A fearsome prospect by mattsteinglass
September 22, 2008, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Economics

Peter Cohan points out one much-overlooked consequence of the demise of the investment banking industry:

And this raises big questions about what will happen to all the MBAs who formerly streamed to Wall Street after graduation. If the global financial markets can survive this crisis, it would not surprise me to see investment banking revive in its current form through start-ups capitalized by institutional investors. Some of these MBAs could go into hedge funds or private equity — but a regulatory crack down on those market players could also be in the offing. This could mean that MBAs actually have to manage businesses instead of shuffling financial papers.

It’s entirely possible that the rise of investment banking is a consequence of a Marxian crisis of overproduction. That is, once global industry gets productive enough, there simply isn’t anything for a lot of macho, quantitatively oriented graduates of institutions of higher learning to do. The evolution of investment banking and hedge funds has provided a way to send these people off into little corners for 16 hours a day, where they play with their keyboards and pretend to be doing something very important. This has always suited me fine, because it keeps them out of my way.

The problem now is that they’re all going to have to start running companies that actually do something, which means they’re going to have come up with some kind of idiotic products and try to sell them to me. And I really don’t need the hassle.


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