I miss non political elitism in WSO - What happened to this place?

Ever since leaving IB long ago I have relied upon WSO to remain tether to the industry. I prefer to lurk in the shadows but sometimes I will throw my worthless opinions across the bows. 

One thing I miss a lot about old WSO is the non-political elitism that was prominent around the Obama years. We were able to bicker over the prestige ladder, the best suitcases, why you would kill yourself if Jeffries didnt make you an offer, how non-targets have a specific stench to them, and why there was only one borough in NYC, and it was called Murray Hill. It was light hearted and so very funny, because there is ultimately something really fucking funny about elitism. It is the same reason I always smiled when my friends at college called me a GDI with disgust; its just sometimes really funny to separate people into arbitrary boxes and overly dramatize it. 

One thing that really sucks to see on this forum now is a lot of political crying about biden or trump and not much more thought put into it. Just, mindless bitching. Part of the great part of being elitist in the past was that we could always say that people that are overly political are scum, no matter what side they are on. I used to take comfort in the fact that poor white trash vote republican and welfare recipients in the hood vote democrat. Now all I see are people taking really shitty sides and doing things only a mongoloid or someone who huffs paint thinners would do, like blame gas prices on biden or blame anything tangible being achieved on trump. 

Part of the great thing about working in banking is it didn't matter who was president, we were better than that. Imagine my frustration when I see a bunch of people bitching about fucking buzzwords from huffpo and breitbart.. newsflash you retards are on here because you are a part of the elite, stop entertaining this political sideshow bullshit or if you are gonna bitch about politics at least making a semi coherent point that isn't just a rehash of whatever you happened to see on youtube today. 

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Comments (50)

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Drumpfy your a blatantly political muckraker on these boards, although I do respect your commitment to quantity of posts even if I find the subject matter part of the problem 

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Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Sometimes people end up conjuring a meta-post from me, and this is one of those times, so prepare for a post-within-a-post.

When Silence is Deafening: The Paradox of Political Silence

The entire finance industry relies upon a very careful set of political ideologies, without which it could not function in its present-day form. Working as an M&A investment banker presumes that there are interests in real property or in businesses that can be conveyed. It relies upon a legal system that recognizes these notions as rights. It requires that the government does not own or nationalize everything. Yes, there is public finance, but M&A transactions don't make sense in an economic system without private several property. Private equity relies upon private several ownership. Hedge funds rely upon the legality of public equities or fixed-income markets, and the legality of private instruments (litigation finance, insurance claims, structured settlements, and the like). Building wealth in this country relies upon the assumption that the government will not confiscate every penny that you have.

Your leisure time relies upon the fact that you have not been conscripted to work on some governmental agricultural project or work in a prison camp. Your access to the internet relies upon the failure of the government to deprive you of this access. The same stands for all forms of public utilities. Your ability to practice or not to practice a religion relies upon the government's failure to enact a full-blown state religion or outlaw all forms of religion outright.

I can give you examples of countries in the present or in the past that violate each of these assumptions (perhaps not all simultaneously). These are matters of political economy, and your ability to speak on this platform in the way that you do is a testament that these principles have not been violated, regardless of your "lack of discussion" about political economy.

Regardless of whether people in business say "I voted for Donald Trump," or "I voted for Joseph Biden," or "I chose to refrain from voting in a presidential election," their interests are being somewhat represented by forces beyond their control. Corporations can contribute as much money as they like to politicians to sway their sympathies. Corporate news can "manufacture consent" and sway people to support corporate power. The United States military protects your interests by toppling leaders, controlling airspace, and controlling critical trade routes that bring you your very sustenance. The police forces at the municipal, state, and federal levels can be relied upon to respond to disputes between people in some fashion. These are matters of political power, and this power is yours regardless of whether you refrain from writing words on an internet chatroom.

Being a member of the finance industry means a reliance upon a myriad of basic building blocks of political economy. Every day, I rely upon the US Tax Code, law enforcement, the legal system, contract and property rights, US military power, US trade routes, US public works, utilities regulations, religious liberties laws, all manner of business regulations, and laws that allow me to do finance rather than be conscripted into doing something. You likely rely on much the same.

