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Postapocalyptic Wall Street

A new financial world emerges from the wreckage.

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It wasn’t actually the Apocalypse. But the near collapse of the world financial system in the fall of 2008 was biblical. Institutions were felled. Expectations were defied. Leaders were exposed as charlatans, megalomaniacs, or incompetents. Trusted figures like Alan Greenspan, whose wisdom was thought to be infallible, were revealed, like the Wizard of Oz, to be mere little old men. The haunting sight of the most powerful people in the world staring into the abyss and asking, “What do we do now?” was something that no one wanted ever to see again. The first step to prevent a recurrence was simply to banish those who had a role in causing the crisis (unless they were needed to help unravel the complex problems they helped create). But who would replace them? For now, it seems, power has gone to those who grabbed it. For those of us sitting on the sidelines, the gaudy spectacle of this upheaval has been both horrifying and strangely entertaining, like watching a dystopian fantasy directed by Mel Brooks. Too bad it’s, you know, real.


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