Why has Wall Street culture been criticized?

Wall Street culture has always been criticized for being rigid. It is a stereotype that has lasted for decades and has its roots in the attitude of the Wall Street establishment to protect its own interests

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Why has Wall Street culture been criticized?
© Spencer Platt / Staff Getty Images News

Wall Street culture has always been criticized for being rigid. It is a stereotype that has lasted for decades and has its roots in the attitude of the Wall Street establishment to protect its own interests, linking itself to the so-called WASP establishment.

More recent criticisms are aimed at structural problems and the lack of will to change established habits. The Wall Street establishment resists government oversight and regulation. At the same time, New York has a reputation for being a very bureaucratic city, making it very difficult for middle-class entrepreneurs to enter the borough.

Finally, the New York Stock Exchange itself remains the last major bastion where deals are done in person rather than electronically. There is, ironically, no need for Wall Street institutions to be located on the street itself, except perhaps for prestige.

Trades can be made all over the world regardless of location. Not only. Wall Street itself and the entire financial district were crowded with buildings of all sizes. Furthermore, the loss of the World Trade Center had spurred development in the financial district on a scale not seen in decades.

This is partly due to tax incentives offered by the government and local governments to encourage development. The construction of a new World Trade Center complex, based on Daniel Liebeskind's Memory Foundations project, is one of the first steps towards the development, and one building has already been replaced.

The central element of the project is the Freedom Tower, 541 meters high. New residential buildings are already popping up, and buildings previously reserved for offices have been converted into residential units, again following tax incentives.

Improved access to the financial district is planned with a new commuter station and new transportation to the city center centered on Fulton Street. Today, much of Wall Street's workforce tends to be made up of law and finance professionals employed by medium-to-large firms.

Many of the nearby businesses are local businesses and chain stores that cater to the tastes of professionals and the needs of the workforce. Many people who work in the Financial District are commuters residing in the suburbs of Long Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the northern Hudson Valley.

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