You are every bit as political as anyone else. It's possible that you look down on those who are displeased enough with existing laws that they express ideas for change over the internet. But don't ever claim that your life isn't political; your entire life is owed to some form of existing political economy, and even if you don't speak, there are countless other bodies which can likely advocate for the financial industry and business at large without you moving a finger.

EDITed for extra fervency: I think you should use fewer words with your posts next time. Next time you feel this way, you can cut out the fluff and just tell the forklift operator in Kanawha County, WV who broke his back, got hooked on OxyContin that was prescribed to him, and moved on to heroin when the drug tolerance got too expensive, you can tell him "I despise you because you talk about how much you like Donald Trump." To the man of Lakota descent in Todd County, South Dakota who lives by the bottle and hopes that someone could make his life better, tell him "I despise you" next time. Say it again to the single mother in the "ghetto" as you call it who uses SNAP to buy food for her kids. Enumerate every penny she uses while never having a second thought about how the TCJA just doubled your lifetime exemption for estate tax purposes. Tell it to them all, and tell them how unpolitical you are and how they should keep their mouths shut.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

I can't speak to the matter of who is entertained by what. What I do know is that thinking you're ever apolitical and looking down on everyone else who embraces that more is a delusion. I described that delusion above. Whether you're entertained by that sort of thing is none of my concern.

I love your username. You've truly spun comedy gold with it.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

In 21 years I've come to realize that all this political stuff is not worthwhile because what needs to happen will end up happening regardless of my effect on it (this goes beyond the usual "I don't vote" argument). Got a new GF recently and she has huge tits, this combined with the fact that I am graduating early and will have time to prep for PE and other stuff is what motivates me to keep going for the future. I care about geopolitics in an investing context, say for infrastructure's sake or for PPPs, but I don't care about it as a participant, more like as an observer (akin to the principal-agent problem). It's why I'm content being informed about issues like globalism or Chinese nationalism or even global warming, but would never care to get into an actual discussion or risk arguing with someone on an opinionated level, because it's quite frankly just pointless. Much easier for me to spend my time focusing on maximizing my income/wealth, saving money and enjoy my girlfriend's company and having fun with her on dates. Discourse for the sake of discourse is worthless (unless you just get that much pleasure out of it) unless there's money or familial ties or something deeper at risk (unlikely to be any of us upper middle class / upper class guys in banking), but the concept of being concerned with it for the pure purpose of being concerned with it is just dumb. I'm a deep overthinker, unfortunately an INTJ (corporate astrology), and I just don't care what Biden does (for example) on an individual level because even if I did, I couldn't do much about it and it wouldn't affect me enough to disturb my day to day operations as an investment banking analyst or as a participant in the financial industry to disrupt me that hard, it just wouldn't in 99% of the possible scenarios. And in that 1% where something could actually happen, there's a bunch of people who care severely more than I do (and are ironically likely less staked) who are willing to do more about it than I am. That's a huge benefit of there being such a large human population, I can afford not to care. All in all, it's that self-adjusting system and what needs to happen will likely happen. I rather focus on being happy for as long as I can.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

First of all, splendid response, and I think you'll find you're mostly upheld here unlike our OP friend whom I fairly harshly rebuked. OP contended that part of the fun of the website was the notion that people (particularly elite people within business) can ever be apolitical about things. This is the notion that people are apolitical beings. Your stance here is different. Your stance is "I'm not an apolitical being, but I have enough trust in the individual efforts of my compatriots that I don't generally wish to engage in conversations about changing the status quo," which I might add is a perfectly fine stance. I have a similar stance on many things (not politics), such as advanced biopharmaceuticals. I trust that other people will make advancements there, and even though in another life I could have thrown my hat in the ring, finance is my happy lot in life, and that's how things will be. For you, you care about your ravishing girlfriend and preparing for entering the private equity industry. I don't tell you to abandon these things. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, you are a principal/participant in changing the world on a geopolitical level, even if only an infinitesimal amount (potentially siring children, talking to people occasionally about politics or maybe discouraging people from shaking up the boat so much, voting, etc.).

