Wall Street

"Money never sleeps"

  • Located in lower Manhattan, Wall Street is known for the financial and investment community. It includes stock exchanges, large banks, brokerages, securities and underwriting firms, and big businesses (Investopedia).

  • Established in the 17th century, a wall was created for defensive tactics in the New Amsterdam settlement. The term "wall" has been passed on over the years and still used today. Now when people use the term it is connected to the big businesses relating to stock exchanges and the financial market (History on Wall Street).

  • It wasn't until the 18th century when traders would gather near a Buttonwood tree (where the New York Stock Exchange is located) to discuss trade. Eventually in 1979 the traders created a Buttonwood agreement where they established the New York Stock Exchange (History on Wall Street).

Importance:

  • International investors invest in stocks (Wall Street) connecting economies around the world. If Wall Street crashes, most countries will be affected (The Wall Street Journal).

  • It is the home of the world's largest stock exchange and a major hub for the American financial sector (The Wall Street Journal).

  • Wall Street plays an important role in the economy of the whole United States as a whole (The Wall Street Journal).
FRONTLINE | Preview "Money, Power and Wall Street" | PBS

Pros and Cons


  • Like any other establishment, Wall Street has those who support and those who are critics. However, both groups agree that Wall Street stands for money and power. Supporters see this as an "American entrepreneurial spirit" while others believe Wall Street is corrupt, filled with the evils of capitalism, and the greed for wealth (Wall Street).
  • Wall Street Reform- "Reform that will protect consumers when they take out a mortgage or sign up for a credit card. Reform that will prevent the kind of shadowing deals that lead to this crisis. Reform that will never again put tax payers on the hook for wall streets mistakes" (Obama).

Occupy Wall Street

  • The “Occupy Wall Street” movement in 2011 was when protesters from around the world protested against the economic inequality and political power of the financial industry. It began in November in Zuccotti Park in NYC but eventually protesters were forced out by November (Wall Street). After this movement there has been slight changes such as; debit card fees, bank transfer day, student loan reliefs, and financial reform (White). In the picture below, are protesters who refer to themselves as the 99%. These are the everyday people who strongly believe that there is economic inequality between them and the wealthy 1% (Wall Street).


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The Gap Continues

  • Millionaire executives cheat on their taxes avoiding the position, “the rich should pay more to help fix the deficit”. As a way to avoid paying higher taxes, law enforcers were notified that $65 million in Goldman stocks have been received early, decreasing the millionaire executive's taxes. What shocks the public is that Goldman was pro paying more to help fix the deficit. His actions clearly show that with power comes greed. Trials occurred and companies like Goldman were found guilty and are being held responsible to pay the money back and are distrusted in the public eye. These actions occurred in October of 2008 and are finally being settled in 2013 (A Case of Wall Street).


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Major Stock Indexes

These are the three most common stock exchanges that are updated daily and viewed by many people everyday.


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