The “Reddit vs Wall Street” Saga Has Revealed the Socialist Within Us
This month we have witnessed something spectacular. Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets rallied its community, and eventually anyone even remotely interested in stock markets, to buy up GameStop’s shares. Their plan was funny and righteous: to trap big-money hedge funds into losses because they had bet that GameStop’s shares would fall. To say the plan worked would be an understatement. GameStop’s stock price rose astronomically, people who partook in the surge suddenly found themselves with inflated bank balances and the hedge funds lost billions.
An online forum upended the established, traditional norms of Wall Street. They are not seen as a group of reckless, mischievous brats who joined hands to destabilize the stock market just for the laughs. They are hailed as champions who outsmarted the corrupt elite in a David and Goliath scenario.
Why do we cheer for them so much? How is it that we are convinced to give our most precious possession (our wealth) to their cause just to see the establishment cry over their lost billions? The answer is simple, our generation is leaning more and more towards socialism.
That does not mean we are drifting towards China’s brand of socialism, but rather desire a shift from the hard capitalistic practices of the west. People are beginning to be disenfranchised with the idea that absolute free-markets will bring prosperity. Yet, they are convinced that some control over the economy will bring taxes on the wealthy, an increase in minimum wages, universal healthcare, and affordable tuition. After all, prosperity does not mean we become slaves to the necessities we deserve as human beings. Prosperity is achieved when we progress as a society without worrying about our basic needs.
2020 was the year of the pandemic. However, it was also the year of the billionaires. And the stock market is their den. They bought the low priced shares when the pandemic peaked in huge quantities, and when the market stabilized, they found themselves even richer. The rich play the stock games and come out even richer, to do it over again. While the poor toil away at minimum wages hoping to keep their job so that they don’t lose medical insurance.
We are born into a world where we are brainwashed to get a degree, for a job that will never pay out our debts. The rich get richer, the poor remain poor, and we are shown an illusion of liberty and freedom which we never get. These statements are felt by the young people in our times, but we keep these feelings bottled up. But lately, the bottle cap has started to unscrew at times.
When the Robinhood app disabled trading on the GameSpot shares, it only strengthened the socialist beliefs. The belief that the rich will swiftly move to crush any plebs that manage to gain a financial foothold. We can unscrew our bottled-up feelings to either review-bomb the app on the Play Store or stage a protest, it means there is a hidden socialist within us, and now it is showing.
And why wouldn’t the hidden socialist within us lash out? We are trapped in a vicious cycle, where the American Dream gives hope even to the person who is at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder that they can improve their life. As long as that dream keeps getting exploited, the status quo will remain intact.
So when we cheer for the amateur traders who squared up against the Wall Street biggies, it is a means of catharsis for us. A deep feeling, which gives us gratification when the elites feel the pain of losing money, while we bluntly think of the phrase “Eat the rich”.