Archive

Money

21 October 2013

What was happening was that the pay scale for finance was just—incredibly out of whack. You had guys who were literally just a couple of years out of college, maybe they’d done a year or two at an investment bank, making several hundred thousand dollars a year doing pretty low-value-added Excel-modeling tasks. More…

7 January 2013

This morning, the New York Times reported that Bank of America agreed to pay “more than $10 billion to Fannie Mae to settle claims over troubled mortgages.” We’ve excerpted the following letters from The Trouble Is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street, the latest small book from n+1. Written by people who were directly affected by Bank of America’s decisions, these letters offer human testament to an inhuman sum. More…

22 November 2012

WE HAVE LOST OUR MINDS WE ARE SLASHING PRICES WE HAVE ALL THESE BOOKS WE NEED TO SELL THEM DON’T TRY TO STOP US IT’S BLACK FRIDAY AND ALL THIS STUFF NEEDS TO GO GO GO. Plus we think it’ll make nice holiday gifts for just about everyone in the family, so you can stay home, eat leftovers, and read. More…

30 April 2012

We have this curious system whereby the US has this gigantic empire, which we can’t call an empire, the places that we occupy are sending us money, which we can’t call tribute so we call it a loan. And we’re supposed to think this is just a problem with the balance of trade. It has nothing to do with the fact that we have this gigantic army sitting on top of them. More…

7 November 2011

Unable to imagine the past except in the form of costume dramas or to think of the future except in terms of far-off collapse, our era has suffered from a blocked political imagination. For twenty years we flattered or rued our condition as the end of history. But present-day civilization reflects arrangements exceptional in human history—and perhaps equally fragile. More…

25 April 2011

If tuition has increased astronomically and the portion of money spent on instruction and student services has fallen, if the (at very least comparative) market value of a degree has dipped and most students can no longer afford to enjoy college as a period of intellectual adventure, then at least one more thing is clear: higher education, for-profit or not, has increasingly become a scam. More…

18 April 2011

If there is anyone working a job who would stop doing that job should his income—and all his richest compatriots’ incomes—drop to $100,000 a year, he should not be doing that job. He should never have been doing that job—for his own life’s sake. More…

16 December 2010

I made a lot of inaccurate predictions in the book, which we left in. I guess honesty’s important. But one that was correct, I think, was that I felt like there was this credit heart attack, a real collapse of economic activity, and that after the restoration to normal, of the basic plumbing of credit, you would see a bounce back of activity, you would see an inventory restocking, but you’re still going to hit a wall. More…

15 December 2010

My new life is substantially more relaxing than my old life. I moved to Austin. I am enjoying a life of leisure down there. It’s amazing how little I miss New York. I thought I would miss it more than I do. Maybe it’s just that I’m more adaptable than I think. But Austin’s a great town. It’s very laid back. I wonder how much of what I thought was finance driving me crazy was really New York. More…

28 July 2010

Look, the interview process is short, relative to how long you’re going to have to live with these people, right? And almost anybody with any amount of self-control can portray themselves as someone completely different through the space of five or six interviews. But, not everybody’s such a sociopath and is willing to do that just for a job. More…

2 July 2010

And I always used to think that the reason that financial markets’ memory is so short is not because individuals are short-sighted or they easily forget lessons bought at very high cost, but that the average life of an investor is kind of like the life of a mayfly, I mean, they just turn over really fast. More…

25 June 2010

Suddenly, you see Link 1 go. You’re like, “Holy cow. Six months ago I thought that was a 1 percent probability, but now it’s just happened, well, maybe the next link isn’t a 1 percent probability, it’s a much higher probability, and now if I multiply all these probabilities together, there’s like a meaningful probability that we could get blown up!” More…

24 June 2010

People talk about corruption, but really effective corruption requires something like organization. Like Argentina. It’s organized, it’s very organized corruption. Africa is certainly corrupt. But it’s more that it was chaotic. The infrastructure is poor, volatility is high. In Africa, anything can happen. More…

23 June 2010

What was happening was that the pay scale for finance was just—incredibly out of whack. You had guys who were literally just a couple of years out of college, maybe they’d done a year or two at an investment bank, making several hundred thousand dollars a year doing pretty low-value-added Excel-modeling tasks. More…

22 June 2010

I had never heard of Bernie Madoff, OK? But one of the guys here who is very active in the options world, which is what Bernie Madoff was allegedly trading, as soon as the headline came across—it didn’t say what he was arrested for—he said two things. He said, “I knew it, I knew that guy was a fraud.” And the second thing he said was, “This is going to be huge. This is going to be the biggest thing ever.” More…

21 June 2010

Ah, yes, but here’s the question. Who paid that Mexican guy to hammer together those houses? Well, the developer. Where did the developer get the money from? The developer got the money from a bank. Where did the bank get the money from? The bank got the money from a depositor. The depositor doesn’t think he spent the money. The depositor still thinks he has a claim on the money, right? More…

25 November 2008

n+1: All right, let’s get to it. Is America now a Third World country? HFM: No, we’re a First World country with a weak currency. From time to time, the dollar’s been very weak; from time to time, it’s very strong; and unfortunately what tends to happen is people tend to just extrapolate. But over the very long term, currency processes tend to be fairly stable and mean-reverting. More…

Originally published in Issue 7: Correction

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1 April 2008

It’s been a really turbulent couple of weeks. Obviously the market has been in some, uh, degree of crisis since the last time we spoke, but what’s new is that it’s really been spreading … The particular market that I trade, I’ve seen prices much more distressed than they are today. But I’ve never seen the financial system as a whole more distressed. More…

31 July 2007

The result is intentionally grand: Art Deco bathhouses built from Ohio sandstone and Barbizon brick, pristine dunes hand-planted with beach grass to prevent erosion, and, most dramatically, the water tower, an Italianate obelisk that rises majestically from the beach’s infinite flatness, for an effect that, even from miles away, imparts upon visitors a sense of arrival. More…

11 April 2006

When you consider the modesty of the current reform and the vehemence of the reaction against it, you begin to suspect there’s more at stake than just the CPE. Though directed at a single issue, the demonstrations seem more like a mass expression of anxiety over an unexpected future. The word for this future is globalization. More…

12 March 2006

How much money does a writer need? In New York, a young writer can get by on $25,000, give or take, depending on thriftiness. A slightly older young writer—a 30-year-old—will need another $10,000 to keep up appearances. But that’s New York. There are places where a person can live on twelve or thirteen thousand a year—figures so small they can be written out. More…

20 April 2004

Did you know that at one point David Denby owned almost as many shares of ImClone as Martha Stewart? He did. In fact, they had a lot in common. Like Martha, Denby was friends with Sam Waksal, the scientist turned founder of ImClone, developer of the cancer drug Erbitux. “We own colorectal cancer,” Waksal once told Denby over lunch in Soho. “We’ll be a leader in pancreatic cancer. And we’ll be a player in lung cancer.” More…