Meant as introductory reading into the wiles of the most recognized name in high finance on earth, Winston Overton’s Wall Street Scandals minces no words and pulls no punches in exposing what is rotten at the heart of Wall Street and its stock exchanges. Overton, an insider who has worked in the Street since the seventies, presents the mechanics of greed that provides motivation for financial institutions’ reason for being. Eye-opening and educational, Wall Street Scandals gives broad coverage on the why’s and wherefore’s of this bastion of capitalism’s imminent demise. The historical forces that gave birth to it, shaped it, and propelled it into becoming a seemingly invincible monolith will destroy it in the end.
From the history of the Capital Trading Exchange (and its infamous episodes), to an analysis of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, from legal battles and prosecution of financial criminals, Overton ably fulfills the promise of his book’s title. Greed seems to have become axiomatic in the capitalist world when and where large amounts of money and men meet. Overton finds this all too true and readers will have their fill of details on illicit trading in the mega-corporations and financial chambers of New York. Readers will find it all an awesome display of excess and bloated egos as Wall Street Scandals tells the tales of shady business practices influencing historical events directly affecting the economy, not just of the United States, but of those parts of the world that corporations have investments in.
Susan Shapiro in her book Wayward Capitalists (1984) advises, “People, who have too little faith in their potential or business acumen to attempt a business venture on their own, turn their money over to complete strangers to do that very thing.” This is key to the seemingly unstoppable magnetism of Wall Street. From junk bonds to Ponzi schemes, it has promised riches to many innocent sheep only to fleece them. (Overton also covers the part wherein investors are given the smarts in Wall Street trading.) There has been no lack, though, of government and popular action against the rut of criminality Wall Street is mired in and there is a groundswell of agreement that its institutions should be changed inside out. Wall Street Scandals strikes a very strong blow that might finally start the demolition of Wall Street’s respective façade, start the clean-up of its rotten insides, and lay the foundations of the new day of financial sanity.