iAddictionJune 19, 2020
Addiction is the inability to stop consuming a chemical or pursuing an activity although it’s causing harm.
I engage with almost every substance or behavior associated with addiction: alcohol, drugs, coffee, porn, sex, gambling, work, spending, devices, and social media. I’ve abused all of them, but don’t think I’m addicted. On a balanced scorecard, these substances and behaviors, abuse and all, have been a net positive in my life, even @twitter.
Most disease and hardship for our species has been a function of scarcity — too little salt, sugar, fat, approval, safety, opportunities to mate. As a result, when we find these things, our brain produces the ultimate reward, the pleasure hormone dopamine. And it makes sense. Nature rewards behaviors that ensure the propagation of the species.
The assembly line, processing power, and Amazon Prime have not only met the minimum thresholds for survival but created a new threat to our species: superabundance. Diabetes, income inequality, and fake news — all are a function of our belief that more is better. Jeff Bezos capturing and hoarding the GDP of Norway doesn’t make sense for the species, but his instincts (fear of starvation, wielding power) reign supreme.
Survival, propagation, and consumption should result in a next generation that’s smarter, faster, and stronger. Where things have come off the rails is a function of our innovation economy moving faster than our instincts. Historically, humans have engaged in activities that have natural stopping cues — the end of a chapter, the end credits. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Netflix have systematically eradicated stopping cues. Even casinos are deliberately laid out without hard angles, so it’s all one continuous space and you keep moving through it, on to the next game.
Technological progress lapping the calibration of our instincts culminates in endless scroll. We’re unable to find the off switch. Unlike our parents and grandparents, for us dopamine release no longer depends on sacrifice, engagement, or grit, but on sitting still, as in 15, 14, 13 seconds episode 5 of Killing Eve will begin. There are more filtered photos, more porn, more equities, more margin, more dopa … more time without the nuisance of needing to engage in … life.
The most recent crack dealers are online trading platforms (OTPs). What does endless scroll look like on a trading platform?
- Confetti falls to celebrate transactions
- Colorful candy crush interface
- Gamification: users can tap up to 1000x per day to improve their position on the waitlist for Robinhood’s cash management feature (essentially a high-yield checking account on the app)
Our institutions (courts, Congress, the SEC) are supposed to slow our thinking so our reflexive instincts are checked and we can decide not to discriminate, not to pour mercury into the rivers, and not to let a bankrupt car rental firm (Hertz) issue shares bound to be worthless. You lose, they win.
Technological change is vastly outpacing our species’ ability to adapt to an endless barrage of stimuli. This discrepancy in modulation has exploded our levels of teen depression and social chaos. We are in a Supermarine Spitfire, accelerating every day, hoping the fuselage holds together as we approach the sound barrier — streaming 31 seasons of The Simpsons, lifelike video games, ubiquitous porn of increasing extremes, high-def documentation in real time of the party your 15-year-old daughter wasn’t invited to, social media algorithms fueled on emotion vs. veracity, and immediate approval of margin for a “bull put spread.”
I was a fu**ing mess yesterday after learning of the suicide of Alexander Kearns, a 20-year-old from Naperville, IL, who was interested in the markets and began trading stocks. Alex mistakenly believed he was down $730,000 after trading options on the Robinhood app and took his own life. We don’t know what other factors were at play here, and young men taking their own lives after losing money in the market is not a new phenomenon.
Facebook and Twitter do what CNN and Fox have been doing for decades, but better. I’m afraid Robinhood might become an addictive platform — Instagram for trading. Robinhood users skew young (32% of visitors are between 25-34). The firm reported 3 million new accounts in Q1 2020. Half were first-time traders. In addition, with Vegas and sports wagering all but shut down, OTPs have become the place where emerging gambling addiction can take root and/or a rehab facility where your sponsor is a dealer.
Learning to invest and understanding the markets are good things, as is connecting with friends online … to a point. Social media and gambling have the same addictive psychological mechanism: variable rewards — when you keep performing an action in hopes of getting a possible but unlikely reward. This is the type of behavior that’s the “most addictive and hardest to stop.” Robinhood management and investors have taken cues from big tech, and made a conscious decision to disregard the well-being of our youth for personal enrichment.
Some additional data on the surge in online trading:
- Excessive trading may be triggered by an addictive process.
- 12% of all trading activity is from day-traders, yet day-traders are only 1.6% of all profitable traders.
- Men trade more than women, and unmarried men trade more than married men.
- Stock market crashes have been linked to upticks in suicide.
- Investors with a large differential between their existing economic conditions and their aspiration levels hold riskier stocks in their portfolios.
Most articles will focus on what we, Americans, view as the profound risk with the surge in rookie online traders … that the markets might go down. Most market tops coincide with retail investors entering. We haven’t, to my knowledge, seen the scale of a market crash driven by twentysomethings investing government rescue funds, levered up via preapproval on their smartphones.
