Tom Wolfe on the Super-Rich

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Twenty years ago, super-novelist Tom Wolfe gave America "masters of the universe" and a new vocabulary for the lifestyles of the big-money rich in his bestselling "Bonfire of the Vanities."

Now, Tom Wolfe is back, wickedly skewering the super-rich of a new century — the billion-dollar boys of the mega-money hedge fund world. The "more money than God" world of titanic egos, swashbuckling pirate ethics, and wives so rich they farm their pregnancies out to rented birth mothers.

This hour On Point: novelist Tom Wolfe talks about the "stones-out Delta commandos of capitalism," and the world our hedge fund pirates are building.


Tom Wolfe, bestselling author of 13 books. He's just written an article for Portfolio magazine chronicling the lives of the super-wealthy hedge fund managers.

Joe Nocera, business columnist for the New York Times, and contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine.

Quotes from the Show:

"The funds managers have different strategies for making money, presumably for their investors. They now do so-called pirate raids." Tom Wolfe

"The real center of hedge funds is Greenwich, Connecticut. ... Wall Street becomes like the Chicago commodities stock exchange compared to Greenwich." Tom Wolfe

"The customers, investors do not care what these people [hedge-fund managers] are like." Tom Wolfe

"Some of the hedge fund managers will come to important meetings with investors barefoot. ...They want to show that they are apart from the herd. They consider CEOs and even bureaucrats as part of the herd to be avoided at all costs." Tom Wolfe

"They are totally oblivious, totally immune to the needs of others. ... As far as money goes and politics, they are the politics." Anonymous listener

"There've always been rich people in America who have acted as financiers. I am having a hard time seeing what's really different about the [hedge-fund managers]." Joe Nocera

This program aired on April 25, 2007.


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