Sunday, January 8, 2012

A street for nuts

The Wall Street Mentality

As the effects of the 2007–2009 “Great Recession” continue to unfold, workers worldwide are beginning to see that capitalism fosters a reactionary psychology that puts the profits of a tiny minority of society above the interests of the overwhelming, productive majority. The Occupy movement that has unfolded is scarcely the beginning of a protracted process that will inevitably result in an upsurge in the class struggle and a renewal of interest in genuine socialism, which has nothing in common with the infamous Stalinist regimes of the twentieth century.

Workers and young people are rightfully angered by the actions of the Wall Street speculators. Their ruthless gambling does not involve productive investment, results in increased food and fuel prices, and puts pensions and entire countries at risk. So what does recent research have to say about these unelected few who hold the fate of millions in their hands?

A recent study carried out at the University of St. Gallen indicates that the behavior of stock market traders is analogous to that of certified psychopaths. Carried out by MBA students Thomas Noll and Peter Scherrer, the study used a computer simulation, which compared the actions of 27 stock traders to the actions of 24 certified psychopaths incarcerated in high-security German hospitals. An article in Der Spiegel noted that the “stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths.” Thomas Noll noted that the stockbrokers in the simulation were so hell-bent on gaining more than their opponents that they put a lot of effort into attempting to damage each other. Noll went as far as to compare their actions to those of someone attacking a neighbor’s car with a baseball bat to ensure that the attacker ended up having the nicest car in the neighborhood.

This study corroborates earlier studies on stock traders and psychopathic behavior. In 2004, the New Scientist noted similarities between corporate employees and psychopaths, citing a common lack of empathy and compassion for thriving under stress. In 1996, a Scottish university noted that a psychopath can become a successful stockbroker instead of a serial killer with the right parenting!

These studies lay bare the disgusting psychology that capitalism generates, which now threatens the very existence of our species. Capitalism can no longer play a progressive role in developing society; it’s time for a new society and a psychology and way of relating to each other.

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