viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

On Selling Stock and Political Campaign Morality

As you all must know, in Colombia we are ad portas of an election process of mayors and governors countrywide. This process includes electing the mayor of the capital, Bogotá. There are currently 11 candidates. 11! I had never seen so many candidates running for mayor of my city. Normally there would be 2 or 3 at the most. But this time, everyone wanted at least to run, and believe me when I say I don´t even know why. Their proposals lack reasonable fundament, not to mention rational basis. Populism rages through my city and, in everyone´s sight, most are being deceived or confused.

Vis-à-vis with the stock market, really. 

It is well known and accepted that the stock market works by scaring people into doing what some think will be best for their pockets. Ok, what some know for a fact will be the best for their pockets. 
Stock Trading 101: Initiate a rumor, then get ready to collect. Essentially, it deals with scaring people so quickly and so strongly that they have absolutely no choice whatsoever to recover or even notice what is happening. Meanwhile, whilst everyone´s attention is directed to the screens and to the sparkling, decreasing, side-shifting numbers, others are watching as their accounts suddenly get larger. And all because of a simple rumor. 
Said rumor can, and nearly always is, eventually proved wrong. But there is no undoing the damage. The money has already shifted hands.

Something similar happens with the votes. There are currently 11 candidates running for mayor of Bogotá. Some of them have already been mayors and have had their day in the sun. Whether it was good or bad, it already happened. This, of course, means that some loyalists will still go to the ballots and elect them again on grounds of history alone. Nonetheless, they are still campaigning heavily to gather followers and conquer new ones amongst the massive undecided mass. Some others have family history backing them up, and are still campaigning heavily.
But then, along comes a spider. Someone says something and publicizes it everywhere, hoping to swing some points on their favor. The discussion begins, the loyalists emerge, words fly back and forth and the polls show how the points swing easily between names. 

It really works the same way, but doesn´t.

With the stock market, you cannot claim the money you idiotically lost betting on a rumor, and no one will sue you for immorality (because this is not 1990 anymore). With the elections, public opinion will fry you if you initiate a rumor about a fellow runner (or reveal something of their past for all that matters).

So who is to blame for this Janus-like, double-faced moral behaviour? Collective interest? Money? Publicity potential? Prospective gain? 

I would put my finger dead on money, but I may be wrong.

Well, am I?

Prove it.

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