Wall Street’s Castration Not Just Metaphorical


If you didn't get around to reading Gabe Sherman's great story in last week's issue of New York about how Dodd-Frank is reshaping the financial industry, you should definitely do it. Sherman argues that the new regulations, especially the capital requirements, are, as one Wall Streeter memorably put it, "castrating" the industry.

With that in mind, it was amusing to read, in the Financial Times, that financial executives are seeking out testosterone injections:

Dr Bissoon, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, now specializes in treating men for testosterone deficiency. While impotence is often thought of as the main symptom of low levels of the hormone, it turns out that financial executives are hoping the hormone will sharpen their faculties and make them more competitive in the workplace at a time when many companies are sending underperforming employees into early retirement.

Risk-taking behavior is associated with testosterone. Sherman's point — that Wall Street feels castrated — is very much of a piece with macho guys who have lost, or had diminished, something that is both the source and the result of testosterone. The feeling of castration is apparently all too visceral.