2010-10-30vanityfair.com

``In the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, there was no more infectious disease on Wall Street than Goldman envy. Goldman Sachs, perhaps the most storied name in all of American finance, had gone public only in 1999, the last of the big firms to do so. After the I.P.O., Goldman’s mind-boggling profits were on full display. Starting in 2003, Goldman went on a run the likes of which had rarely been seen in American business. In just three years, its revenues more than doubled, to $38 billion, as its profits skyrocketed. In 2007, C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein received a bonus of more than $68 million. Even junior traders made millions. Who wouldn’t be jealous of numbers like those? UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank—they were all stricken, to varying degrees, with Goldman envy. No firm, though, had it worse than Merrill Lynch. And once the crisis struck, there was no firm for whom the disease would prove to be more fatal.''


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