The year was 2009. I was at my friend’s house about two or so days after Christmas playing with Nerf guns and toy lightsabers when I heard the phone ring in the kitchen. We pretended like it was some alarm in the Seperatist cruiser that we were fighting our way through.
The backdrop of our battle was a bit more somber than you may assume. Recently, my friend’s father lost his job. It was a story that was all too familiar to a boy living near Detroit in the aftermath of the ‘08 financial crisis. I had already had to say good-bye to some of my other friends whose parents had to move across the country to find work but not my best friend. We both knew that any time we spent together could be our last.
Little did we know, that phone call was a miracle from the heavens. My friend’s dad was just offered a new job in the area. Crisis averted Captain!
My experience living in the economic flux that was the late 2000’s was by far one of the most formative experiences in my life. It is the reason why I study politics and economics today. As I looked to understand what was way out of my comprehension at the time, I would religiously watch the local news and CNN to try to figure out what the heck happened.
What felt so existential about that time was not only that good people could lose almost everything through no fault their own, but the fact that powerful people could play with the livelihoods of so many people and get out of the situation ultimately unscathed even if they could only rent out Disney World every three years instead of two.
Now, fast forward to 2020, and this GameStop (GME) stock situation is the best. I have only really felt this way twice; the first being during Lin-Sanity when an Asian American was lighting up the NBA and the second being when Gangnam Style was number one on billboard. The joy of seeing my ‘team’ winning will always stick with me.
The GME situation is a defining moment in history that will have big ramifications on financial markets across the world. What is beautiful about the situation is that regular people have actually won back a lot of ground that has been lost in the past thirty years.
Melvin Capital, one of the hedge funds most harshly at the blunt of the situation, required a massive bailout from other hedge funds. Furthermore, any capital group looking to do the short squeeze technique that burned Melvin will think twice about doing so.
But the most consequential outcome to come of this situation will likely be tighter regulations on trading. If they implement more regulations on dubious practices, that’s a good thing even if it took regular people breaking the ‘rules’ for it to be implemented.
And to all the news outlets who are defending the Hedge funds who lost big, just let us have this one victory. Societies are built on cooperation, so consider looking out for the boy in Detroit who just wants to invade star cruisers with his best bud.But ultimately, the GME craze will come to an end and life will resume as normal, just as it did for the New York Knicks. But in thirty years we can all look back on this and say: “That was the freakin’ best.”