How is the Stock Market so Important?

I’ve been spending the last few days wrestling with the abstract concepts around the stock market. Fear and greed seem to be the most influencing emotions in this gambling game for more. It’s truly baffling how the most affluent (and the most trumpeted as successful) in our society are those with money and who can manipulate the market.

I started out understanding how the stock prices fluctuate (supply and demand) and thought I had it all sorted out. Then you start getting into these really abstract things like options, futures, derivatives, Fibonacci mathematics, chart shapes, and on and on. It’s like this giant, abstract game. How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Well, as I was researching these things I noticed an inward, natural impulse overcome me: greed. I definitely wouldn’t tout myself as a greedy person at all. Quite the contrary I don’t care too much for material things. But once you delve into these mathematics and the potential for money to be made, greed creeps in, and the desire for more consumes.

The stock market to me is large-scale gambling. Gambling with life savings and all the rest. Sure you can do your research about the market, the company, and all that jazz, but when it boils down to it, you don’t know what’s going to happen. What if you lose everything? Fear sets in. So in this situation, I was left with 2 rampant emotions surging through me as I watched my meagre bank account: greedily hoping to compound these savings, and fearfully worried about losing them.

What I want to ask is, “Why is the stock market so important?” Sure sure, economically blah blah blah, but what I want to really know is how have we come so far from valuing things that are tangible to these truly abstract concepts? What value to people who play the market create? And what is the purpose?

Perhaps the most important question is, “When the most important economic tool in society, the stock market, harnesses the most destructive human emotions–fear and greed–what are the effects on society?” 

People are in fear of losing their life savings to “the market” and so they agree to do whatever it takes to revitalize and renew the economy, even if those things might mean war or other means. We can all turn a blind eye once in a while can’t we? What influence does this have on us and our society? Does it make us all into pawns, willing doers of the corporate agenda when we really don’t gain much in the end? Does is co-opt the masses? Perhaps. Perhaps. Thoughts?

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