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Panic buying? Beware the panic selling

20 March 2020

So the stock market is in freefall and shares are collapsing in value. The FTSE index down from 7,436 on 20 February to 5,174 on 19 March – more than 30 per cent. The financial doom-mongers are predicting a depression, not a recession. 

Why should we care, when people around us are losing their jobs, or in danger of early death? We should care, not for their profits but because their panic selling is far more damaging than the panic buying we see at supermarkets. It puts at nought the value of what we have created, the companies workers have built over years – simply gambled away by the financiers in an instant. 

The system allows fortunes to be made by betting that the market will go down, and then forcing it down. It’s called short selling, but really it is selling the people of Britain short.

The City’s vulture culture undermines the livelihoods of everyone working in the undervalued companies and any pension funds invested in those companies. It makes the companies ripe for takeover by international pirates and asset-strippers.

Who decides the value of a company? Capitalism allows value to be set by a bunch of gamblers in the City of London, which is easily panicked and interested only in making a quick profit or limiting a loss through trading. 

But as our creation and the source of livelihood for millions, these assets are priceless. We need control.