wrongdoing were pushed well underground. Books, clothes, jewellery, fancy furnishings and art were burned on ‘bonfires of the vanities’. Bands of children marched around the city ferreting out adults still attached to their old habits and possessions. Pleasure-loving Florentines soon began to tire of this fundamentalism, as did Pope Alexander VI (possibly the least religiously inclined pope of all time) and the rival Franciscan religious order. The local economy was stagnant and Savonarola seemed increasingly out to lunch with his claims of being God’s special emissary.