The subreddit group of Wall Street Bets, who is mostly responsible for the artificial manipulation of Gamestop stock, is the poster child for how toxic capitalism actually is and how bad income inequality has actually gotten.
First, a disclosure: I live in a state where most people vote conservative. Many of them hold racist views, they are religious and believe in some stuff that is wildly different from garden variety Christianity, and every single one of the men wants to be a leader. However, they interpret leadership as "management," which in their minds means they can show up late and leave early, delegate all the work because they are smarter than others, and then go home and play video games. They are entitled folk who don't actually do real hard work. Actual work would break them in half.
This story usually doesn't end well, and they get fired. But the social safety net of unemployment catches them as does a working wife who doesn't carry the toxic narcissism but shoulders the responsibility by paying off the credit cards. And they don't leave their husbands because (in my part of the country) being older and a single woman brands you as a spinster. And plus, there's that whole inconvenient thing that you need a man after you are dead to call you from the grave to go to heaven. It's really quite a racket. ((Shrug)) it is what life is like out here in the West when they aren't toting guns, big oil, and yelling "freedom" from their pickup trucks. I may have just revealed my atheism yet again in saying all this.
A lot of them are in financial trouble too, but they won't tell you that because being poor is shameful. Taking handouts from the "gubmint" is shameful. Why? It's called the prosperity doctrine. Religion teaches that god shows his blessings by giving you the trappings of wealth. So they make sure that the optics of their living space is good. They buy new cars (which cost around $40,000 these days) and they replace them about every three to four years and just carry a car loan around with them forever. Many of them will never own homes, so they blow money on dining out, on home entertainment systems, on shows and experiences, and apartments that feature granite countertops and stainless steal appliances. And they pay whatever that rent happens to be forever. They blow money on plastic surgery (a lot), because men are shallow, and sex feels good so you gotta look good to get it. That (again) is life out here in the West. But if you ask them...they all love capitalism. "F*ck socialism!" you will hear them say. "You libtards and your Biden are wrong for the country!" So then they vote for billionaires who care nothing for them, and then because they are fired and have no college degree, they collect unemployment and go and play video games and hope to own the libtards online.
There is little to no way to win unless you have above average intelligence, have luck on your side, and are flawless in your decision-making based upon the reality that you hold to be true. A lot of people fail at one or all of these things. You see the desperation everywhere if you just take a moment to look. Now, one of the wealth engines that capitalism has is the stock market. It's a thing where people can put money, buy portions of a company that is being run well (assumedly), and then share in the profits that company makes. But this is too slow for a lot of people, and with as little money as people make these days (because of toxic conservative politics) making 6% in a year on the $100.00 you have to invest only amounts to $6.00, which won't even buy you a drink at Starbucks. However, a 6% return on an investment in a year is considered excellent. So for a lot of people--and us liberals (by proximity and without choice) are always going to be on the same bus/boat as everyone else--the only way to truly get out of a money pit and to "pull oneself up by the bootstraps" is not through a job anymore. It is through taking psychopathic risks because you've got nothing to lose.
And it is psychopathy. You'd have to be dead inside to be able to sink money into something and then watch it swing wildly, so that one day it was practically all wiped out and in the next you were $60,000 in the positive. If you were neurotypical, you wouldn't be able to sleep at night. And that is what capitalism is. "Ya gotta take risks in life, boy!" is the advice of every assinine shill who has enough wealth in life to be comfortable.
This last ten days or so (maybe longer) Gamestop stock has been hitting the news. It has soared to stratospheric levels, not because the company was any good, but because its stock has been manipulated. The person behind "The Big Short" was among a few who noticed that there were these huge firms on Wall Street who were shorting the stock. This means, they are betting that the company goes out of business. And you know what? They are probably right. It's got an outdated business model. It's a store that was in malls years ago and now everything is downloadable and streaming. It's a dinosaur for the digital age. It doesn't take any special kind of intelligence to realize that. The difference here was that there were actually more bets against Gamestop's stock than there are actual shares by a lot.
The people over at Reddit and Wall Street Bets decided to screw all those guys and buy the stock, using social media to rally the commoners and by weaponizing options, which allows a small amount of money to go big in a huge way (you can also lose everything with options). It's a pure form of gambling. However, it's not random. If you can manipulate a stock, you can make a ton of money. And this is what happened for some people. I wish them well, because they embraced psychopathy to make some $$$, and they forced big firms to buy Gamestop stock at high levels because of obligations.
I watched while it happened in real time. My co-worker made $13,000. I don't like the stock market because it makes me feel stressed and queasy (a common reaction to psychopathic things), so I stayed out of it. I just wanted to watch. The stock fluctuated by hundreds of dollars a day as people buy and sell constantly, using apps like Robin Hood. Elon Musk piled in and I think it shot up to $400. People who had bought in at $3.00 and had options were making sums like $63,000 by the time they sold. They'd tweet how the money was going toward medical bills that they can't afford or this and that...each person had a horrible desperate story. And Wall Street got sucker punched for billions of dollars. It's like robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. This was amazing to watch and it is also incredibly sad to watch. It's sad because you shouldn't have to do crap like this in order to survive.
This is how you make it in our country now. Jobs don't pay enough, and people keep giving tax breaks to billionaires. Income inequality is so bad, that people need to make desperate "Hail Mary's" to try and make some real money to pay for things like housing, medical bills, vehicle repairs, and food for kids. The manipulation of Gamestop stock (GME) is the ultimate poster child for how bad income inequality actually is. It is the ultimate ponzi scheme using a company who's assets are on a downward spiral, and whose sales could never justify the price of their stock. I never thought I would see anything like it, and I hope that there's a lot more of it. Not for me, because I am comfortably middle class. I never want to participate in something like that. But I want other people to be able to make it into the middle class. It's just really sad that there isn't another way...you know...like a job or a career to do so. And it's incredibly sad that half the country uses their vote in politics to continue the abuse, because they've been sold the idea that tax breaks for billionaires will trickle down to them.
If you are reading this, and you made money on the Gamestop stock thing (before Wall Street stepped in and crippled the ability for the stock to go up), I congratulate you. I just wish it didn't have to be this way. It just shows you how broken our country has become with wages so low and with healthcare so gutted that it barely functions.