Readings: Goldman Partners, Atlanta’s Offices, The Wire at Harvard

Here’s what I’ve read recently:

1) “At Goldman, Partners are Made, Unmade” [New York Times] – the article begins with a bold introduction:

On Wall Street, becoming a partner at Goldman Sachs is considered the equivalent of winning the lottery.

And then goes on to explain that while achieving partner status at Goldman is joining the elite, the status may be taken away:

As many as 60 Goldman executives could be stripped of their partnerships this year to make way for new blood, people with firsthand knowledge of the process say. Inside the firm, the process is known as “de-partnering.” Goldman does not disclose who is no longer a partner, and many move on to jobs elsewhere; some stay, telling few of their fate.

I find this fact fascinating: I knew that Goldman had partners at its firm (even though the company is public), but I had no idea that partners could have been unmade. This is in stark contrast to academia, where a professor who has attained tenure usually will not be stripped of the status unless he does something completely stupid.

And while being de-partnered sounds bad, I find it hard to agree with the claim made by Michael Driscoll:

“Being partner at Goldman is the pinnacle of Wall Street; if you make it, you are considered set for life,” said Michael Driscoll, a visiting professor at Adelphi University and a senior managing director at Bear Sterns before that firm collapsed in 2008. “To have it taken away would just be devastating to an individual. There is just no other word for it.”

What do you think?

2) “Atlanta Awash in Empty Offices Struggles to Recover From Binge” [Bloomberg] – an insightful piece explaining how the recession is still deep, especially in my hometown, Atlanta.

The gist:

Atlanta is no longer showing robust population and job increases. Unemployment topped 10 percent for most of the past year and exceeded the national rate for most of 2008, 2009 and 2010. While Atlanta’s office space increased 5.8 percent in the past five years, office jobs shrank 9.8 percent

I was surprised to learn that Bank of America (the company) was not the largest tenant in the Bank of America Plaza:

Bank of America Corp., the largest tenant in the 55-story tower, plans to reduce its space to 13 percent from 30 percent and cut its rent to about half the current $36.65 a square foot, according to the watch-list data.

The homebuilders in Atlanta are idle as well:

Atlanta’s homebuilders, who had led the nation in single- family construction permits from 1995 to 2005, have been largely idled. Permit volume declined 91 percent from 2005 to 2009, according to the Census Bureau.

A lot more sobering statistics in the Bloomberg piece.

3) “Why We’re Teaching ‘The Wire’ at Harvard” [Harvard Kennedy School] – one of the most compelling, gritty, and moving television shows of all time is HBO’s The Wire. One Harvard course in urban inequality is embracing this television show:

Of course, our undergraduate students will read rigorous academic studies of the urban job market, education and the drug war. But the HBO series does what these texts can’t. More than simply telling a gripping story, “The Wire” shows how the deep inequality in inner-city America results from the web of lost jobs, bad schools, drugs, imprisonment, and how the situation feeds on itself.

Powerful. Certainly a strong testament that education can go beyond the textbook.

2 thoughts on “Readings: Goldman Partners, Atlanta’s Offices, The Wire at Harvard

  1. That Harvard would teach the Wire doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve heard of writing programs that teach Kurasawa, so why not the Wire?
    As Omar would say, “in-deed.”

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