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Old 06-15-2004, 04:19 PM   #1
John Boswell
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
What or Who... is " Wall Street ? "

I know this is not only off topic from aikido... but WAAAAAYYYY off topic, but I just really wanna know a bit more and was hoping some of you here might be able to help.

I live in Midland, Tx. which is very oriented around the oil business. When the prices of oil and gas are up, life is good for us and bad for everyone else; same can be said in reverse.

Recently, Chevron announced they were pulling out of Midland and consolidating (just like all the other major oil companies) in Houston, TX. When I spoke to an independent contractor still working for Chevron, he told me that it was a decision dictated by "Wall Street".


My initial reaction was:
1) Who CARES what 'Wall Street' thinks?
2) DamnYankee is NOT two words.
and 3) Who cares what those damnyankee's think?

After reading a bit and getting nowhere fast, I came to the conclusion that most of the world banks are based in and around Wall Street and when they are the major funding for the big corporations of the world, they pretty much got the world by the balls and tell people what to do. Not very capitalistic is it?

Anyhow, if anyone has info to share, I'd like to hear it. Got good book recommendations? Let me know. Conspiracy theories? I'm pretty open-minded.
...point is, I'm trying to figure it all out. Thanks in advance for any insight you may care to share.

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Old 06-17-2004, 11:22 PM   #2
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Re: What or Who... is " Wall Street ? "

I'll bite.

What the contractor was basically referring to in a really broad sense is the investment community. Wall Street is often used as a euphemism because in days of yore that was where virtually all stock trading took place. There really is a Wall Street. While a lot of trading still does go on there it's become far more decentralized today and trading goes on all over the place.

Chevron, as a public company, has a responsibility to it's investors (owners) to achieve the best return on their investment that they can. Since they are stock holders that means driving up the stock price in the best way they can and that is best done by producing profits.

Now the catch is that because Chevron stock is bought and sold by the public if they don't raise their stock price people sell the stock. Today, the market has become incredibly fickle and people will sell on almost any bad news. The consequence of this is that companies are often jerked around in the short-term (quarterly profits) in big ways by things that in the long run are very minor. In my opinion it's an awful way to run a company but it is what is.

So when someone says that Wall Street made them do it they are really saying that the company, fearing the wrath of the market, did whatever it did. That Chevron, a company with annual profits in the billions (I think 20 last year) could be affected this way is nuts.

<i>After reading a bit and getting nowhere fast, I came to the conclusion that most of the world banks are based in and around Wall Street and when they are the major funding for the big corporations of the world, they pretty much got the world by the balls and tell people what to do. Not very capitalistic is it?</i>

At the risk of being harsh I think this is a fairly poor conclusion at least as it applies to the USA. Certainly banks control plenty of stock but stock ownership is surprisingly diversified in this country. In fact just about everyone owns stock in some form or another. For instance, I own some small amount of Chevron shares indirectly through a mutual fund which indexes the market. In fact I'd bet that many people who post on this board also own stock in some form or another.

Secondly, given the nature of the market, it's very hard, in the way you describe it for a bank to exert this kind of influence. It's certainly possible, and certainly happens indirectly, but I doubt there's any anti-capitalism as you present it. In fact, some of the larger attempts to manipulate behavior have been made with regards to the recent scandals where several prominent organizations sold their stock on the news of impropriety.

Anyways, the stock market (aka. Wall Street) is for the most part the essence of Capitalism. Sure it's not perfect, we've seen several recent examples, but without it we'd be a much different and certainly worse off country.

My apologies if that was too rudimentary, incomplete or even in error as I didn't proof it, much. It seemed to be what you were asking about.
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Old 06-18-2004, 12:58 PM   #3
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 432
Re: What or Who... is " Wall Street ? "

Sometimes "Wall Street" is considered synonymous with being "the Man" as well.

Robert Cronin
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