Friday, October 10, 2008

What Market? Program Traders Feast on Other People's Wealth by Louis Evan Palmer

The market, popularly thought of as thriving industrious individuals who behave rationally and collect relevant information and make informed decisions - or not. It's not true in today's market if it ever was. Today's market is electronic and hierarchical, the small trades feed into the bigger trades feed into the trades which qualify as program trades. A standard definition being over $1 million worth of 15 or more stocks. But even that is piddling compared to the real movers and shakers.

The big investment banks employ more staff on their IT side than on their trading side. As do the hedge and mutual funds. The volumes and percentages of all trading done by a few behemoths is increasing. The danger from hackers especially well-placed insiders is far greater here than elsewhere. Siphoning off even a hundred million a day is within rounding errors. The small and decreasing circle of those who trade the bulk of the world's financial markers wield enormous unaccountable power with access to vast sums of computer entries representing value, ultimately money, goods & services. What better place from which to launder proceeds of crime and illegal black ops funds. What better place from which to manipulate the world exchanges and economies for profit and towards ends other than those publicly stated.

Who really counts in the world trading forums, who has access to the truly huge funds? Maybe 2,000, maybe 3,000. A few clicks here and there and a national economy crashes, or a company, or a currency. Jerk it up, jerk it down, make a pile. Mostly anonymous, certainly unaccountable.

Is there any control over who has the rights to trade and how much they can move? Is it right that "traders" and their host of speculators and financial jackals can ravage economies at their whim, for their own reasons, for their own benefit? Making money off of people's fear & greed, juicing it out of them just like that.

Who's driving this soon-to-be train wreck?

What Market? Program Traders Feast on Other People's Wealth, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2008 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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