TIME Man on the Wire

Trading Faces: A Weeklong White-Knuckle Ride on the World’s Stock Markets

They became the unofficial faces of economic panic in 2008, traders looking angry, traders looking lost, traders looking sad and now as the world markets collapse they're back.

They became the unofficial faces of economic panic in 2008, when it felt like the entire financial world was collapsing. From New York to London to Hong Kong, their photos were everywhere: traders looking angry, traders looking lost, traders looking sad. And why? Because the inner workings of the global economy are so abstract at times that it seems more understandable if we put a face on what’s happening, even though today’s traders aren’t nearly as important as they were before the age of digital communication and the Internet.

Now, they’re back. Within the last several weeks, since Congress passed a debt deal that was supposed to save us from a stock market falloff, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost roughly 1,500 points, more than 10 percent of its value. Bring on the sad traders. New York Magazine reported that The Brokers With Their Hands on Their Faces Blog and Sad Guys on Trading Floors blog were recently updated, the first time since 2009. And across business pages and economics sites, the gloomy trader has made his return. But this time, hopefully his re-emergence will be much shorter-lived.

Post produced by Phil Bicker

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