“The development of an over-obsessive interest in sport and celebrity was one of the factors in the collapse of the greatest civilization ever known to man.”—Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published 1776-1789)
The University in St. Gal len, Switzerland (how appropriate) has come out with a study that compares traders with psychopaths.
The surprising result was that not only do traders act like psychos, they’re worse. I’m not surprised at this at all. From NZZ:
“The study reviewed the direct comparison of results with an existing study of 24 psychopaths in German high-security hospitals and a control group of 27 “normal” people.”
The “normal people” that is referred to are 27 traders. Stock guys, FX/commodities traders and derivative types were the “normal’ people that were stacked up against the actual crazies in the German nut house.
Even the experts were surprised by the result. They attest to the stock market professionals with a penchant for immense destruction.
The performance of the 27 dealers is even worse than the psychopaths.
“It’s like beating one of the neighbor’s expensive cars with a baseball bat with the sole objective of owning the most beautiful car in the neighborhood.”
Now that we “know” (what was has been suspected all along) that traders are nuts it’s worth looking at what a textbook definition of a psycho actually is.
1. Considerable superficial charm, verbal facility and average or above average intelligence.
2. Unreliability, disregard for obligations, no sense of responsibility.
3. Untruthfulness and insincerity.
4. Inexplicable impulsiveness.
5. Antisocial behavior.
6. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience.
7. Total self-contriteness.
8. General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.
9. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.
10. Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking—vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.
11. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life.
There was a point in my life where I thought of myself as a successful trader. A “Master of the Universe”; a “Big swinging dick”. That was 20 years ago. Looking at the above list makes me cringe. To one degree or another all the descriptions fit parts of my life at the time.
“That’s what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending - performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”—Jim Morrison
“Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt they can’t afford the time to think. Tuition fee increases are a “disciplinary technique,” and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the “disciplinarian culture.” This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.”—Noam Chomsky (via quiettemperament)
“Look, every government has a need to frighten it’s population, and one was of doing that is to shroud it’s workings in mystery. The idea that a government has to be shrouded in mystery is something that goes back to Herodotus [ancient Greek historian]. You read Herodotus, and he describes how the Medes and others won their freedom by struggle, and then they lost their freedom when the institution of royalty was invented to create a cloak of mystery around power. See, the idea behind royalty was that there’s this other species of individuals who are beyond the norm and who the people are not supposed understand. That’s the standard way you cloak and protect power: you make it look mysterious and secret, above the ordinary person—otherwise why should anyone accept it? Well, they’re willing to accept it out of fear that some great enemies are about to destroy them, and because of that they’ll cede their authority to the Lord, or the King, or the President or something, just to protect themselves. That’s the way governments work—that’s the way any system of power works—and the secrecy system is part of it.”—Noam Chomsky — Understanding Power (via theworldofsleepers)