Occupy Wall Street 2.0

This is cancel culture with the volume turned right up to full blast.

It's as if this story were a sub-plot in the 1995 cult film, Hackers.

Small retail investors, co-ordinated primarily on a Reddit page called Wall Street Bets - have played the big Wall Street hedge funds at their own game.

In simple terms - options are a financial instrument loved by hedge funds.

How it works, is that if a money manager forecasts that the share price of a counter will fall, they'll borrow somebody else's shares of that stock, sell them at the prevailing price  then wait for the price to fall. When it does, they buy the same share back at the lover price and return the same quantity of shares back to the original owner - pocketing the difference. This is called 'shorting' a stock.

That's all good and well, unless punters bet wrong and the price of the share goes up.

Then they need to buy the same shares back from the market at a much higher price - effectively losing money. Potentially losing a LOT of money.

Because the price can feasibly go up indefinitely, losses, if things go wrong, could be astronomical, until traders eventually decide to close out the position - locking in the loss.

Gamestop is a small American strip-mall retail chain that the hedge funds love to short, because the company is not doing well and shorting it is pretty much a sure thing.

Some small retail investors took umbrage to this and decided to buy into Gamestop to send the share price up - effectively attempting to squeeze out the big money from Wall Street.

Things went viral on Reddit, more and more small investors started piling into the action - the share price of Gamestop went through the roof and some very big hedge funds took a serious financial haircut as a result.

What does this all mean for the future?

It's well known that particularly after the 2008 financial crisis -  their is significant tension between Wall Street (the world's financial elite) and Main Street (everybody else) -  that's what the whole 2011 'Occupy Wall Street" protests were all about.

It's easy to ignore somebody holding a placard from the back seat of your Maybach, but not so easy when those same protesters are costing you US$3 billion on a trade.

The Occupy movement have uncovered a powerful weapon; one that, if the federal regulators cannot control it, threatens to disrupt the entire world's financial system.

In their collective action, small retail investors could literally obliterate everything in this way. The very system that has made some people incredibly wealthy, is now being turned around and aimed squarely back at them.

This is cancel culture with the volume turned right up to full blast.

This is mob revenge with the potential to burn down entire economies.

This is not something to ignore - a new revolution had dawned. People who know something about finance are now very concerned about this; for very good reason.

'Dumb money' just became 'Fatal money'.

‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game
GameStop shares have soared 1,700 percent as millions of small investors, egged on by social media, employ a classic Wall Street tactic to put the squeeze — on Wall Street.
A look inside the “WallStreetBets” subreddit behind the GameStop stock boom
Positing themselves as virtual “Wolves of Wall Street,” the users on r/WallStreetBets are celebrating their success in driving up the value of GameStop’s stock.
Our world is ripe for revolution. 10 years after Occupy and the Arab Spring, what have we learned?
After all the hope I and others felt as the story of 2011 swept across the world, the accounting of the decade since leans mightily toward disaster.