From Mike Royko in the Chicago Tribune (1989):

I can’t help it. While it might sound cruel and sadistic, when the stock market takes one of its periodic headfirst dives, I enjoy the spectacle. Not that I really understand it. It baffles me that one day a big corporation can be worth $10bn. But a day or two later, it is suddenly only worth $8bn.

It is still making the same products that are selling for the same price in the same quantity. The same people are coming to work and getting the same pay cheques. Yet, on paper the company is worth far less today than it was yesterday.

But what I do understand is that when this happens on a grand scale, to hundreds or thousands of companies, someone is taking a financial bath, getting clobbered, maybe even losing their shirt, trousers, underwear, driver and limo.

I’d feel bad if I thought that little old widows in three-room flats were being wiped out. Or if those who sweep streets, empty bedpans, or put out fires were losing their nest eggs.

But, from what I read that isn’t the case. The average person isn’t on the phone telling a broker to buy, sell, go short, go long, go medium, stop, start, hop, skip, or whatever all that jargon is.

That’s because most people have wised up. They’d no more get involved with that strange creature called the market than they would buy a gold watch or chain from some seedy guy standing in a doorway.

All you have to do is look at the headlines or listen to the daily broadcasts and you’d think you are hearing the latest medical report on someone who ought to be in therapy […] a manic depressive, psycho head case.

What kind of way to do business is that?


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