I really liked the Four Horsemen illustration that accompanied Joseph Stiglitz’ column in Vanity Fair this month — Greed, Mendacity, Stupidity and Arrogance:




Wall Street’s Toxic Message
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Vanity Fair, July 2009


Category: Bailouts, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

39 Responses to “Four Horsemen of Wall Street”

  1. cvienne says:

    They put “arrogance” on the Black Horse…or wait, is that “mendacity” on a Black Horse too?

    I can’t see the Red, the White, & the Pale Horses…

    They’ve got their allegory all mixed up…

  2. That’s nice, but the Equuine–”Criminal Racketeering” is not to be spoken of, let alone depicted, correct?

  3. cvienne says:

    If that is the finish line, then the TRIFECTA pays out:

    WIN Stupidity
    PLACE Greed
    SHOW Arrogance

    …unless a Stewards Inquiry comes into effect…

  4. Sure.. it was “Stupidity”, better “Incompetence”..

    “Woocoodanode?”, Right?


    thanks for drawing attention to the “lead horse”..

  5. cvienne says:


    Just trying to do my part…:-)

    ‘ol BR keeps us on our toes…Now he’s turning us into art critics for crying out loud!

  6. Mannwich says:

    Speaking of the “Four Horseman”, record credit defaults……..coming to a town near you. This should do wonders for those banking and credit card company financials. Oh wait, those don’t matter. They can just report their “mark to fantasy” numbers and all is well on Fantasy Island, says Tatoo.


  7. Marcus Aurelius says:

    It’d be more accurate if they replaced Mendacity with Criminality.

  8. DL says:

    How many of us would turn down the opportunity to make $1 M per year, or even $10 M, selling financial weapons of mass destruction?

  9. Marcus Aurelius says:


    How many of us sell drugs for that kind of money? We could, y’know. The real question is how many of us would turn down the opportunity to make $1 M/$10 M, selling financial weapons of mass destruction if the last guy that got caught doing it got a 30 or 40 year sentence in a max-security Federal Pen?

  10. DL,

    I won’t bore you with a forensic listing of ‘opportunities’, though, you should know that more than ‘a few’ have taken a Pass on that Scene..

  11. pneely says:

    Give credit where credit is due. The artist is Edward Sorel, a leading (top two, with David Levine) illustrator/caricaturist of recent decades.

  12. Pat G. says:


    I’d replace Stupidity with Criminality. They’re not stupid. Mendacity is an art form which they hone, like politicians.

    ‘The real question is how many of us would turn down the opportunity to make $1 M/$10 M, selling financial weapons of mass destruction if the last guy that got caught doing it got a 30 or 40 year sentence in a max-security Federal Pen?’ That’s a really good point!!

  13. mcrcr4 says:

    DL, good afternoon.

    I have asked the question of people: Would you sell financial weapons of mass destruction knowing it would potentially bring the country to its financial knees? To a person, no one has yet said they would although some thought the “knowing” part left a lot of wiggle room and said they might if they did not know of the consequences. Reminds me of the question to the hooker and the debate over the price.

    Best regards,

  14. DL says:

    Marcus Aurelius @ 4:56

    The odds of doing any time in prison are slim-to-none; for the few that go there, it’ll be 6 months in a “country club prison”.
    . . . . . . . . . . . .

    mcrcr4 @ 7:31

    “I have asked the question of people: Would you sell financial weapons of mass destruction knowing it would potentially bring the country to its financial knees?”

    I think it would have to be a close personal friend in order to be sure of getting an honest answer. And yes, it’s a little like the “question to the hooker and the debate over the price”.

  15. constantnormal says:


    Hey Barry, here’s the reason why several people advised waiting until after WWDC before getting a new Macbook Pro … http://anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled chaos …

  16. Steve Barry says:

    Can someone explain to me now the postings work on the re-designed site here? If I click on the BP icon on top, it seems to list only BR’s posts. On the right, Recent Posts, seem to have other posts, mainly from Peter, and only 5 recent posts. Now Recent Posts are also appearing under Think Tank…and BR’s posts, like this one, don’t appear under Recent Posts…I don’t feel comfortable navigating anymore. Why aren’t BR’s posts under Recent Posts? Is it just that Peter is posting that much more today?

