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June 13: What’s Wrong with Wall Street

June 12, 2015

26lowenstein01-190Louis Lowenstein, a corporate executive and founder of a major business law firm who in 1980 began publishing scathing critiques of how Wall Street operates, was born in New York on this date in 1925. Lowenstein headed Supermarkets General, which later became Pathmark, and was founder of Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin. In 1980 he became a full-time business law professor at Columbia and “provocatively analyzed the practices of money managers, takeover artists, junk bond dealers and practitioners of leveraged buyouts,” wrote Dennis Hevesi in the New York Times. “His message, in books, op-ed articles and testimony before Congress, was simple: too much speculation and too little long-term investment were undermining American business.” Lowenstein’s books included What’s Wrong With Wall Street (1988), Sense and Nonsense in Corporate Finance (1991), and The Investor’s Dilemma: How Mutual Funds Are Betraying Your Trust and What to Do About It (2008). He was chair of the New York Coalition for the Homeless at the time of his death at 83 in 2009.

“Lowenstein was a highly influential scholar and teacher who mentored generations of Law School students, both as a beloved professor and also as chair of the board of directors of the Columbia Law Review.” —Simon H. Rifkind