Epilogue: Words and Bonds

in Face Value

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226629377
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226629391 | DOI:
Epilogue: Words and Bonds

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Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street is a stinging rebuke of Wall Street in the 1980s, condemning corporate raiders for breaking up companies and laying off workers solely for personal gain. However, the film portrays the older generation on Wall Street to be somehow of a stable character that money could never corrupt or alter, in contrast to the immigrant newcomers who could make money but were no different from the “cheap” money they made. According to Stone, Wall Street is about young people and their attitudes towards money. In his book Liars' Poker, which focuses on the Wall Street of the 1980s, Michael Lewis—whose firm, Salomon Brothers, pioneered the trade in mortgage bonds—claimed that skilled bond traders at the right firms could more or less set the value of the goods they traded in. This chapter reviews some of the accounts of Wall Street in the 1980s, following the end of the international gold standard, and comments on the renewed enthusiasm, in the wake of Barack Obama's election to the presidency, for gold and the gold standard on the political right.

Keywords: Wall Street; Oliver Stone; money; Michael Lewis; mortgage bonds; Salomon Brothers; gold standard; Barack Obama; political right

Chapter.  7424 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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