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Description of Wall Street: How It Works and for Whom from Verso
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A scathing dissection of the wheeling and dealing in the world’s greatest financial center. Spot rates, zero coupons, blue chips, futures, options on futures, indexes, options on indexes. The vocabulary of a financial market can seem arcane, even impenetrable. Yet despite its opacity, financial news and comment is ubiquitous. Major national newspapers devote pages of newsprint to the financial sector and television news invariably features a visit to the market for the latest prices. Does this prodigious flow of information have significance for anyone except the tiny percentage of people who have significant holdings of stocks or bonds? And if it does, can non-specialists ever hope to understand what the markets are up to? To these questions Wall Street answers an emphatic yes. Its author Doug Henwood is a notorious scourge of the stock exchange in the pages of his acerbic publication Left Business Observer. The Newsletter has received wide acclamation from J.K. Galbraith, among others, and occasional less favorable comment. Norman Pearlstine, then executive editor of the Wall Street Journal, lamented, ‘You are scum ... it’s tragic that you exist.’ With compelling clarity, Henwood dissects the world’s greatest financial center, laying open the intricacies of how, and for whom, the market works. The Wall Street which emerges is not a pretty sight. Hidden from public view, the markets are poorly regulated, badly managed, chronically myopic and often corrupt. And though, as Henwood reveals, their activity contributes almost nothing to the real economy where goods are made and jobs created, they nevertheless wield enormous power. With over a trillion dollars a day crossing the wires between the world’s banks, Wall Street and its sister financial centers don’t just influence government, effectively they are the government.
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