Culture

Why We Shouldn’t Forget About The Game Stop Short Squeeze

We’re all pretty much aware that the dealings on Wall Street are unfair at best and straight-up corrupt at worst. It’s something that is outright celebrated in our media. Movies like The Wolf Of Wall Street and The Big Short have pulled back the curtain enough to reveal that the infrastructure of Wall Street is designed to make it so that the rich get richer off the labor and livelihoods of those with less (while being funded by the mega-rich and starring other rich people who are often heavily invested in Wall Street!).

This is why the retail investors who were galvanized by Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets to pull off the Game Stop short squeeze inspired so many. They stuck it to the man! It was a win for the little guy! And now the saga is getting renewed attention thanks to MSNBC’s upcoming documentary Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets.

Set to premiere on May 15th at 10 pm on MSNBC (and subsequently on Peacock), Diamond Hands: The Legend Of WallStreetBets chronicles how an army of retail investors, the financial realities of 2020, a pandemic, stimulus money, and the gamification of the stock market made more accessible by retail trading apps like Robinhood collided to rock the foundation of our financial system. And Diamond Hands isn’t the only recent documentary to make some noise about the issue.

Jon Stewart, on his Apple TV + show, The Problem With Jon Stewart, did a great job of explaining how Robinhood, payment for order flow, and something called “dark pools” work in favor of the super-rich while making regular people feel like they have a seat at the table. Similarly, HBO’s two-part docuseries, Gaming Wall St. which is narrated by a perfectly cast Kieran Culkin of Succession fame — whose Roman Roy is totally the type of person who would despise Reddit retail investors — breaks down just how extensively the system is actively being exploited by Wall Street. It’s only a matter of time before some studio casts the Zoomer equivalent of Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio to star in the inevitable Game Stop movie.

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These docs and shows are essential viewings if you’re a young investor entering adulthood at a time when inflation is at an all-time high. Especially if you’re actively debating the value of college and taking student loans, knowing that wages are stagnating (especially wages with CEO salaries removed), and you’re living amidst a yo-yo-ing pandemic that continues to threaten the livelihoods of every working-class citizen. Maybe you’re already tuned to the possibilities the right play can provide you, but we’re all going to need to level up our knowledge when it comes to stocks because we’re living in very similar circumstances to those that led to the Game Stop short squeeze in the first place. (Or, to be more accurate, “shit hasn’t changed.”)

More to the point, if you’re a young investor it’s important to come to terms with the fact that the system is not democratized, and does not operate in your favor. As the gamification of the stock market continues, financial literacy is crucial. Especially because we’re dealing with a system that doesn’t seem to be getting any better despite everyone screaming at the top of their lungs about all of its flaws.

The news moves fast but forgetting about the Game Stop short squeeze is exactly what Wall Street wants us to do.

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