Discourse for the sake of improving discourse skills is one of my art forms (not to say that my writings have no application to day-to-day life). I write largely (though not exclusively) for people who feel the same way. I talk to people who feel the same way. It's a rare breed, but I treasure them. The astrologers have deemed me the same, friend; it's a very common type in investment banking, so you're in good company. I think it's hogwash from time to time, and then I meet someone who's an INTJ who feels that it's hogwash too and then I start thinking, "well crap, maybe they're on to something if they knew we would be the skeptics here." At least you recognize the impact that politics has on you and its potential to disrupt. That's great. That's why I wrote the "memento mori" to OP. Large human populations are great. Division of labor, baby!

EDIT: Regarding my happiness, which I feel is relevant here, I feel great. I feel great when I write most things. I write the most effusive praise and the most bitter tirades, but I am happy through writing it all. Each of you makes it worth it.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Agreed, the libx are to blame.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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  • Prospect in Research - Other
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

You miss the non political elitism of the past so naturally you will engage in further incoherent political diatribe? Incredibly Sound logic here. 

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Libx can't understand logic hence it's futile to use it

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

It's also a result of the growth of any discussion forum / social-based media site. The environment changes as the population demographic does and WSO has just been successful enough to have more and more people hop into it. Over time, you get less "elite", first adopters. I think it's primarily a consequence of WSO's organic growth, anonymous posting, and a higher level radical polarization that is being seen across most of the Western world and fueled by social media. I don't necessarily contribute it to finance's place in society, as others have posed. 

  • Research Associate in AM - Equities
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Drumpfy is an alt left autist who dreams of working for AOC & pretends his Russian mail-order bride won't leave him the day after they married and she gets citizenship. So yeah, you pretty much nailed it

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

See my comment below. I'd argue this is largely due to the fact people don't see a different physical office for B4 than BB. Without a visual connection it's hard to dunk on any profession when one is just sitting behind a laptop doing work. 


Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

There are times in history when you get to sit back and relax and not think much about politics (see 1980s and 1990s as an exmaple). There are other times when you need to speak up and get active before your country radically transforms itself or heads in the wrong direction.

Sorry to inform you but you are in those times now....

Whether you like being politically active or not, your future is going to be shaped by the folks who are currently and probably in not a good way.  So, I guess you can just bend over a barrel and take it or maybe you can speak up while you still have the chance. Option is up to you.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

No, not really. True, there's always something going on, but not always a big impact to most Americans. Take for example something like arguing about Somalia or the Balkan Wars during Clinton or Nicaragua with Reagan in comparison to arguing about Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria today.  Political arguments over the latter were clearly more important. 

If you were getting red in the face arguing politics about those former wars, you're probably a little too involved in politics.  If you were getting heated on the latter, you probably should be!

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

I mentioned this in another thread, but I'll say it again here: the pandemic has altered the high finance experience entirely leading to the quality of threads going down in the past 18 months.

Most prestigious bag/shoes (which you point out) is irrelevant when you're WFH

So is prospects comparing their superday hotels/restaurants and ranking each bank on that

So is ranking NYC districts restaurants

I really could go on and on here but the main point I'm trying to say is elitism only feels good if you are with a peer group in person and are seen by others in person. You can dunk on the guy in BO if you walk by the BO floor and then proceed to go to your prestigious FO floor of the building.

Banks are scratching their heads wondering why analysts and associates are leaving in droves (and not just in IB) despite higher comp and the reason is plain and simple. There's a lifestyle and experience that goes on with the job that makes it prestigious and that lifestyle and experience has been eliminated by the pandemic and WFH. 

Pre-pandemic I was doing much more stuff outside of finance and basically would only occasionally look at the news - now I find myself more frequently reading news articles more so out of sheer boredom than anything else. I would imagine there are others like me as well. Hopefully next year will be much better.


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Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Political elites are why things have gotten so tense. The post-war liberal international order is falling.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

This, 100%. In general terms conservatism is about preserving institutions and traditions. Currently the right, correctly, views our institutions as decrepit, corrupt, nepotistic, and an anachronism from the post-WW2 era and no longer really in touch with today's problems. So when you lose support of the center-right, everything starts falling apart. Trump was hardly a traditional conservative, yet many on the right love him BECAUSE of that.

