Risks of High Frequency Trading

Wealth for the Common Good has had a campaign to put some brakes on high frequency trading for quite some time. Though it’s not gotten a lot of attention lately, it is certainly one of the high risk, “Wall Street as Casino,” problems we face in our economic system.  Sarah Anderson, in her May 7 article, Wall Street’s Speed Freaks says:

The power suits making billions off the stock market are always trying to assure us that their trading serves a socially redeeming purpose. They steer money to companies and industries that make our economy more productive, they claim.

In reality, the majority of stock trading today has absolutely nothing to do with helping companies raise capital to innovate and create jobs. Thoughtful investors don’t drive today’s Wall Street. Computers do.

A sustainable, robust New Economy requires us to think more consciously about investing in the ‘good,’ e.g., what we value and need in society and avoiding investing in the ‘bad,’ which computers do because they are just programmed to make money — and occasionally end up crashing the system as they did in May 2010.

As the debate over taxes and revenues heats up this summer along with the temperatures, keep in mind this is not only an important source of potential new revenue but could save us all from another painful crash.