That’s a good guess but in this case wrong - so many of the day traders (anecdotally) lose on average, I’d bet more than 50% at a given moment, but my point is larger than just the day trader, it’s about the game itself, the goal being immediate profit, not investment, not betterment, and so forth. I wasn’t referring just to day traders, I was talking about all of those individual investors who go for the short term bets, whether it be a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, they are not there to “loan a company money as an investment”, though they are indeed making a small short term loan. I was also talking about those investment houses that support this type of behavior and participate in it themselves.
I hardly think “one man’s profit is another’s loss”, but the way the investment system, especially the stock market, the commodities exchanges, and the foreign currency market, is set up, it strongly encourages (and that encouragement is acted on) gambling i.e. short term trades for immediate profits, which in turn forces companies to constantly act towards short term profits and making investment-house generated profit goals, and in the end, to do that, they often act out of the best interest of employees, and take advantage of customers.
I agree that time frame isn’t the sole determinant for calling it gambling, but it is a factor. Another factor is the intent - to build a company that does something neutral or positive, or solely to make money wherever it is to be found. Another factor is the sole concentration on the odds, though I think this ties into the previous factor.
As for your argument against reduction of speculation, in which you liken curbing speculation to taking away some rights to vote, that’s apples and oranges to me, the right to vote is enshrined in the constitution (and various amendments) and is the basis for our democracy. The “right” to invest, or better, the “right” to short term speculate, is no right at all, it is something that is to be decided, regulated, vetoes, as the nation sees it. I admit that the US anyway sees it right now as OK to speculate, or at least prevailing governments do, but it is hardly a right, and should not be compared to the right to vote. But if you see it that way, I believe that’s part of the problem.
I don’t think that just because places like Greece have screwed the pooch means that it can’t be done better elsewhere, it requires serious planning, but to me its sounds a lot like the argument that “socialism doesn’t work, just look at Russia”, as though that proves 1. it can’t be done and 2. Russia was somehow really socialist. But I am no economist, and I don’t have a silver bullet answer.
I wouldn’t be as worried about the capital flight and inflation if the government was seriously saving jobs this way, and reducing the imbalance between rich and poor. I’d like to see more meritocracy and less rich get richer, which is definitely what the current policy and atmosphere support.
To me, if a company or industry is too big to fail, then it needs to be nationalized. Put it another way: people shouldn’t be making profits - especially not exorbitant profits - off something that the government has to back if they fail. And if it’s not a one-off occurrence, people ought to consider making the nationalization permanent too. How about that: can we permanently nationalize the financial insurance and bank-loan industries, at least theoretically?