Our elected officials and gross idolatry of money and innovators have overrun the institutions charged with slowing our thinking and keeping our kids safe. Joe Scarborough put it well: “Mark, Sheryl, and Jack, you have revealed yourselves to be vapid vulgarians who put at risk Americans’ health, racial justice, fair elections, and basic truths.”
Where do we turn? The bulk of the pressure to protect kids from device addiction falls on parents — limiting use (severely) and getting other parents at school to limit use as well, so kids don’t feel they are an exception. It’s difficult, and it needs to be done. An “electronics fast,” perhaps for the whole family, can allow the nervous system to reset. Lowering your dopamine threshold allows a smaller amount of pleasure to be satisfying.
The threat of addiction has been slowing our household down. One of our sons demonstrates behavior consistent with device addiction. It’s terrifying. Everything he does, says, and works toward, is in pursuit of the dopa hit waiting on his iPad. His mom and I are doing what most parents would do — reading, seeking outside help, limiting use. But more than anything, we’re trying to slow things down. Time with him, especially outdoors or with books. Time in bed with him telling him stories about his grandfather becoming a frogman in the Royal Navy. Slowing everything down. It appears to be working.
I see Alex Kearns, and I see my oldest son. A nerd, with a big smile, fascinated by the markets and seeking dopa hits. I can’t imagine the pain of that family. I can’t imagine how we’ve lost the script, letting the meaningful, innovation and money, trump the profound, our kids. The youth suicide rate has increased 56% in a decade. Girls between 10 and 14 had a tripling of self-harm episodes between 2009 and 2015. Teens who are on social media for 5+ hrs a day are twice more likely to be depressed than those who are on for less than an hour.
Is it any wonder Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew on social media? If he wasn’t Tim Cook, would he also say, I don’t want him to have an iPad either?
The weapons are our phones and tablets, and the bullets are social media firms headed by sociopathic oligarchs. And now, we may have a new menace preying on young men: online trading platforms.
We are a virus-ravaged nation where curfew alerts are sent to our phones. Innovation has become synonymous with exploitation. We find solace in the market being high, but the market is not a reflection of the economy or progress, but increasingly of a few firms’ ability to arbitrage the gap between the pace of technology and regulation. It’s depressing. What to do? I’ll check my likes, mentions, and stocks.
Life is so rich,
P.S. Join a network of nearly 3,000 alumni worldwide by signing up for the July Strategy Sprint, taught by yours truly. And our guest on the Prof G Show is evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who thinks virtue signaling could actually be a huge force for good.
You can never get enough of what your don’t really want!
Spot on! Terrifying
Thought Skynet would create killer robots to eradicate us, but it is insidiously using engagement algorithms to drive us crazy.
The reality of RobinHood is more like the cryptocurrency pump and dump schemes transported via social media to traditional securities. With this base, some think they can do better and branch out – also abetted by social media. Shoeshines with stock advice in the modern era…
When our kids were in primary school, we packed devices away for the summer on the last day of school. Wii, gameboy, iPod. I know I’m dating myself. The kids watched me post for the final time on IG not return until Labor Day. They’re teens now. It’s impossible for them and for us as business owners to disconnect for a summer. That said, we can disconnect for a day. Bring back the concept of the Sabbath. A day away from work and a day centred on the family. I think a return to simple living is what we need. Plant a veg garden. Nap in a hammock. Go for a walk. Read a book, as in a hard copy where you actually have to turn the pages. Science is progress. Technology is science. Technology is using science to hijack our brains. Things have gone off the rails. how did even the non-addictively inclined lose agency over our lives and where does that leave the vulnerable? I think change must come from within the tech sector. It’s people like Tristan Harris that might effect change at the policy level and in the meantime, we just need a few Netflix docs on the issue. Look what happened to the vegan movement thanks to Forks Over Knives and What the Health. As a marketer, I think it’s easier to speak to them where they are. We have a better chance of a few actually listening and making a change. And when I say “they”, I’m referring to parents. It’s up to parents to govern their children’s use of devices. Problem is parents do what’s easy These days. Give the kids a device so they can get back to checking their social feeds. 🤷🏼♀️
And yet you invest directly in Twitter. I don’t see any daylight between you and all the people who criticized the slave trade while profiting from it.
Incredibly insightful. Loved this.
A widening wealth gap could also be compounding the OTP problem. Young people must increasing feel the incentive to gamble, to bridge the gap to the hoarding generation. At what point does the crapshoot of TSLA far-out-the-money calls feel like a better decision than an expensive university education?
