Redditors’ takedown of Wall Street wasn’t just right, it was American

Luc Alvarez, Editor-in-Chief

Growing up in America, we’re taught that the foundation of the American Dream lies in the free market. We’re taught that within the capitalistic system, anyone can find opportunity and become successful themselves.

Unfortunately for many Americans, the American Dream has been largely a myth. Even as the US economy grows year after year, wages have stayed mostly stagnant, the US is ranked 27th globally in social mobility and despite record numbers of Americans losing their jobs, the stock market has soared since shortly after the pandemic began.

Everyday Americans are struggling while Wall Street hedge funds are making more than ever.

Add onto this the long history of Wall Street hurting everyday Americans — for reference, the 2008 recession — and it’s easy to see why when news of Redditors taking down hedge funds as part of a coordinated effort broke, many cheered. Finally, everyday Americans, not billionaire hedge fund managers, were realizing success in the stock market. They were beating the hedge funds at their own game.

What they were doing wasn’t just right, it was American.

As is typical of the stock market though, there were winners and losers. While for the first time in years, everyday Americans were the winners rather than billionaire hedge fund managers, the losers seemed to be the market as a whole, which took a dip on Jan. 27. Critics would say this shows that the self-declared degenerates of r/WallStreetBets were destabilizing the market and hurting the economy as a whole — the critics are wrong.

First, the difference between the stock market and the economy as a whole should be made clear. For some, the stock market is very important; however, only 55% of Americans are at all invested in the market. Clearly, a metric that barely affects half of all Americans is flawed in showing the health of the economy as a whole.

Along with this is the fact that the stock market has become fully detached from reality. In a year of record job losses, you’d expect the stock market to decline. Instead, the stock market is reaching all-time highs in the midst of an economic recession.

But yes, the GameStop shorters did cause a downturn in the market for a brief period of time — emphasis on the word brief. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 have already fully recovered from their temporary drop.

The only difference between the events of the week of Jan. 25 and that of a typical week are the winners and losers. Rather than Wall Street manipulating markets and preying on everyday Americans like usual, it was the little guys that won. The Redditors beat Wall Street at their own game — and for that, all of us should feel like winners.