Liquidated has ratings and 43 reviews. BlackOxford said: Against ExcellenceIf you want to understand the source and the consequences of the rhetori. Book Reviews Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Karen Ho. Durham, NC : Duke University Press, pp. $, paper. Karen Ho is a member of. In Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street, Karen Ho introduces us to the culture of smartness on Wall Street—its perpetuation, its sustainability.

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Her ethnographic analysis of those workplaces is filled with the voices of stressed first-year associates, overworked and alienated analysts, undergraduates eager to be hired, and seasoned managing directors. The recent financial crisis follows logically from the culture.

In it, she looks at the prevailing orthodoxies of the natives and tries to debunk them, amongst these are shareholder value and the benefit of so many hours at your desk free food and a car service help Ho writes the book that I think I would have written, had I been born in different circumstances. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book 3. Ho, an anthropologist, worked for a prominent Wall Street firm in the late s and went on to conduct over one hundred in-depth interviews with investment bankers and other industry actors.

Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street

Tells of the culture of Wall Street investment banks from the inside, and how this contributed to the most recent major recession.

The argument that I took away from this work is that in trying to explain the “every man for himself” perspective that seems so common in discussions of the economy and the workplace in the past twenty years or so, one can gain perspective by looking at how the workplace is structured for investment bankers and how that structures influences the advice they provide to their clients, the types of deals that they negotiate, and the type of short term results that are often obtained.

Through Financial collapses—whether of the junk bond market, the Internet bubble, or the highly leveraged housing market—are often explained as the inevitable result of market cycles: Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. More interesting was how these employees are portrayed as unique and the “smartest” people in the labor pool, but treated as a renewable and expendable resource, with the constant influx of graduates from Ivy League schools and highly regarded MBA programs ready to replace any that burn out or are cut loose.

Of course, this is not really true, and actually Ho spends a lot of time on how race and gender divides are remarkably prevalent on Wall Street.

The rituals of recruitment, hiring, and practice in Wall Street firms only serve to reinforce such a self-impression which, in turn, forges a take-no-prisoners approach to closing deals.

Especially when she belabors the point about how Wall Streeters see themselves as “smart” without really challenging what that means and especially without challenging what “elite” means in terms of higher education and how that often is just a proxy for class-based access, I wanted to put the book down.


Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street by Karen Ho

The etnnography chapter on recruiting practices at universities is the most readable while the 3rd and 4th chapters on the rise of shareholder value in the 80s are the most dry, but provided the most new information for me.

Their mission is the creation of shareholder value, but Ho demonstrates that their practices and assumptions often produce crises instead. The author is also thorough in noting the many ways in which the rhetoric of the financial industry shareholder values; pay for performance; increased efficiency; employing the best and the brightest; etc.

She was a graduate student in the Ivy League and she saw her peers go into the Street, so she did what any good anthropologist would do — she went native to study the flora and fauna of Wall Street. In LiquidatedKaren Ho punctures the aura of the abstract, all-powerful market to show how financial markets, and particularly booms and busts, are constructed. Dec 18, Allison rated it liked it. Oct 06, Lewis rated it it was amazing.

And this, from ‘Downsizers Downsized’, ” In addition to being wapl liquid than the rest, Wall Street’s larger social–and market–purpose is also the necessary evil of forcing the average worker to become more liquid.

Carrier, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Description Financial collapses—whether of the junk bond market, the Internet bubble, or the highly leveraged housing market—are often explained as the inevitable result of market cycles: Sign-in or register now to continue.

It’s all about doing deals, selling products, wakl more deals, selling more products. Against Excellence If you want to understand the source and the consequences of the rhetoric of modern finance, this is your book.

Their mission is the creation of shareholder value, but Ho demonstrates that their practices liquidatedd assumptions often produce crises instead. Based on this culture of liquidity and compensation practices tied to profligate deal-making, Wall Street investment bankers reshape corporate America in their own image.

Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street – Karen Ho – Google Books

You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. If you suspected that investment bankers are rat racing morons, you are correct– she identifies a lot of the reasons why the entire stock market game is pretty absurd as well, but ethnograpy particular the way investment banks and bankers screw themselves and the rest of us.

What goes up must come liquirated. The main flaw with the book is that most assertions are backed up through interviews with bankers, rather than data. Unlike the vast liquidzted of anthropologists and sociologists with a few notable exceptions like Brooke Harrington who choose to study the marginalized, people who are easy to get access to, Karen Ho studied “up. The first couple of chapter are an absolutely amazing analysis of capitalism. Wlal banks thus position their own approach to change as THE reference point for corporate America, and investment bankers, the least ‘lumpy’ of workers, function as the ideal currency standard–that is, the most cash like–of employment.


I have used excerpts in an undergraduate economic sociology course, and I have recommended it to an investment banker.

The research is excellent. Open Preview See a Problem? A v Really enlightening. I’m so glad she wrote this book and that I had a chance to read it. I read this at the same time as Richistan and Young Money.

Mar 21, Trisha rated it it was amazing. But for what it is, the book is very successful and very compelling for catching a brief period in time that will probably only differ in degree of the levels of tech for the next generation, no matter the humiliations that come about from recessions not foreseen or even caused by the financial sector.

After hearing her speak at the U of M and engaging in discussion with her, I feel more confident in her knowledge of Wall Street, financial crises, and social culture; however, I did not get answers to my questions regarding actual hard number statistics to back up the theories.

Overall ethnographhy numerous transcribed interviews on different topics liquifated bankers provides an illuminating window into a frenzied culture of greed, job insecurity, networking, and extreme elitism. It basically shows the parasitic relationship of Wall Street to Main Street and the way that they will kill off companies to make a profit, the way a parasite kills what it feeds upon.

She thinks this is because they are doubly marked as similar to the support staff and are taking pains to distinguish themselves in dress and actions.

Although it is listed under anthropology and business studies, it has a much wider appeal and will be of interest to those liquisated geography, economics, sociology and anyone seeking to understand the interconnections between the cultures and practices of Wall Street investment banks and financial change. Please direct permission requests for these images to permissions dukeupress. Mar 22, Lorelei rated it it was amazing. And indeed this ideology is applied ruthlessly by the culture to itself.

Ho herself was fired while working for Bankers Trust. That book lacked in its breadth since it only really examined the situations of five or six people, where Ho tries to generalize her experience, and in my reading, she is much more effective than Roose ethnographhy.

It’s like revealing the emperor has no clothes. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Even Ethnograpphy glazed over a few times with all the academic-speak, but if you can get past that, it is a great dive into the world of investment banking.