Wall Street Loses Sex Appeal as Big Guns Struggle

Talented people risk little by trying out academia, government
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 12:34 PM CST
In this Nov. 15, 2007 file photo, people walk past the Merrill Lynch building in New York.   (AP Photo/Brian McDermott, file)
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(Newser) – The gravitational pull of Wall Street on the nation's best and brightest students has weakened dramatically, Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in the New York Times, as ridiculous pay packages and the thrill of risk-taking give way to layoffs and anxiety. "The whole cult and ethos of Wall Street, which lured so many bright minds, is in retreat," he writes.

Sorkin notes that John Thain's $35,000 commode "seemed only to confirm people’s worst suspicions about money and the hubris it can breed." It's not just bankers' portfolios that are shrinking; their prestige is, too, as financiers like Steven Rattner abandon high finance for Detroit, Washington, or academia, which may be a good thing. As Tom Wolfe observes, the rise of Wall Street "frankly always seemed like a terrible waste."