Property Grunt

Friday, July 31, 2009

Something to think about for the weekend.

It seems everyday we are being hit up side the head with outlandish stories regarding Wall Street.

First was oen two punch coverage of Goldman Sachs.

Inside The Great American Bubble Machine

Tenacious G

Big Banks Paid Billions in Bonuses Amid Wall St. Crisis

And here is an interesting little article on TALP.

Property Bond Sales May Resume With $3 Billion

The central bank started TALF in March to help thaw credit by lending to investors who want to buy securities backed by auto and credit card loans. The $1 trillion program was expanded to include bonds backed by commercial mortgages. Investors who buy the securities submit them to TALF as collateral and the government lends the investor a percentage of the purchase price, subsidizing the investment.

Yeah. That sounds really stable.

I am sure there will be more bats**t insane stories regarding Wall Street in the coming months. But before we start breaking out the pitchforks and getting thegallows ready, I would like to share a true tale I recently heard. A tale that unfortunately commonly occurs in Wall Street. But the ending is straight out of an O'Henry story.

It is not a secret that many companies listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE are getting their asses handed to them. One particular company decided to take a pre-emptive strike to stem the bleeding by asking one of their own to cook the books so their stock wouldn't get hit as hard and still look presentable to their investors.

The man refused.

So it is not surprising that during the first round of layoffs, this man was part of that pool. Understandable. He wasn't willing to play ball, albeit, illegal ball, but ball nonetheless. So he had to go.

But it did not stop there. What happened next was far more brutal. You see his former company contacted all of his clients and their competitors and put the word on the street that this man should not be hired. He was bad news. In other words, he was black balled. It wasn't just a professional slap in the face but a slap in the face for his family that he was supporting.

Why pray tell would they do such a thing? It appears they wanted to make an example of him so none of the rank and file had any ideas about disobeying direct orders even if following those orders gave them a one way ticket to club fed.

After particularly horrible week, this man was talking to his minister about what he was dealing with. His minister made a joke about joining him in setting his old company's building on fire.

The man turned to him, looked him dead in the eye and said two words.

"No retribution."

After all that, he has no desire to walk the path of vengeance. Is it because he is a wuss? No. I have never met this man but already know he is stronger than most. And a lot smarter.

Which brings me to the the French Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre who presents an interesting perspective on decisions. His perspective is that human beings are prisoners of choices we are forced to make in our lives. All of those past choices influence, shapes and limits the number and direction of our future choices until we put ourselves in a hole of inescapable thought and action. Therefore we are imprisoned in a realm that is shaped by the pattern of our past choices.

If this man plays Oldboy, he knows he will trapped within that narrative for the rest of his life. It is best for him to move on and forge a new and better narrative for himself.

As for his former company. They are f**ked. Remember the 800 lbs gorilla? Well, this is a bad time to sit wherever you want since the financial world is practically covered in mine fields.

The volatility of the world we live in is off the charts. The factions that eagerly embrace the mantra of do what you want will find themselves in a drowning pool. And when they ask for a hand to get out, the rest of the world will just clap.

As for the man who decided not to choose revenge. I salute you and pray that you see better times.