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意外!华尔街人士支持“占领华尔街”

Lauren Barack 2011年10月24日

《财富》杂志本次走访的并非“占领华尔街”抗议者,而是该运动指向的靶子——华尔街人士。令人惊异的是,他们对抗议者心怀同情。

    在抗议者心中,华尔街人士正是问题的症结所在。可是,在华尔街金融公司的普通员工中,不用太费劲就会发现一种出人意料的情绪:他们对在祖科蒂公园(Zuccotti Park)安营扎寨的抗议者不无同情。

    “在华尔街内部,也有许多人士跟那99%的民众没什么区别,”华尔街一家小型投资公司的合伙人表示。他现年44岁,说这话时正走在拿骚街——离抗议者集中的地方仅隔了一个街区。“比方说,高盛(Goldman Sachs)支付一定金额的奖金之后,人们会说其雇员平均拿到了50万美元。可这跟事实差得也太远了,多数人都能不到这么高的奖金。华尔街内部许多人跟抗议者没什么区别,要不是有顾虑,他们早就走上街头,参与抗议了。”

    按华尔街的标准来衡量,2011年肯定是个糟糕的年份。许多银行都计划裁掉数千名员工,包括瑞银(UBS)和高盛这样的业界翘楚,美国银行(Bank of America)更是宣布,将在今后几年内裁撤3万名员工。尽管如此,还是很难想象这些身穿蓝色西服的金融从业者会跑到百老汇去举牌抗议,或是换上纽约现在最流行的衣服:喷着“我是99%”字样的T恤。没错,今年奖金少了点——但至少不会落空。

    尽管如此,抗议者们仍赢得了广泛共鸣,注意他们的远不止是祖科蒂公园的人们。在百老汇东边那些较为安静的街区,华尔街金融公司的员工走过设置着路障的人行道,前去买点三明治、咖啡或抽支香烟时,他们也同样会关注抗议活动。有些人或许会因正常生活受到影响而恼怒——地铁站关闭、麦当劳拥挤不堪之类,不过其他人不禁揣摩,抗议者们有没有道理呢?

    最近一天早晨,特洛伊•霍兰德称:“世道艰难,大银行获得了政府救援,可对小公司来说,生存就艰难得多了。”他是华尔街小型投资公司HIC金融的高管,当时正赶往祖科蒂公园的抗议现场。霍兰德身穿一件老派细条纹西装,风格与多数抗议者格格不入,可他同样有自己的不满——担心本公司在当今环境下的竞争能力。他说:“虽然我们是企业家,拥有自己的公司,但我们其实也属于占领华尔街运动中所说的99%。他们说得没错。”

    当然,华尔街仍然充斥着收入足以跻身最富有1%之列的银行家。归根结底,根据纽约州审计署(the New York State Comptroller)的数据,在纽约市证券行业工作的人士,平均薪酬高达361,330美元,比其他私营行业的平均水平高出了5.5倍。不过,华尔街的许多工作人员只是助手、办事员或邮件收发员——尽管华尔街的运转离不开这些人,但他们不大可能拿到六位数的薪水。(对此笔者深有体会——我本人就曾是其中一员。)

    其中,有些人对抗议活动的观感颇为复杂。“对于抗议者,我有些共鸣,又有些愤怒,”华尔街附近一家保险公司的执行助理表示,“我不知道他们到底在期待什么。能有什么变化呢?”

    当然,华尔街本身已经起了变化。花旗银行(Citigroup)和摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)现在的总部都在曼哈顿中城,远离下城金融区那不见天日的狭窄街区。此外,金融区附近住着的不仅是银行家,还有许多富裕家庭,那里成了一个虽昂贵但很受欢迎的居民区。最近一个早上,在摩根大通的第一大通曼哈顿广场(Chase Manhattan Plaza),来自附近一家托儿所的小孩比公司的职员还多。孩子们在杜布菲的雕塑作品下手舞足蹈,完全不知道几个街区外的喧嚣。

    “我就在华尔街工作,华尔街只是个地名而已,”上述44岁的投行合伙人称,但他不愿透露自己的名字。他还称,“它只不过是一个象征,代表着人们反对的东西。”

    华尔街大公司的首席执行官们也意识到,是时候做出感同身受的表态了。以花旗银行潘伟迪为例,他上周接受《财富》杂志(Fortune)主编赛安迪采访时称,抗议者的不满情绪是“……完全可以理解的”。还称“金融机构与美国公民之间的信任纽带已被割裂。华尔街有义务走出来,主动与主流社会搞好关系,重建这种信任。”

