According to The New Yorker, the trading aspect of Wall Street is almost completely socially worthless, and only serves to make bankers rich… for a bit:
In September, [The Epicurean Dealmaker] and I met at a diner near my office. … Our conversation started out with some banter about the rivalry between bankers and traders at many Wall Street firms. As the traders came out on top in recent years, TED recalled, “they would say, ‘You guys are the real parasites, going to expensive lunches and doing deals on the back of our trading operations.’ ”He professed to be unaffected by this ribbing, but he said, “In my experience, the proprietary traders are always the clowns who make twenty million dollars a year until they lose a hundred million.”
I hadn’t heard of TED before, but I plan to start reading. On an empty stomach, though, guys. This finance stuff will make your soul hurt.