I am a liberal activist: I want equal rights for people, no matter what genitalia they have or what taste they have for genitalia in others, no matter whether they become the color of a lobster when they are exposed to the Evil Day Star or whether they ash at the knees. I want the state and religion to be separate, so that the power of the state can never be used to persecute all who do not believe the same way as those in power.
And I also want people to be compensated fairly for their work. If many work for years at jobs 40 or more hours a week and are below the poverty level their entire lives, while CEO’s crash their companies and the economy and are given billions in bonuses, that is not a matter of the poor not working hard enough or the rich being rich through their hard work and planning. That points to a broken system. A system that needs critique, evaluation and overhaul. Hopefully Occupy Wall Street will help start some of that discussion and lead to action.
I consider the speculative markets to be of less merit than a casino. At least when you go into a casino, there is no pretense that you are doing other than gambling. The house may rig the system before you ever walk in the door, but you have a choice of whether you walk in the door, and if you choose not to- it won’t affect you.
That is not true of the speculative markets. You can choose not to play and still have your fortunes change, your job lost, your house foreclosed on, because of someone else’s throw of the dice. Speculation in financial markets adds 20%-25% to the cost of oil and is starting to artificially inflate food prices.
The speculative markets do not create. They do not grow food, they do not make products, they do not transport goods to where they are needed. They do not research or build, they do not solve problems. They don’t even store money or give out loans like a credit union or bank. They don’t prime the pump of industry.
What the speculative markets do is move money from those who cannot afford the best investment firms to those who can, from those who do not have inside information to those who do. And worse, the financial markets lure away people from fields that could better use their talents for the good of people and society.
Speculative markets are thieves stealing talent, brains and money away from fields that actually serve some worthwhile purpose. And we should seriously consider how to prevent them from doing so.