On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Wall Street Crash, euronews has visited the belly of the beast in New York.
We spoke to bankers just over one year after the global economy flirted with another catastrophic collapse. “The Crash of 29, that was a scary moment, back here…Believe it or not my family has been down here (in Wall Street) for like five generations. And that was my father’s…actually it was my grandfather’s time,” said NYSE trader David Henderson. Veteran trader Teddy Weisberg has been working on Wall Street for 40 years and describes it as an emotional rollercoaster ride: “When you’re in the midst of it, it always seems like the end of the word, it’s an extreme emotion. People tend to want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Then again, trading stocks, whether it’s good news or bad news, to a large degree it is driven by human emotion.” The stock market crashed under the weight of a financially fruitful decade known as the ‘roaring 20s’ that overinflated investor confidence. Today not everybody agrees on whether we are better prepared to respond to such a crisis. Richard Sylla, Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, Nyu Stern thinks that governments at least know what they are dealing with: “Having learned a lesson from 1929 and 33, the authorities today intervened massively, preventing a bad situation becoming worse,” he says. But for trader Alan Valdes, the 21st century response has been found wanting: “Back then, we had the New Deal, now we called it a stimulus. This year we spent 700 billion dollars in the stimulus and we created no new jobs.” For many economists the Wall Street Crash was a natural part of the process that is boom and bust, a process we haven’t changed to this day.