"The smart kids in school, we have learned, went into major-league banking and invented brilliant financial machinery that effectively turned smoldering waste into gold. They lent money to any would-be homeowner with a signature and bundled these lousy loans together. Then they refashioned these malodorous piles of trash into new securities that complicit ratings agencies deemed as safe as Uncle Sam's savings bonds. They sold their inventory to pension funds, municipalities and other institutions that saw a AAA rating and dug no deeper. By the time the world figured out that the bankers had been peddling garbage, somebody else owned it."
Bob Dylan is truly a sage. This is the best simple explanation of the Wall Street Robber Barons I've seen so far.