A great book on this is The Fourth Turning. History moves in cycles, and we're getting to the end of a big macro cycle.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

American world order has been in decline at least since GFS, arguably a decade or two earlier. than that. Now you have morons like Bernie / AOC who are trying to us back to Cuba & social media exacerbates issues. the Western world order is doomed to a long slow decline, with China rising 

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Politics seeping onto here is just endemic of US culture as a whole now. WSO has a pretty good free speech policy, which lets controversial ideas get discussed--but at the same time, that means controversial ideas WILL get discussed since there is an opportunity here for two way or multiparty dialogue and it won't just be a one way talking at you approach that many cultural institutions currently choose to take. Universities don't want to "discuss racism" or "discuss sexism". They want a one way talking at you approach, whereas the internet allows for a multitude of ideas.

After the election, I sometimes shitpost now and then, but beyond that I'm focusing entirely on money now and not politics as much. Any election, you win some or you lose some, but my goal is to build long term un-cancelable power that can then result in making a real difference. I don't think I'm going to really convince anyone on here who radically disagrees from me. The ROI of me making a lengthy comment is small.

Back to the original topic on why the elitism has died down:

1. 2008 happened. People who go into finance now really seem to like finance instead of just being clout chasers, although I imagine there are still some of them, but pre-2008 you had a lot of clout chasers who Wall Street was just the cool new thing

2. Honestly it's stupid. It's not a badge of pride to be working 80+ hours. Every now and then, a serious job has its grind time and that's fine, but the financial industry could be a lot better by just having some common sense leadership to balance workload or put some technology in to automate frequently repeated processes. That's not "going soft." It's just being smart. I'm all in favor of hard work. But around at 10 PM because someone couldn't make a decision so you're waiting on an email or something, that's just stupid and a waste of manpower and talent.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

This site is basically non-targetoasis right now.  Just a ton of hardo hustlers trying to "make it" with huge chips on their shoulder for not doing well enough on their SATs to get into a real college.

Anyone with prestige has left.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

Social media.

During our parents' day and age, people had even more polarizing beliefs than they do now, but they kept these beliefs to themselves. Why? Because no one at the local coffee shop or the gas station cares or wants to hear it. Now, you have Facebook, Instagram, and other channels where every moron can spout off about just about anything and have a following. The people who would have been written off as the village idiots in the 1500s now have thousands of followers on social media.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

I totally agree, but after all I think more and more Millennials are joining the site, and because they've been brainwashed to care so much about politics, you're naturally going to see more political posts. This is what the usa has come to. You can no longer be apolitical or else you're "part of the problem". These people are radical and they will do anything to get their ideologies in your face. 

imo the usa will never be the same so it's either deal with all these idiots the rest of your life or make enough money here and move to another country where the people aren't so radical and obsessed with politics (preferably Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia or parts of the Middle East). 

Oh also, can you idiots stop pretending to be political "philosophers" please? I swear to god if I hear another college/hs kid say "well actually I'm more of a *insert some political theory that's bs*". Or trying to talk in an overly political correct way to sound like you're some political scientist writing a research paper of political theory. You're f****** bankers, you sound so cringe

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

If I understand you correctly, it seems that the crux of the argument is "I care so much less about politics than the overly political Americans that I actually desire to move to another country for political reasons," which is precisely the thing that someone who cared the very most about politics would do. Those jurisdictions are just as political as the United States is; they merely subscribe to different ideologies which you find more agreeable. You stated your feelings more appropriately in a prior comment about why you like Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

I imagine you care about politics every whit as much as I do. You just fundamentally disagree with the trajectory of American politics, which is your prerogative.

This is not about being apolitical or more or less political. It's about subscribing to different ideologies that you find more agreeable.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

There's a difference between being overtly political and simply having a political opinion but keeping it to yourself. Today's millennials fall into the first group where they constantly feel the need to insert their political stances into everything like putting pronouns on LinkedIn or "canceling" someone for saying something that offended them. In the Eastern world,  people are not as political as the US. It doesn't matter if they know you're a liberal or conservative, all they care about is having a good time and the freedom to make a living. But I guess the priorities of the usa are much different. The usa is more worried about who said what words to someone rather than things that actually matter. That's why China will surpass the usa soon because they have a no BS policy 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

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  • Managing Director in PE - Other
Oct 13, 2021 - 9:43pm

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