By Philip Pilkington, a writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland
As stock markets continue to fall and the eurocrisis rolls on an independent trader called Alessio Rastani appears on BBC live and gives a candid account of how he, as a trader, views the crisis.
He sees it, he says, as an opportunity to make an awful lot of money. He tells viewers that they too should seek out safe havens – such as US Treasury bills and dollar holdings – to weather the continuing storm.
Not long after the Twitterati are out in droves. Some are shocked at the amoralism of it all. Some have their heads buried so deep in the sand that they try to convince themselves that Rastani is just a prankster.
Which group is worse? One has to wonder. The former are fools, blind to the world in which we live and the considerable economic problems that haute finance has caused us in the past two decades. But the latter are arguably more loathsome; they’ve turned a very important statement on where we are today into another bit of fun to fill their time on Twitter.
Think about it. What Rastani is saying has major consequences. If this is how the current system works – i.e. that traders are betting on downturns and in doing so coming out rosy while everyone else suffers – then we have a serious problem on our hands.
Surely the media should perk their ears up and listen. Some do, but many don’t. Instead they curl up in a ball, ROFLing their way ever deeper into ignorance and speculating – baselessly – on whether this is a prank or not.
Rastani’s statement becomes nothing but fodder for baseless internet rumours and these rumours in turn become a veil behind which so many in the media hide.
Rastani is an honest man. Ruthless perhaps, but honest. He harbours no illusions about what is taking place in the world economy today and the consequences this will have for millions of working people. It is the media commentators that faff around, desperately distracting themselves from reality with the latest bit of Twitter gossip that are dishonest.
Indeed they lie, not only to each other, but to themselves.