Introduction, page 1-5 and Michael Lewis’s article for Vanity Fair,”Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?”

  • Sergey Aleynikov the inspiration for Flash Boys, a Russian computer programmer who came to America to live the American dream and worked for Goldman Sachs, an American multinational investment banking firm, was arrested July 3, 2009, and was the only employee charged with the crime of stealing from Goldman Sachs. This crime was important enough to call the FBI, and the question is brought up if the code was so valuable and dangerous, how did a Russian who had worked for Goldman Sachs for only two years get his hands on it. Also brought up was the concept that since the stock market crash in 1987, the U.S stock market  now trades completely with computers and even an expert cannot explain what happens inside them or why, as well as the concept of the magnitude of the stakes in the stock market, and that picture.
  • On page four, chapter two it is discussed the picture of the stock market and that,”This book is an attempt to draw that picture…of computers, programmed to behave impersonally in ways that the programmer himself would never do personally”
  • It is said that ever since the crash in 2007, computers are replacing people. My question, is why is the stock market becoming ran by computers so important, when other parts of society is also becoming ran by computers. I also would like to learn more about the direct affect this has, and if it is a bad or good thing to replace people with computers. It is said that not even experts can say what happens in the stock market and why, which says something about how blind the people in the inside are, and makes me wonder how far up do you have to go to find the people who do know and control what happens. Since the ‘experts’ are blind to this, what does this say about how the stock market works and the possible corruption of it? I think that something should be done about the stock market and I hope the book goes into more detail about how it works so I can understand it and develop a better opinion.
  • In Michael Lewis’s article for Vanity Fair, Lewis makes a convincing case that Sergey Alenynikov’s worst mistake in life was going to America and working for Goldman Sachs. He goes on to discuss the lack of search and arrest warrants, biased law enforcement, not informing Alenynikov of why he was arrested until later as well as not telling Alenynikov his Miranda rights until he was in an interrogation room, and the lack of education of the law enforcement, with the officer directly dealing with Alenynikov later admitting he had no idea the value of the code.
  • “McSwain [ the agent in charge of Alenynikov’s case ] later conceded that he didn’t seek out independent expert advice to study the code Serge Alenynikov had taken…He himself had no idea the value of the stolen code”
  • Because Alenynikov was the inspiration for Flash Boys, I decided to do more research on him and his case. I came across this article also written by Michael Lewis, September 2013, which explains in more detail Alenynikov’s situation.  Some of the things that the FBI and the government in general did in terms of Alenynikov and his arrest does not follow protocol and the rules. While Alenynikov did steal code from Goldman Sachs, he didn’t open it when he had it after he stopped working at Goldman Sachs. This is interesting because if it was so important to get the FBI involved and neglect him of his rights, why didn’t Alenynikov open it? Also, Alenynikov only worked at Goldman Sachs for two years, and since code was important enough to get the FBI involved, I think he didn’t open it because Alenynikov was unaware of how important it was. Which goes back to my previous thoughts about the experts being blind and the people in the inside themselves not understanding how wall street and the stock market works.
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3 thoughts on “Introduction, page 1-5 and Michael Lewis’s article for Vanity Fair,”Did Goldman Sachs Overstep in Criminally Charging Its Ex-Programmer?”

  1. Thorough post. It seems like you’ve got a handle on the subject. A couple of reactions–one is that people who are experts on the stock market might not know what exactly is going on because the system is too complex for the human brain to manage it conceptually, and no one can exactly predict human behavior; it is human behavior that drives the market after all. Secondly, the case is interesting because money oftentimes corrupts virtuous motives. Since there is so much money on Wall Street, laws and normal due process doesn’t always seem to take place. One really doesn’t really need to look much further than the CEOs who were never punished for squandering some people’s entire retirement by making risky bets on the market.

    Liked by 1 person

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