WALL STREET: Tantrums Among the Giants

Though the New York Stock Exchange boasts of being the financial hub of capitalist free enterprise, it still tries to operate as a quasimonopoly. For 179 years, the exchange has been run as a private club in which membership is restricted and price competition forbidden. Two years of losses and a near crisis of public confidence have led the brokerage community to conclude that reform is essential. The Big Board is reluctantly edging toward more liberalized membership rules and competitive pricing, but these ideas are still heresy in some quarters. Consequently, the nation...

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