In the context of the global economic meltdown, the Great Recession that followed, and the most recent protests around the Occupy Wall Street movement, it seems relevant to consider what fresh responses to trading practices are being volunteered to temper the worst excesses of ‘Me First’ financial practices. A new book by Michael Martin called The Inner Voice of Trading is a great example. The directions within it sound unlike typical advice you find in books about investment. For instance, Martin exhorts traders to think the following ways:
“How you trade, what you trade, and the frequency of the trades you make all come down to who you are as a person, not what you know about a specific financial instrument.
“When people want to jump the gun and accelerate their careers to fast, they blow up because they haven’t achieved the emotional knowledge that goes with managing risk.”
“People are drawn to the vehicles that will give them the emotional return they seek, whether they are aware of it or not.”
In re-framing trading in these emotional terms, Martin is effectively seeking to humanize what has become an increasingly dehumanized and robotic practice. In contrast, Martin suggests that traders must develop an inner voice that you can trust and that will ultimately prove to be the most valuable ally.
My hope is that, by re-framing trading this way, Michael Martin and other voices like his can chip away at the self destructive mentality and practices that currently dominate many financial practices. It would be naive to think such financial thinking and behavior will ever disappear or that these institutions will abruptly cease to be self-serving, but by introducing an emotional dimension that relates both to the way business is conducted and the effect that such practices have on the lives of others, Martin’s book plays an important role in changing the current ‘Me First’ mindset a more sustainable ‘We First’ approach.
Do you believe that traders can do a better job of balancing their desire for profit and a conscience in terms of the impact of their practices on society at large, or do you believe that Wall Street is too blinkered to change?