Ethnography about Human Behavior and Economics Essay

Ethnography about Human Behavior and Economics Essay

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Wall Street is the financial district of New York city and home to the largest stock exchange in the world, The New York Stock Exchange among other major exchanges like NASDAQ, New York Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange. This and others make New York among the world’s principal financial centers. Karen Ho’s ethnography seeks to explore the Wall Street culture and especially the role of its financial institutions in corporate America.
Corporations and investors on Wall Street have over the years had their ups and downs as far as business is concerned. Many have been faced with tough decisions to make when business isn’t good and losses are inevitable. In 1987 when the stock market plunged and in the brief recession that followed, tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, banks and brokerage firms had to move away from Wall Street to locations that were more affordable. The recession left many vacant buildings on Wall Street. A few years later the city authorities in Manhattan offered incentives to turn these commercial buildings to residential use. To survive in Wall Street as a business/employer or an employee, its obvious that one has to be tough, very smart and a quick decision maker. When things become slow and profits start to dwindle, the way of doing business also has to change. The plunge in the stock market had many corporations look for means of survival, cutting costs was one of them; this was in terms of finding cheaper office space and reducing the number of employees. Wall Street is marred with insecurities
for both businesses and individuals and also requires hard work to survive. Most people are paid through commissions which means the higher your performance, the higher the compensation. Accord...


... middle of paper ...


...s than everyone else and are affected the most whenever there is a downsizing or restructuring. Karen concludes that the Wall Street has little or no respect for back-office workers and that their work ethics, smartness, innovation and drive are constantly questioned. (Ho, 2009, pp. 16-17). Individualism is seen every day in the way people deal with others as far as the workplace is concerned, each person will only look out for their own benefits and will not be involved in helping a colleague to keep their job. Its every man for himself as they each scramble for a salary or a commission. Some investment bankers have even been said to engage in illegal activities to stay in business. It is survival for the fittest in Wall Street, the investment bankers must do everything to


Works Cited

Karen Ho: Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street, 2009 Duke University Press

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