Thursday, March 8, 2012

Follow the money

I bought this book a few years back but never got around to reading to it.  Maybe I should in honor of the founding of the New York Stock Exchange.

TRY a multiple choice question. Which phrase best describes Wall Street: (a) a den of thieves; (b) the engine room of innovation; (c) a conspiracy of oligarchs; (d) Babylon on the Hudson (e) the yellow brick road to a property-owning democracy?

In his rollicking history over two centuries, Steve Fraser nominates all of the above. He is notably assiduous. He plots the roller coasters of boom and bust from the panics of 1792, 1837, 1873 and 1893, through the Jazz Age and the Great Depression to the ''socially negligent and narcissistic'' second Gilded Age of the Reagan 80's and on to today's ''shareholder nation.'' 

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