Wall Street was one of the last powerful institutions to be defeated by online populists, in part because it has a higher barrier of entry. Anyone with an internet connection and a Twitter account can start a hashtag campaign, but since trading stocks costs money – and requires some degree of expertise and a commitment of time – it mostly does. assigned to experts.
Smartphone-based trading apps like Robinhood have changed that, by introducing commission free transactions and an interface that makes it as simple as ordering a burrito from Uber Eats. Suddenly, millions of amateurs could organize themselves, create their own market research and investment dissertations, spark excitement on Reddit topics and TikTok videos, and enter the casino with you guys. big. (Whether storming on the high roller table will help them financially is an entirely different question.)
The numerous reports on the GameStop saga have garnered the cheerfulness, vulgar enthusiasm of traders and the stunned disbelief of their Wall Street villains. But there’s an economic equity perspective that’s easy to miss. On r / WallStreetBets you will find hidden essays from traders saying that betting on GameStop makes them feel empowered in a financial system that only takes advantage of them and their families in many years.
One user wrote in a popular post Wednesday: “Greed is completely uncontrollable and this hilarious news story is tangible proof of that. “Don’t let them surprise you by thinking that it’s wrong for you to get a slightly larger piece of cake.”
If you can get past the madness and weird inner jargon, the Redditors will make a good score. The big banks and hedge funds actually play by different rules than retail investors. Wall Street banks were actually bailed out after the 2008 financial crisis while Main Street homeowners struggled. MBAs in nice suits probably aren’t more likely to give you better investment advice than those on YouTube with names like “RoaringKitty”.
While watching the TV series GameStop, I reflected on what author Martin Gurri called “the public rebellion”. The Internet empowers ordinary citizens by providing them with new information and tools, Gurri writes, which they then use to uncover gaps in the systems and institutions that govern their lives. surname. Once they discovered these deficiencies, he wrote, these citizens often rebelled, tearing down elites and ruling institutions out of anger at being deceived and rejected.
The result, Mr Gurri writes, is a kind of vengeful nihilism, a urge to destroy the foundation without a clear sense of what is supposed to replace it.