Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Collapse of the East Coast Elites

The East Coast has Wall Street and DC. Basically the two centers of financial and political power that would enable them to basically wreak the havoc they have on the country in the past 30 or so years and whose incompetence we are paying for today.

But this got me thinking;

As America's "elite" proves themselves basically to be nothing but a bunch of nepotistic, incompetent boobs who rely on connections and cronyism instead of skill and game to award themselves the best jobs in the US, won't the American public and economy at large start to value these people less and less?

I mean if Harvard for god's sake didn't see this coming, shouldn't this make corporations think twice about hiring from these presumed "elite" schools? Not that there is an immediate and viable alternative readily available, but if I was head of a corporation the LAST people I would be looking to hire is anybody who had anything to do with the Ivy League, now-defunct elite bulge bracket investment banks, and the hopelessly pathetic DC.

You see, I want production. I want competence. I want profit. I don't want wheeling and dealing and a bunch of blue bloods talking about Skull and Crossbones while they refer to each other by their initials;

"Hey JB!"

"Why hello BW! Say, nice suit, JB! Where did you get it?"

"Well I got it from Saks 5th Avenue. I don't much like slumming, if you get my drift, ehhhh BW?"

"Ha ha ha! I know just what you're saying JB! How about we award ourselves some stock options while we hire your nephew for that new VP position?!"

"I like you're thinking BW!"

Of course, it's going to be more of an issue of these people running the institutions they control into the ground and newer, better, faster and less corrupt companies replacing them. Lord knows normal, working schleps like us will never get into these old guard companies, let alone would have the patience to fight the internal political battles against the entrenched old guard to slowly turn them around. Regardless, I'm just wondering if corporate America and society at large are realizing the "wizards of Wall Street" they ain't and people like my mother could do a better job managing America's "corporate crown jewels" than the current lot.


Hot Sam said...

Please differentiate between "elites" and "elitists."

An elite is someone who is at the top of their game: a 1%-er.

An elitist is someone who considers themself a superior human being based on real or perceived status as an "elite".

Michael Phelps is an "elite" swimmer, but that doesn't make him a better human being, just a better swimmer. He doesn't behave like an elitist.

Paul Krugman is an "elite" economist. Yet when he pontificates outside his realm of expertise (and sometimes within it), he is a blithering idiot. He truly believes he is smarter and better than most people. He is an elitist.

The perception of "elite" status includes making "socially responsible" choices such as shopping at Whole Foods, drinking Pinot Grigio, driving a Prius, owning a Macbook, or re-using plastic shopping bags.

While many "elitists" sheepishly follow others or wish to be emulated, the most pernicious of elitists erect barriers of entry so that only they may be "elites."

Anonymous said...

You might think so, but I doubt it. Just look who got elected and at who he's putting in charge of stuff. It's the same clowns that have been around for twenty years and they're all decended from the same clowns from twenty years before that. And that's why nothing will change until everything collapses.

They believe. They believe they're right. They believe they're smarter than you. And no amount of logic or facts will change that. And they have the power to crush anybody who might get in the way.

I suspect things will get far worse before they get better.

Bike Bubba said...

I think part of it is getting "too smart for ourselves." This crisis, for example, was caused by people thinking they could find a "workaround" for the fact that certain people simply couldn't afford certain homes, cars, and whatnot under ordinary rules of credit.

So we get tons of new regulations designed to circumvent those rules, and we find (surprise surprise!) that those rules we were trying to circumvent were not just arbitrary, but were actual economic laws.


Anonymous said...

The East Coast may collapse, but the elites have put away for a rainy day.

"In December of 1998, during the period when Dillon Read cashed out of Cornell Corrections and $59 billion went missing from HUD, Time Magazine published an article, “Just Hide Me the Money” by S.C. Gwynne with reporting by Adam Zagorin about the October 1998 Citicorp and Travelers merger and the world of offshore banking:

“Citibank's private-banking unit holds more than $100 billion, which makes it about the same size as the entire bank was in 1982. These funds are in turn part of a $17 trillion global pool of money belonging to what bankers euphemistically call 'high- net-worth-individuals' — a pool that generates more than $150 billion a year in banking revenue. The numbers are impressive when you consider that except at a few sleepy British and Swiss institutions, the private-banking industry didn’t exist until the 1980s. Citibank predicted early this year that it would reach $1 trillion — that's trillion with a T — in private-banking assets by the year 2010. And it faces some 4,000 competitors, from global dreadnoughts like Switzerland's UBS [AUTHOR’S NOTE: the bank that bought Swiss Bank Corporation after Swiss Bank Corporation bought Dillon Read] to secretive banks in the tiny principality of Andorra to brokerages in Miami and accountancy firms in the Channel Islands."

Anonymous said...

Elitism breaks down to old money vs new money. Throw out the old elitists and replace it with new ones so the cycle can repeat. Service academies provide a higher quality education than the ivy league these days, then again many of the original railroad tycoons were West Pointers. Even if you can make legacy programs illegal the well connected head nodders will still find their way to the top.

Anonymous said...

This will have little or no effect on the long term prospects of "the Harvard and Yale set". This is because hiring, firing, and/or promotion are rarely based on ability or demonstrated success. One should never fall prey to an unwarranted assumption of meritocracy in large organizations since as there is ample evidence which generally suggests otherwise.

Depressing but true.

Michael Ryan said...

And, in a similar vein, I have enjoyed the stories for the last day saying Caroline Kennedy is trying to get herself appointed Senator from New York to replace Hillary. Why does everyone in that family seem to think they are so entitled?

Anonymous said...

If I were the one doing the hiring, I would be much more inclined to hire someone who can properly differentiate between you, your, and you're. Just a little friendly suggestion for you there, Cap'n, from a resident Grammar/Spelling Nazi. :) I may not be an economist, but I do like to think I know a little something about English.