Main Street vs. Wall Street
文章来源: 文章作者: 发布时间:2009-04-10 01:36 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

Reader question:

Main Street, Wall Street, what's the difference?

My comments:

Currently in the news, there's a general sense of doom1 and gloom over the global financial market due to problems from Wall Street, a real street in New York City where major banks are located. Wall Street is the financial center of America as well as the global capital market in general.

Spearheaded by failings first detected in mortgage firms whose managers promised home buyers too good a deal to sustain, other investment banks are soon found to have long been digging holes for themselves also. The upshot is, many – perhaps most because they all operate on more or less the same fundamental risk-reward principles – major banks are either insolvent2 or on the brink3.

Hence the Bush Administration's highly necessary but unpopular bailout plan that effectively asks tax payers to fork out a gargantuan4 US$700 billion to get the banks back on their feet. That will help make sure banks are willing to lend money to each other and to manufacturers again. That is the plan. It may work. It will work to some extent because after all, money makes the world go round. Anyways, if it works, the global financial system can function as normal again.

And that, among other things, will probably start another vicious cycle, leading to something like the present debacle once again some time in future. That is, according to the innermost fears of the free-market advocate. Banks, you see, will have the money to hedge and gamble again, enriching corporate5 executives while perhaps accumulating more bad debts, till one day, the whole thing collapses6 again like a paper house. And the tax payer represented by the government has to step in do it again (so that banks can again have a clean sheet to start the roulette running one more time).

That's just capitalism7 at work, or some say, at its worst.

Hence and therefore the unpopular Bush plan. Common folks rightfully ask why they the people should pay for the failures of the fat cats. The fat cats (bank managers) will have sold their stocks before the markets crash or had long before resigned, or been fired, and landed safely with a golden parachute (we'll talk about the parachute another day). In other words, there is no punishment for corporate executives who run their banks to the ground.

This leads us to the chagrin8 on Main Street. Main Street is the generic9 term for cities' busiest shopping centers. It's similar to High Street in Britain. In contrast to Wall Street, where big money changes hands, the Main Street is where common folks eke10 out a trade.

The financial crisis in America has united the two streets in that they are often seen in the same sentence, such as for example: Dump Wall Street's Trash on Main Street.

Not that the two streets will ever unite in the proper sense, but Main Street does share some of the blame for Wall Street's woes11 in that every time Wall Street executives come up with something rewarding (to Wall Street) but risky12 (to Main Street), Main Street folks lap it up. Main Street, you see, takes the bait and that is the problem. For example, if the American public doesn't live on borrowed money (credit cards, etc.) so much, they'll probably not have to pay so handsomely for the current credit crunch13. Wall Street, of course, will not have merited such a sweeping14 cleanup. Not so soon, at any rate.

Anyways, that's a light-hearted street talk on the serious business of money matters on Wall Street. Please go check the news and correct me if you can.

Here are a few headlines:

1. Main Street turns against Wall Street (, September 28, 2008).

2. Wall Street's troubles disable credit on Main Street (International Herald15 Tribune, September 19, 2008).

3. Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes? (, July, 2008).

4. From Wall Street to Main Street: Lessons from the Great Depression (, September 28, 2008).


1 doom gsexJ     
  • The report on our economic situation is full of doom and gloom.这份关于我们经济状况的报告充满了令人绝望和沮丧的调子。
  • The dictator met his doom after ten years of rule.独裁者统治了十年终于完蛋了。
2 insolvent wb7zK     
  • They lost orders and were insolvent within weeks.他们失去了订货,几周后就无法偿还债务。
  • The bank was declared insolvent.银行被宣布破产。
3 brink OWazM     
  • The tree grew on the brink of the cliff.那棵树生长在峭壁的边缘。
  • The two countries were poised on the brink of war.这两个国家处于交战的边缘。
4 gargantuan 4fvzJ     
  • My gargantuan,pristine machine was good for writing papers and playing solitaire,and that was all.我那庞大的、早期的计算机只适合写文章和玩纸牌游戏,就这些。
  • Right away,I realized this was a mistake of gargantuan proportions.我立刻意识到这是一个巨大的错误。
5 corporate 7olzl     
  • This is our corporate responsibility.这是我们共同的责任。
  • His corporate's life will be as short as a rabbit's tail.他的公司的寿命是兔子尾巴长不了。
6 collapses 9efa410d233b4045491e3d6f683e12ed     
折叠( collapse的第三人称单数 ); 倒塌; 崩溃; (尤指工作劳累后)坐下
  • This bridge table collapses. 这张桥牌桌子能折叠。
  • Once Russia collapses, the last chance to stop Hitler will be gone. 一旦俄国垮台,抑止希特勒的最后机会就没有了。
7 capitalism er4zy     
  • The essence of his argument is that capitalism cannot succeed.他的论点的核心是资本主义不能成功。
  • Capitalism began to develop in Russia in the 19th century.十九世纪资本主义在俄国开始发展。
8 chagrin 1cyyX     
  • His increasingly visible chagrin sets up a vicious circle.他的明显的不满引起了一种恶性循环。
  • Much to his chagrin,he did not win the race.使他大为懊恼的是他赛跑没获胜。
9 generic mgixr     
  • I usually buy generic clothes instead of name brands.我通常买普通的衣服,不买名牌。
  • The generic woman appears to have an extraordinary faculty for swallowing the individual.一般妇女在婚后似乎有特别突出的抑制个性的能力。
10 eke Dj6zr     
  • They had to eke out a livinga tiny income.他们不得不靠微薄收入勉强度日。
  • We must try to eke out our water supply.我们必须尽量节约用水。
11 woes 887656d87afcd3df018215107a0daaab     
困境( woe的名词复数 ); 悲伤; 我好苦哇; 某人就要倒霉
  • Thanks for listening to my woes. 谢谢您听我诉说不幸的遭遇。
  • She has cried the blues about its financial woes. 对于经济的困难她叫苦不迭。
12 risky IXVxe     
  • It may be risky but we will chance it anyhow.这可能有危险,但我们无论如何要冒一冒险。
  • He is well aware how risky this investment is.他心里对这项投资的风险十分清楚。
13 crunch uOgzM     
  • If it comes to the crunch they'll support us.关键时刻他们是会支持我们的。
  • People who crunch nuts at the movies can be very annoying.看电影时嘎吱作声地嚼干果的人会使人十分讨厌。
14 sweeping ihCzZ4     
  • The citizens voted for sweeping reforms.公民投票支持全面的改革。
  • Can you hear the wind sweeping through the branches?你能听到风掠过树枝的声音吗?
15 herald qdCzd     
  • In England, the cuckoo is the herald of spring.在英国杜鹃鸟是报春的使者。
  • Dawn is the herald of day.曙光是白昼的先驱。
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