    可他们真的这么做了吗?美国银行和富国银行最近都宣布将新增借记卡收费项目,而花旗将提高部分支票账户的收费,买单者显然正是主流社会。

    金融区西装革履的员工中,不乏抗议活动的同情者,但也不是那么容易找到。每一个关切抗议者希望实现何种目标的华尔街雇员背后,都有好几个经常出入拿骚、派恩、威廉和自由街走动的人士深感不满,认为抗议者制造了很多麻烦:由于许多广场和街道设置了路障,原本就拥挤不堪的曼哈顿下城更像个迷宫了。

    “他们有权集会,” 在布朗兄弟哈里曼公司(Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.)位于百老汇140号的总部大楼前,一位银行经理人正在站着与友人聊天。他今年29岁,从事贷款业务。“但是现在开始有些烦人了。”

    译者:小宇

    To the protester, they represent the problem. But you don't have to search long among Wall Street's rank and file to find something unexpected: sympathy for the occupiers of Zuccotti Park.

    "There are a lot of folks on Wall Street who are just like the 99 percenters," says a 44-year-old principal at a small investment firm on Wall Street, walking along Nassau Street, about a block from the protests. "Goldman Sachs for example pays out a certain amount in bonuses, and they say that employees get an average of $500,000. That's not even close to the truth. Most don't get that. Many on Wall Street are just like them and would like to join them but are afraid."

    In Wall Street terms, 2011 is certainly shaping up to be a bad year. Banks from UBS (UBS) to Goldman Sachs (GS) are planning thousands of layoffs. Bank of America alone is promising to shed 30,000 jobs over the next few years. Yet it's hard to imagine the blue suits carrying signs along Broadway or sporting New York's latest fashion must have: a spray-painted t-shirt proclaiming 'I am a 99 Percenter.' Sure, bonuses are smaller this year -- but they're still coming.

    Still, the protesters have made their mark, and not just in Zuccotti Park. Along the quieter streets east of Broadway, as Wall Street-types make their way along barricaded sidewalks for a sandwich, coffee or smoke, they're paying attention to the demonstrations. Some may be annoyed at the disruption -- closed subway stops, and an overcrowded McDonalds. But others wonder, do the protesters have a point?

    "The big banks got the bailouts but it's much harder for the smaller firms to survive," says Troy Holland, 39, an officer with HIC Financial, a small investment banking firm on Wall Street, who was heading over to the protest at Zuccotti Park on a recent morning. Donning a pinstriped suit, Holland could hardly be mistaken for a protester. And yet he has concerns about his firm's ability to compete today. "As entrepreneurs with our own firm we are the 99% just like Occupy Wall Street. [They] got it right."

    Certainly Wall Street is studded with bankers firmly within the 1%. The average salary for those who work in New York City's securities industry is, after all, $361,330 -- 5.5 times higher than the average in other private sectors, according to the New York State Comptroller. But many on Wall Street are themselves assistants, clerical staff and mailroom clerks -- the workers who keep Wall Street humming who are unlikely breaking six figures a year. (I should know. I was once one of them.)

    Some of them have mixed feelings about the movement. "I have a little bit of empathy and anger for the protesters," said an executive assistant for an insurance firm near Wall Street. "I don't know what they're expecting. What's going to change?"

    But of course Wall Street itself has changed. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are headquartered in midtown -- far from the dark downtown tunnels of the financial district. And families populate the neighborhood now as much as bankers, with the financial district a popular and expensive residential area. Toddlers from a child care center on Chase Manhattan Plaza outnumbered employees one recent morning, dancing under the Dubuffet sculpture, unaware of the chaos just blocks away.

    "I work on Wall Street and Wall Street is just a place," says the 44-year-old investment bank principal who didn't want his name printed. "It just signifies what everyone is fighting against."

    Yet CEOs have realized they need to start sounding the empathy bell. Take Vikram Pandit, Citigroup's CEO who noted that the complaints of those protesting are "…completely understandable," he told Fortune magazine's Andy Serwer last week. "Trust has been broken between financial institutions and the citizens of the U.S., and that is Wall Street's job, to reach out to Main Street and rebuild that trust."

    But are they really trying? Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) both announced new debit card charges, and Citigroup is raising some checking account fees aimed squarely at Main Street.

    Solidarity for the protesters can be found among the suits in the financial district, but not easily. For every Wall Street employee thoughtful about what the demonstrators hopes to accomplish, several others walking along Nassau, Pine, William and Liberty Street complained about the inconvenience the protesters have created, as the blocked plazas and streets create an even more maze-like warren in lower Manhattan.

    "They have the right to assemble," said one 29-year-old banking executive in the mortgage industry, chatting with a friend just outside Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.'s building at 140 Broadway. "But this is starting to get bothersome."

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