What Did You Learn From This Ethnography About Human Behavior And Economics?

841 words - 4 pages

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. According to Karen Ho, it is the smartest investment bankers from the best universities that will join Wall Street and its harsh conditions and most of them will get downsized eventually but this doesn’t stop them from staying. They take this harsh environment as a challenge rather than a liability. These Ivy League investment bankers have been trained to view themselves as the best and making deals through all the insecurities is seen as a sign of their smartness and a way to cope with an anxious environment. (Ho, 2009, pp. 11-12). This goes to show that greed for money can keep an individual in a harsh work environment as long as they are guaranteed that after enduring all that and working so...

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