I’d like to see a study into this, because I believe you’re onto something. It’s all emanating from the idea of There Is No Alternative (TINA). If people feel like they can’t get ahead and there is no point in other means of savings, then this behavior will continue
Thank you Scott for opening our minds and hearts. Despite the enormous benefits to civilization that capitalism has brought along way since the pandemic of 1347(also known as The Black Plague..yes, the Black Plague did wipe out millions in Europe, but in so doing, paved the way for scarcity and leverage amongst the labor pool, thus undoing centuries of Feudalism), capitalism does come with some fine print that should not be ignored. Capitalism propels us headlong towards the furtherance of (i)ndividualism and it optimizes for one variable and that is PROFIT. The balance sheets and share prices that we all covet make no allowances for social & environmental capital, morality or ethics(props to Elkington-Triple Bottom Line(TBL)). Hence why a white “genteel” America was so blithely addicted to the profits generated by slavery(free labor) and at once inured to its brutality for all those centuries. Misallocating capital then, as now, for the betterment of society as a whole, would run counter to finely-tuned market operations. With regard to these RobinHooders, I think its’ instructive to pull your lens way out and observe not just the surficial topology of this issue but also the underlying tectonic plates that drive it from a generational point-of-view(props to Howe & Strauss-”Fourth Turnings”). What your generational bias might lead you to believe is an addiction might actually be a fast-moving evolutionary adaptation from the PHYSICAL WORLD to the VIRTUAL WORLD These millennials and Zoomers are keenly aware that their economic livelihoods in this rapidly vanishing Physical World were just sacrificed at the altar during the COVID-19 pandemic by aging Boomers who control our institutions. It’s my contention that a survival instinct kicked in amongst these young people with a collective awareness that the PHYSICAL WORLD of atoms (Greta told you Boomers you f***ked up the planet, post-Civil Rights racial animus, worthless fiat currencies, etc) and the institutional order that has cultivated that, is all but dead and they have latched themselves on to the VIRTUAL WORLD of bytes where Boomers have no ability to wreck the havoc they have done in the PHYSICAL WORLD and where these young upstarts hope to salvage and rebuild their lives (perhaps even as avatars) going forward. The next generation has lost faith with capitalism as we know it and that is a good thing and I believe they will remake a more balanced capitalism that turns down the knobs on profit and turns up the people and the planet. Thanks!
It’s interesting – I read this article the way I imagine its created – fast, intensely and passionately. I think that’s the key to what these ‘tech’ businesses do…. It kinda goes from (excuse the apostrophes) ‘Gaining Attention’ through to ‘Creating Reliance’ then into ‘Exploiting Vulnerabilities’ and Creating Addiction’. There’s numerous break points that we can (if we really want to) support and help people break that flow. But as ever the core challenge is that as the commercial core of many of the tech we use and develop is focused around gaining attention – we can’t get off the carousel and are going deeper and deeper into the unintended (I’d really hope) exploitation and addiction spheres.
How much margin can a 23 year old with few assets get on OTPs? If they get caught in a highly leveraged short squeeze, assuming they can’t make margin, is the most they are out their account balance? Or will they owe amounts that would make them BK out (harsh early life lesson.)
Genius observations. Scary implications!
Point the finger at FINRA. Robinhood should not be able to use questionable UX design to deliver dopamine hits. Only accredited investors and licensed professionals should be allowed to trade options. This is completely insane. I really hope FINRA is paying attention.
In society, the role of the company is to make money (in this case by providing an engaging product) and the role of the citizens should be to be educated to control themselves. I think it is irresponsible to blame tech companies just because the people can’t control how much they “consume” mobile apps. Don’t limit innovation, teach people to understand what variable rewards do to their brains and prevent addictions.
Utter rubbish. Tech companies spend billions to develop platforms and interfaces that intentionally exploit human weaknesses to the detriment of the user and the profit of the company. While individuals ultimately need to be responsible for their decisions, this free pass you give to corporations is just another part of the rot. So corporations should get all the benefits of being a individual “citizen”, but few of the responsibilities? The very definition of why this country struggles today. All liberty, no responsibility.
@Root Farmer Bingo
You need to educate yourself.
What do you think the avg education level is of a social media user? Unreasonable to expect the uneducated to grasp the concept of variable rewards. This is the tobacco industry when the execs were still arguing cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. There’s a responsibility to the public to minimize harm. It’s called CSR.
Fortunately, food for thought doesn’t cause chronic disease and I feel well fed. Good work.
Give it up Scott. The great game of trading stocks is suddenly bad because technology has made it easy via platforms such as Robin Hood. Its like blaming Twitter for people being idiots. By the way, what is the socioeconomic and ethnic profile of these new users on Robin Hood? My guess is white, educated, male, upwardly mobile – like your fan base…like you. There is much lower fruit for you to pick than blaming Robin Hood for stupidity…besides I will soon have all their money and they will learn a valuable life lesson. cheers from an old guy trader (white, male and socially immobile)
No, trading stocks is not bad. Gamifying it to exploit young and vulnerable people through “engagement” algorithms is bad.
