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Face ValueThe Entwined Histories of Money and Race in America$
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Michael O'Malley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226629377

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226629391.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Epilogue: Words and Bonds

Epilogue: Words and Bonds

(p.197) Epilogue: Words and Bonds
Face Value
University of Chicago Press

Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street is a stinging rebuke of Wall Street in the 1980s, condemning corporate raiders for breaking up companies and laying off workers solely for personal gain. However, the film portrays the older generation on Wall Street to be somehow of a stable character that money could never corrupt or alter, in contrast to the immigrant newcomers who could make money but were no different from the “cheap” money they made. According to Stone, Wall Street is about young people and their attitudes towards money. In his book Liars' Poker, which focuses on the Wall Street of the 1980s, Michael Lewis—whose firm, Salomon Brothers, pioneered the trade in mortgage bonds—claimed that skilled bond traders at the right firms could more or less set the value of the goods they traded in. This chapter reviews some of the accounts of Wall Street in the 1980s, following the end of the international gold standard, and comments on the renewed enthusiasm, in the wake of Barack Obama's election to the presidency, for gold and the gold standard on the political right.

Keywords:   Wall Street, Oliver Stone, money, Michael Lewis, mortgage bonds, Salomon Brothers, gold standard, Barack Obama, political right

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