The Case of the Honest Trader

On Monday (Sep 26) an "independent stock trader" named Alessio Rastani appeared on an interview with the BBC to discuss the Eurozone debt crisis. As the interview progressed, it became apparent that Rastani was far more blunt and cynical than most people from the financial community are when talking in public. For instance, in response to the question, "What would make investors more confident?" he came out with this:

I'm a trader. If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that. Most traders, we don't really care too much how they're going to fix the situation. Our job is to make money from it. And personally I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession. I dream of another moment like this.

Later in the interview he declared:

Governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.

Watch the interview yourself:

His remarks and demeanor seemed so over the top, that people began to wonder whether he was hoaxing everyone by parodying the cutthroat morality of financial traders. Some people suspected that he was one of the Yes Men — pointing out that he bore a slight resemblance to Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men who had perpetrated the Dow Chemical Hoax during an interview with the BBC in 2004.

Rastani, when challenged, insisted he was real, and the Yes Men said he wasn't one of them. So it appears that Rastani wasn't trying to pull anyone's leg. He was voicing his genuine opinions.

Personally, when I watch the video I don't sense that he's being satirical. Traders tend to be slightly megalomaniacal, attracted to high-risk situations, and convinced that they're smarter than everyone else. He fits the personality type perfectly.

I think Rastani's interview demonstrates Poe's Law — as applied to the world of stock market trading. Poe's Law states: "it's difficult to distinguish between parodies of religious fundamentalism (or, more generally, parodies of any crackpot or extremist belief) and its genuine proponents." In other words, the financial community nowadays is full of crazies. When you listen to them you think, they've got to be joking! But no, they're totally for real.


Posted on Wed Sep 28, 2011


This almost looks like a PsyOps. Best way to make the markets crash, is to install fear for a crash. If people follow this guys advice and withdraw their savings to invest them in other stuff, banks will topple. And this guy next cashes in, probably. He basically says that in the interview.
Posted by LaMa  on  Thu Sep 29, 2011  at  02:02 AM
Life imitates art imitates life.

Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman of British pop group 10cc wrote "Wall Street Shuffle" in 1974 and got the attitude right in one shot.

"To do the Wall Street Shuffle
Let your money hustle
Bet you'd sell your mother
You can buy another."
Posted by KDP2000  on  Thu Sep 29, 2011  at  07:09 AM
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