Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who Gives A Damn About The Stock Market?

There is strong element of sarcasm in the headline, but there is also an earnestness. Who really suffers from these volatile financial markets? And for that matter, who benefits from them? In the past week, the DJIA took triple digit losses for something like six days in a row. Then yesterday, there was a nearly-quadruple-digit rally. It makes me wonder, who are the people buying and selling that number of shares? They aren't anyone I know.

Like the winners and losers on American Idol, who represent a tiny fraction of musicians and artists, it seems that in spite of how large the stock market looms in our collective consciousness, we are actually thinking about a relatively small number of people who control it. Ordinary folks just have to sit anxiously by and hope their favorite mutual fund doesn't face Simon Cowell's virulent tongue. The only difference is that the stakes are retirement, health care, and municipal works, rather than merely bearing witness to someone else's fifteen minutes of lame.

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