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This a revised and slightly expanded transcript of a talk given by Doug Henwood at the Brecht Forum, New York City, June 25, 1997. It was televised by C-SPAN on June 30 and July 1, 1997. The links were updated in April 2005; the rest of the text is unchanged.

Class racket

This talk is based in part on Doug Henwood's book Wall Street, which was published by Verso in hardcover in 1997, and in paper in 1998. Verso let the book go out of print in March 2005, and the rights reverted to the author. It's now available for free download here.

With the Dow pushing 8,000, and our collective national attention focused on the stock market with a fervor unseen for almost 30 years - with the prominent exception of a little 500 point decline almost ten years ago - and people talking seriously about privatizing Social Security and putting all our public retirement funds in the hands of Wall Street, there's hardly been a better time to talk seriously about the real meaning of the financial markets. Unfortunately, with triumphalism the national mood, and pundits and politicians promoting the U.S. economy as a model for the world - an example being Clinton's strutting behavior at the recent G-7 summit - what I'm about to say runs sharply against the grain. By the way, I think the triumphalism is highly unwarranted, a theme I'll return to at the end of this talk. For now, let's just talk about Wall Street.

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