Feature

The end of Wall Street?

How the financial crisis is changing the rules

Say good-bye to Wall Street as we knew it, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. In a flash, the five major investment banks have “ceased to exist,” transforming themselves into or being absorbed by conventional big banks. “The result will be a sturdier but also less innovative financial system than we have had in recent decades.”

The new Wall Street should feel familiar, said David Brooks in The New York Times. It’s no longer a playground for “math geeks” who devised complicated financial instruments understood by nobody else. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are reasserting the old-school authority “that used to be wielded by the Mellons and Rockefellers and other rich men in private clubs.”

If Paulson and Bernanke and their buddies are "Daddy Figures" who will rescue us, said Glenn Greenwald in Salon, who exactly was dictating economic policy when we got into this mess? “If there is one thing that's not 'new,' it's turning over our economic policy to the Wise Old Men of Wall Street.”

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