{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

The Morality of Trading - The Morality of Trading Brett N...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The Morality of Trading Brett N. Steenbarger, Ph.D. www.brettsteenbarger.com The following article was originally posted to the Spec List in July, 2005 and was subsequently posted on the excellent site hosted by Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner: www.dailyspeculations.com . I recently made the decision to step down to a part-time role at my trading firm to make time for the writing of my next book. One of the traders I had worked with graciously treated me to dinner to celebrate my year at Kingstree. This trader personally accounts for several percent of the daily trading volume in the Merc’s ES contract and has made millions of dollars (after all expenses) during each of the past several years. Over dinner, he made an interesting statement. He indicated that he was proud of his trading success, but was looking for more. “I don’t produce anything,” he explained. Others like me, he said, produced books or provided beneficial services. All he created, he felt, were profits. My philosophical hair began to crawl when he said this; his statement suggested that he had unconsciously accepted an altruistic standard of ethics. One’s value, such a standard implies, is measured by his or her “contribution to society”. By that standard, we should admire a philanthropist-heir, who distributes the money he never earned, more than Robinson Crusoe, who—by his intelligence and creativity—thrives on a remote island. I’ve heard this standard espoused in other ways by traders who justify their activity by claiming that they contribute to liquidity in the marketplace—once again seeking a sanction in the good provided to others. Now here’s what’s interesting: Despite my trader’s evident angst, he had no intention whatsoever of giving up trading. Indeed, he indicated that trading alone gave him the sense of meaningful activity that he hadn’t found since his days as a boyhood athlete.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}