  17. greg says:

    Mike in Nola-

    Mike if you’re around, I hope you covered your Apple short today. Think we are done going down.

  18. Bruce in Tn says:


    Global data ( not a feeling) is just not improving, buds. Manufacturing in New Zealand. Retail sales in Singapore. Import prices in Switzerland. Employment in the Eurozone. Empire state in the US. Long term capital inflows in the US….

    Steve has commented that we really have yet to tackle the debt problem. California is bankrupt and more nervous than a w…. in church. The housing crisis has another very large leg to go down.

    In general, I am not a pessimist. But, I am a realist. Life has been exceptionally good to me. But to bet that we come out of this debacle anytime soon, that is not a bet I would take.

  19. Steve Barry says:


    Agreed…two data points today smashed the green shoots theory:

    1) The all-time record credit card defaults, still rising, per Mannwich above

    2) Per Peter B:

    “China sold $4.4b of treasuries but after buying $23.7b in March and Japan sold $800mm but after buying $24.8b in March.”

  20. cvienne says:


    Whoa…not so fast there trigger…

    I know 6 straight days of red candlesticks have some allure…

    But I’d say you see a PRINT of $133.50 tomorrow…It may bounce off that and rally to $138 by Thursday…but I’m looking at, say, a $128 handle next week…

    Disclosure: I don’t own AAPL, I’m not short AAPL…But I’m considering going itsy bitsy long at $128…

    And remember…at some point it’s GOTTA test that $117 level going all the way back to February ’08…There’s no way the stock can ultimately go higher unless it confirms that number…There’s such a gap in the $117 – $125 range, I’d say that some work needs to be done to fill in that area…

    Just my 2 cents…

  21. Bruce in Tn says:

    However there is one green shoot:


    Boeing receives no orders at Paris Air Show

    …ANY orders from now on will be a 100% improvement!

  22. cvienne says:

    @Steve Barry (9:17)

    …and this just in

    June 15 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve isn’t capable of offsetting the “flood” of U.S. Treasury borrowing with its bond-purchase program, which is helping to revive credit markets, Dallas district-bank President Richard Fisher said.

    “The program has had its impact,” Fisher said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “At the same time, you cannot counter this enormous flood” of borrowing “coming from the United States Treasury.”

    Still…I believe that equities will at least ride out the quarter on a positive note (perhaps even push up to technical levels on the upside, say around 972)…

    They’ll probably have to do one last gasp push on oil and commodities to get that to happen, and maybe some banks will come along for the ride if they figure they can SPIN the idea of regulation (or lack thereof) into a “oh, we’re focused on healthcare now so we don’t have time for that” debate…

    But the days are numbered…

  23. Bruce in Tn says:


    I did find us some of that TARP money….we can get started on GS, Junior.


  24. greg says:


    Don’t see the gap at $117-125 that you mention. Please clarify.

  25. cvienne says:

    @Bruce in Tn (9:32)

    It’s useless…

    I figured I might as well be ‘LIVIN LARGE like Obama so I tried to type in a TRILLION dollars and ran out of space…

    What effin good is it if I can’t write a TRILLION dollar check for cryin’ out loud? What kind of cockamamey bailout is that? :-)

  26. cvienne says:


    Look at the February 22, 25,26, 2008 candlesticks on AAPL…

    Then look at the GAP down on 9/26/08 (close) – 9/29/08 (open)…

    I’d say that that’s an area that needs some “technical work”…You could say that from 5/13 – 5/22, there was already technical work there, but if you ask me, that was under the “green shoots” guise…

    I think the price needs to go down and RE-ASSERT that level at some point…

    Moreover, that ZONE is exactly at a 50% and 61.8& FIBO retracement from the end of March “basing low” of 102, and the recent high…

    Of course this is all JMO…but it would be more glamorous on the charts to go ahead and draw those lines to really see where we’re at…

  27. cvienne says:


    …and then the question is…if it takes a few more weeks for AAPL to dick around and draw those lines…

    Might we not then be on the verge of a total market meltdown?

