Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tragic?

Chris Briem made an excellent point about just how massive the fallout of this recession is. After pointing out that many people are claiming that we shouldn't panic because there hasn't been a one day drop like the one in October 1987, he stirs the pot with this:
How big a drop has wall street endured… another way to look at it is to ask how much growth has there not been on Wall Street for some time. One way to look at the drop today. The level the Dow close at today was first hit in April of 1999. The Nasdaq was nearly twice its current value as far back as 2000. To put that in some perspective, the October 1987 crash put Dow Jones back to where it had been less than a year to a year and a half earlier.
In the wake of that sentiment why do I have a question mark after tragic in the title? Because I'm not so sure that it is. Most of the problem in this recession is the brokerage houses, not the things listed on Wall Street, but Wall Street itself. Brokerage houses are largely being replaced by the individual investor (by being part of a venture capital fund or buying stocks on eTrade) and the hedge fund. If brokerage houses are becoming less and less essential to the economy, it would make sense that they are having more and more trouble finding money. When you combine that with the fact that some of the most brilliant (and most expensive) people in the world are employed by these brokerage houses, they're sure to be running a deficit.

This recession will force Wall Street to evaluate which people it really needs. Rumors are swirling that as many as 150,000 people on or associated with Wall Street will be looking for work. This is good for the economy, not because it's fun to look for work, but because there are other professions that need their skills more. THIS is how a market economy redistributes its work force. I noticed a venture capital firm in NYC has seen this on one level or another and started a website www. Leave Wall Street Join a Start Up.com.

No comments: