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Early stages of a culture change in finance?

WICHITA — Remember when Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” came out in the 80s and everybody knew that Gordon Gecko was the villain. But as time went on, that judgment became fuzzier and fuzzier during the 80s, the 90s and the 00s as the market went up and up. The famous line “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” was no longer ironic. Critics lamented that our best and brightest went off to Wall Street instead of inventing a cure for cancer or a breakthrough gadget. Well, that may be changing. It could be just a temporary reaction to the crappy job market on Wall Street — or it may be that the reputation of Wall Street has now become unsavory enough to overcome the allure of fabulous riches. Time will tell if the change will be sustained, but it would be a boon to the country if fewer of our smartest went into finance, which in the last 30 years has grown way beyond what is required for the economy.

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