Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Friday, October 10, 2008


Dear Lazyweb,

1. In 1929, how many Wall Streeters actually did leap to their deaths from their office windows? I'd be surprised if it were as many as 10. Growing up during the sixties, I had the impression it was raining stockbrokers on Black Tuesday; but now I find it hard to believe.

2. They had names. Who were they?

3. Why did they kill themselves? In 1929, was there a greater sense of personal responsibility for the margin calls they wouldn't be able to make? A greater fear of the shame that would attach to them personally?

4. Has any Wall Streeter killed himself or herself during the current financial crisis?

5. Have any of the current super wealthy attempted to guarantee the system using their personal wealth, as Rockefeller did in 1907?

I pray the answer to 4 is no.... yet I wonder about what level of personal responsibility we should expect, and why it's different than 1929 and earlier.