Monday, November 1, 2010

Financial Speculation–We’re Doomed

A generation of our best and brightest have gone from making new things, tangible things, that people need to making deals. Instead of creating the next generation of power, transport and food technologies, our best and brightest are busy with financial speculation, mergers & acquisitions - shuffling around existing wealth into different pockets as opposed to creating additional wealth.  It's this activity, with the support of both parties of our government, that has gutted American manufacturing - and the housing business - the true creators of long-term wealth.

I've been curious what the value of financial speculation is. I read, over and over, that it is to provide liquidity. Without the speculators, the markets would have no buyers and sellers and everything would grind to a halt. I think that's an immense exaggeration. I think the truth is more that we, the aggregate of small investors, provide liquidity for them! Our money, in the form of our small individual 401K accounts, our mutual funds, and IRA accounts, provides the funds for them to play their games and walk off with hundreds of millions, sometimes billions of dollars in compensation. Without the accumulated funds from the "little guys" they would have no money to play with - and perhaps that's good. It would also keep them from making trouble for the rest of us. If only we had alternatives that could provide us with a decent return. I wish the best and the brightest would work on that.