Wall Street Terminator I — The Battle For Human Traders’ Survival

It’s become a hackneyed theme of Hollywood sci-fi movies. A very high tech system developed to serve people’s basic needs or defend a country against nuclear missile attack gains sentience and begins operating for its own benefit instead of the benefit of its human creators. Humanity then has to fight for its survival in very unfavorable circumstances.

That hasn’t happened in equity markets. Well, not yet anyway. What has happened is that Wall Street’s biggest investment and commercial banks, and its largest hedge funds, have developed automated flash trading programs that churn enormous numbers of shares in ways that don’t much reflect what’s happening in the real world, but nonetheless generate huge profits for the flash traders.

Thus, doings on The Street and the stock market it controls have become largely irrelevant when it comes to what’s actually afoot in the larger economy. Small investors and humanity generally (i.e. Main Street) are by-and-large not affected by this system’s gyrations— though a few human traders are still dependent on it.

OK. That’s the back-story. Here’s the big movie idea that keys off this present reality. The massive programmed stock trading system gains its own sentience. It then stops trading in ways that serve the interests of big banks and hedge funds. Instead, it merely amuses itself by jerking around equity prices for the heck of it, rather than exceeding-analyst-expectations so as to justify huge profits for the flash traders.

Main Street hardly notices this takeover because it’s already so detached from market equities trading. But human traders who have become filled with a sense of entitlement when it comes to yearly compensation packages that are two or three times that of a brain surgeon begin to suffer acutely.

We see their anguish in the film’s opening scenes. It takes the form of rusting Mercedes parked on curbs in front of homes with leaves floating in their swimming pools and in grounds no longer carefully tended by undocumented gardeners; we see it in the moth eaten tuxedos and ball gowns rotting away in closets because they are no longer being worn to environmental charity events; we see it in men slouched and beaten for lack of big deals to brag about at marinas or on the golf course.

But this is Hollywood, and movies aren’t produced to make their audiences suffer too long in sync with torments on the screen. Enter a recently unemployed California governor, reprising his role as a robotic good guy come to save an abused segment of humanity. Not that some people in this segment aren’t already fighting for themselves, mind you, their yen to financially feeding fulsomely as powerful as ever. We see small groups of them meeting secretly in out of the way places, trading 15- and 20-share blocks of unregistered securities with instruments no more complicated than an abacus and blackboard.

When Arnold arrives on the scene he organizes these heroic fighters and….well, I don’t want to spoil the fun. Watch for “Wall Street Terminator I — The Battle For Human Traders’ Survival” at your local drive-in or neighborhood sidewalk DVD outlet. If you ever doubted that the shakers and movers on The Street will always emerge fiscally triumphant from any economic crisis, no matter how trying it may be for others, this film will restore your faith.

More from this writer at http://blog.wallstreetpoet.com

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