Saturday, September 13, 2008

today..you were far away..and i..did not ask you why.

this week, has been a tiptoeing week for all. its like you are but a card admist the pyramid of cards, and you can just watch sympathetically as pyramids of cards just come crashing down. and you feverently hope, that its not your pyramid which is next. there is no arrogance among anyone, it really could happen to anybody. considering banking culture, hell any culture, where someone tries something and it makes money and then thereforth begins the whole copycat syndrome where banks try to initiate the same product or lure those pple who started it all into their domains. its more widespread than anyone can think. key is to remain afloat though. if someone is losing money, someone on the other side is gaining. lehman brothers considered one of the most pretigious companies to work for, their whole recruiting scene is not based on fluff and how articulate and engaging you are. the year i graduated, they just picked the first 4 rankers from Columbia University. That was it. That's all you needed, intelligence.

As I read on various message boards about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and lehman's shares plumetting and people losing years of investment and are super anxious. some even write they dont know how to face their families after they have lost huge amount of money. Which makes me ask, how different is the stock market from gambling your money away. I know this seems a much too harsh question to ask, since the probabilities of gambling and losing is much higher than the probabilities of losing in the stock market.

The Fed stepped in and bailed out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Immediately people felt a lot more confident, some agitated since they know that taxpayers will eventually bear the brunt. The Fed is being pressurized to help out Lehman too. Again there are lot of comments for and against this. If the Fed helps Lehman too, it will be the case of not if, but who's next? And then the whole argument, this is corporate America, if your car company goes bust, the Fed does not step in to clean your mess. Why does it do it for banks? Coz they are related? If the Fed doesn't help Lehman and asks the big banks to help, which it currently seems to be doing,
someone will try to buy it out - but catastrophic issues can be foreseen with that too, who is to say who currently is strong enough to do so?

My sympathy lies with employees and investors of these firms. People who are unsure whether they will have a job/portfolio worth nothing tommorow. Management will make these decisions and will pocket tons of money, as severence pay, compensation, etc. And will even find high profile jobs in other companies after everything goes bust. But the regular employees will suffer and along with them the investors. The two biggest problems are lack of knowledge and panic. Both are extremely powerful and can ruin even the most solid of firms.

2 comments:

Ashraf,  9:28 AM  

It affects all of us. The worsening economic situation can lead to lower economic situation and trust me having the status of being a fresher in an industry is scary in these times.

Should have chosen the bureaucracy but I wanted the thrill of the corporate world.

Anyway while Lehman brothers have been allowed to collapse, the fact remains the US government has to intervene. The biggest fear stems not from further banks collapsing but from a lack of liquidity and funds in the market meaning consumers wont be able to access credit. That will spell a catastrophe. Because even now for a long long time no consumer can match the appetite of a US consumer.

And yes the management will not suffer. Lehman brothers has just freed up a lot of talent for other firms to grab. It will be employees lower down the order that will suffer.

life of pi 6:16 PM  

not just lehman, GS, morgan stanley, you name it everyone is downsizing.

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