Meltdown

The Recession’s New Math

Remember the happy days of 2006? That year, Lee Eisenberg began research on The Number, a book about “how much money we think we’ll need to feel emotionally and financially secure over the long haul: How much does it take to go off to write the great American novel or buy an unlimited pause to refresh? How much does it take to quit the rat race?” he writes in Conde Nast Portfolio. “The Number? Oh, you mean ‘Fuck you’ money,” says a veteran Wall Streeter. But these days, Eisenberg writes, it’s all about a different calculation: the “I’m Fucked!” number. “‘Fuck you’ money?” he writes. “How quaint. ‘I’m fucked’ money? Now we’re talking.”