The Most Absurd Money Game Ever: 1980s Edition
“My father's generation grew up with certain beliefs. One of those beliefs is that the amount of money one earns is a rough guide to one's contribution to the welfare and prosperity of our society. ... It took watching his son being paid 225 grand at the age of twenty-seven, after two years on the job [as a bond trader with Salomon Bros. in the 1980s], to shake his faith in money. He has only recently recovered from the shock.
”I haven't. When you sit, as I did, at the center of what has been possibly the most absurd money game ever and benefit out of all proportion to your value to society ... when hundreds of equally undeserving people around you are all raking it in faster than they can count it, what happens to the money belief? Well, it depends. For some, good fortune simply reinforces the belief. They take the funny money seriously, as evidence that they are worthy citizens of the Republic. It becomes their guiding assumption—for it couldn't possibly be clearly thought out—that a talent for making money come out of a telephone is a reflection of merit on a grander scale. It is tempting to believe that people who think this way eventually suffer their comeuppance. They don't. They just get richer.“
--Michael Lewis, ”Liar's Poker," epilogue.