Saturday, October 27, 2007

Liar's Poker, an afterward of sorts

In the days of Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker, his account of life as a bond trader at Solomon Brothers in the 1980s, the men of Wall Street became filthy rich, and paraded their sexual adventures with all the discretion of a peacock. How times have changed, he writes for Bloomberg:
There is a new deal for the alpha male on Wall Street. He can make his millions, and he can still strut and preen and feel important. What he can't do is sexualize his financial clout. In the late 1980s it was fairly routine for men on Wall Street trading floors to order up strippers; when a prominent bond salesman was fellated in a conference room just off the trading floor his colleagues were more amused than shocked. Not long ago a pair of Morgan Stanley employees was fired for merely attending a strip club in their off hours. As one of my former classmates put it, ``the decorum in the marketplace has changed.''
I'd venture to guess that this cultural change came about because, to a much greater extent than in the eighties, Wall Street's alpha dogs may well be women, even if they aren't still equally represented at the higher echelons of financial firms (to say nothing of broader cultural forces at work relating to gender and society).

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