It takes a Pillage

This is my sister.

One of these afternoons she will come into the Wulfshead asking for a job. She will want to tend bar among other things, perhaps dance a little bit up on the stage. She is an experienced topless dancer in such well known San Francisco clubs as Big Al's and The Condor, where Carol Doda became a star. And I can vouch for her character. I hope you can give her a job.

Actually, this is Nomi Prins, an author, who has written a stellar book on the Wall Street financial debacle. She is an expert on the field having once been much lower than any Broadway topless dancer, a managing director of Goldman Sachs.

Her book is called, "It Takes a Pillage," and enters into the netherworld of SIVs (structured investment vehicles) and CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) among other exotic securities. Would you ever buy something called a "structured investment vehicle," which Michael Milken actually invented with his junk bond scam long ago? Today's versions (notice the plural) having merely been updated, and collateralized with disastrous subprime mortgages and other assets.

Yes, she takes us into that neverland where air becomes money. That is what Wall Street does best. Convert nothing into riches with complicated SIVs. Reading her book can at times become decidedly creepy for here we are in this abstract world which makes no sense to anybody but those with a talent for such self-serving abstractions. Those who know how to game the mere promise of money into huge fortunes.

If you are looking for a dissection of this strange world which may yet ruin us - at the moment it doesn't appear as if anyone in government is seriously constraining these people (or am I wrong?) - then this is your read. One which is spookier than anything by Stephen King.

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