By Fiona English
The internet has been often utilized as a tool for information sharing, global instant messaging and communication, with various platforms for media sharing. In recent years, buying stock online has become increasingly more popular than buying over the phone, like the ludicrous call room in the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Buying and selling stock is much like gambling; investors take a risk every time they invest. As companies like GameStop and AMC were on a decline, hedge funds (pools of funds used to finance) dumped their funds into short-selling, or selling shares that they do not own in order to buy them back for a lower price. For many, this was a sign to take action. Starting on Reddit, the buying of stock in GameStop and AMC became the Robin Hood of the internet against the rich. Many felt that these big corporations manipulated stock markets for their gain, why not do the same?
On Jan. 30, hedge funds lost an estimated $19 billion in one day. Amateur investors made out well as GameStop stock went from around $17 a share to $380 a share. For many, this is a revolutionary money play against concentrated wealth. For others, it’s a crime against the undeserving people. Eventually, many brokerages began banning the purchase of GameStop and AMC stock leading the price to drop down to around $79 as of the writing of this story.
But, why? Why did a group of amateur investors come together and plan a coordinated attack against the wealthy? For many, including myself, money is not easy to come by. For what little we try to save, small portions of that go into investing in the hopes of growing our funds. Seeing a chance for the average person to succeed is worth investing in whether a loss is created. Someone else, like me, who is just meeting the bills, has a chance to succeed.
During high unemployment rates, we as the middle class feel cheated by significant hedge funds and corporations. This strike against the wealthy was not entirely a get-rich quick scheme, but was a way to send a message.
During an economic disaster and a devastating pandemic, making money off of dying businesses and employees being laid off sends a message of greed. It’s never okay to profit from employees losing their jobs at a struggling company, especially when there are little to no jobs available. As GameStop’s price climbed, many stock platforms halted buying stock in GameStop and AMC, which leads one to feel that some businesses believe it’s okay when the average investor loses, but not the wealthy.
Even with this strike against the wealthy in America, many people still feel that the market is working against them as brokerages refuse to trade GameStop stock and the headline “White House monitors GameStop stock” appears.
What about us, the people? The middle and lower class? The majority that goes to work, powers cities, teaches the future generations and is the next to hold the symbolic torch? Will we continue to receive the short end of the stick?
I think not. I believe we have sent a strong enough message that we will support our fellow 9-to-5 average joes. That collectively, we are a force to be reckoned with.
GameStops and AMCs continue to close and employees let go. The respective companies disintegrate; in this small moment, we can cherish the idea that we, the average joe, had Wall Street traders shaking in their big suits.