    So if a stock is struggling in it’s own private Idaho to draw a long term H&S…then at the moment of the “money shot”, the entire market gets castrated, you’re sitting there in a pile of ashes wondering what went wrong…

    I don’t know shit from shinola, but I always try to to poke holes in any thesis I generate…

  28. Bruce in Tn says:

    Actually, cvienne, I think you could write more than one….(see GM….)

  29. greg says:

    Gap was filled in April and retested in May. I think we have just seen the usual WWDC hangover decline, which should now be followed by momentum into the 3gs launch and the expected return of Dear Leader. JMO as well.

  30. cvienne says:


    I’m not against you my friend…In fact, on the contrary…

    I want to go long the stock…I see $160 upside potential if things go right…

    I’m cautious though…I’m not sticking a toe in until I see $128…Otherwise, I’ll pass…And that will only be a small position…If it then breaks down to $118, I’ll up the ante but with some VERY TIGHT STOPS…

    If I miss all those prints and never get in…I’ll applaud all the rest who make $$ with vigor…

    Cheers my friend…Let’s hope we all make some $$ on this pony…

  31. cvienne says:


    OK one last look…

    I’ll buy $125.80 on June 26th…

    How does that sound? :-)

  32. greg says:


    Scott Moritz of The Street .Com just published his first negative Apple column re: May sales. Usually marks a bottom. He still thinks there are some 4 million missing iphones or something, and feels those little notebooks are taking market share from regular grown up computers. He points out that Apple doesn’t make a computer under $999. I did not know that…this could cripple the damn company. Let’s hope they don’t have much debt, or I could see a secondary and possibly a thirdary in the works. That would not be good for the stock at all.

  33. greg says:


    just saw your 10.23 post. Don’t think you’ll get the chance, but if you do…good luck.

  34. Mannwich says:

    I’m a buyer of AAPL when it hits $90 again.

  35. greg says:


    You mean $90 split adjusted? Did you pick up your iphone, or perchance your 20″ iMac yet?

  36. Mannwich says:

    @greg: No, 90, period. Nyet on the I-Phone. Ditto iMac. Too expensive. Would miss the keyboard on the I-Phone. Might wait until November and switch to a Palm Pre.

  37. greg says:


    And I thought we had a convert! iPhone has a keyboard, it’s just not a typewriter. Off to bed now, though sleep will not come easy tonite my friend, knowing there are those still wandering in the wilderness.

  38. some_guy_in_a_cube says:

    “Greed, Mendacity, Stupidity and Arrogance”

    We’ve really learned our lesson this time!

    Until the next time it happens all over again.

  39. thetanman says:

    Does anyone else find it fascinating that the last two episodes of globalization have perpetrated mass swindles? As soon as everyone has the same ideas, then when bad ideas take root, you’re screwed. Globalization barely gets going and it blows up in a shower of Ponzi sparks. As soon as Globalization fails to benefit all the moneyed interests, it falls to pieces, because its one big money chase. Anyway, everything has been done and will be done to save the Global ponzi economy. On the small chance we do go down in flames this time, at least it will be interesting to see what the limits are. My bet is there will be none. Global ponzi finance will be defended at all costs. If we do dodge a bullet, we will move to the stage of a government debt bubble. The attempted save on that will be something to see. We are already seeing the effect of the US throwing off vast amounts of money to the emerging markets and commodities. Foreigners will buy up our companies on the cheap because they know they can run them better. And improved management won’t involve hiring Americans. I don’t think people realize how seductive, yet ruinous this path is. But at least it has been well worn over the centuries.