Thank you for shedding light on the sociopathy of those in charge of our biggest dopamine-bringing platforms. They know what they are doing and are acting in their own self-interest by not taking a stand for what is important – our well being.
Brilliant, as always. One thought: innovations usually take place outside the regulatory boundaries. The speed of innovation has increased and so has the number of businesses that continually exist outside the scope of regulation. This isn’t good, but isn’t this ‘natural’?
I admit that today’s articles was for me a bit less linear and harder to follow – had to go back and re-read a few paragraphs. However the content is as usual so much a source of reflection. As a father of a 13 yo son and 19 yo daughter what worries me the most, more than addiction, is the widespread cynicism and lack of human empathy.
Scott, I’m a first time poster. I love your column, but this issue about Alexander Kearns is beyond disturbing because I’m a financial therapist. What is most disturbing is the media’s (which includes you) fixation on Robinhooders. A bunch of 20 year olds are not driving the markets to new highs, this – as you will see – will be a classic Wall Street pump and dump a la 1999-2000. Which will then be blamed on silly 20 year olds, expect there will be many suicides by that point. So do me a favor, since young people read your writing..write about how Wall Street pumps and dumps. SEND A BIG FUCKING WARNING SIGNAL. You have about 3 months. This is right up your alley David if you want to go after Goliath. And I’m sure if you contact Michael Lewis, he can lay a few breadcrumbs for you.
G stands for gracious gratitude and grieving. I choked up listening to you on today’s Pivot when you recounted this tragic story. I felt the quiver in your voice and it was reassuring that there are men out there who can be vulnerable publicly. Addiction is insidious. The needle my mother stuck in her arm was that of a slot machine. A holocaust survivor she hung her hope on whatever chemical that is hooking these vulnerable kids. She died trying. Keep shining that bright light on bad corporate actors. Love your show with gratitude.
Is Robinhood publicly traded? How do I get in on this tulip thing?
I don’t no where to begin, so I wont’. Please keep writing and thinking thru this stuff. It’s scary and overwhelming, a word often used in these times. Good luck with your two boys(all that matters) and keeping them safe from themselves. I grew up in Delray Beach and I am very familiar with Gulfstream(school and community). The best of luck with getting those parents on board. HAPPY FATHERS DAY SCOTT !
Life comes at you pretty fast these days. But it always has. The question is how to deal with it? By strengthening yourself physically and mentally. By mastering the fundamentals. This has been the case since the dawn of civilization. What Solomon wrote to guide people 2500 years ago works just as well today as it did then. Basically, live with integrity through time tested values.
This is a fantastic read, inspiring in many ways. As always professor Galloway you have my admiration and respect, we must do something to save the new generations from bullshit progress.
This mirrors the conundrum of requiring patient capital to build value versus having the quick returns fix. I think Milton Friedman’s essay “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” is just as prescient and the idea of these markets and platforms regulating themselves is absurd.
To the wisdom of this statement “Technological change is vastly outpacing our species’ ability to adapt to an endless barrage of stimuli,” I can add “…overwhelms our innate emotional resilience.” For 60 years I have watched technology – of all kinds – increasingly transcend our ability to understand technology, and in turn our ability to control and absorb its outcomes. Reason triumphed over emotion, and in a twisted paradox, we will decline as a result of our own intellectualism.
Us humans are still stuck in the same predicament: we erect institutions to serve us, and we end up serving the institutions. The danger is that the tech platforms are so pervasive, resilient, and redundant, that the ability to reinvent our institutions, norms, and systems, will become increasingly difficult. On the surface of things, it may seem the narrative changes fast, and thus the perception that life is moving fast, but I fear looking beneath the surface we’ll find that we’re truly living in a matrix where the progenitors of the algorithms are the same, and dopamine will keep the human dog chasing its tail.
Despite the oversharing, this article is spot on about the current situation, the cause and the cure. Innovation (which is not the same as execution) has outstripped humanities intellectual progress. This might be a self correcting condition e.g. Darwin but it still requires human intervention in the short term. Is there any society that does it right? The Amish? Lost tribes of Borneo? As someone once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same we used when creating them.” We cannot tech our way out of it. IMHO -jgp
What a sad story. You are right that limiting device use falls on parents. Unfortunately, the peer pressure teens exert on each other also plays out among their parents. We limited device use. It started with the oldest in high school. The price for an iPhone was a bit steep in 2011 so we said flip phone till senior year. We soon could afford it but kept the rule because we saw his peers’ behavior with devices. We used that rule as precedent for the next two kids, the last one graduating from HS last year. But, I realized in about 2015 that other parents were not too keen on hearing about our household rule. I would be in groups of parents and if I explained it, I saw anger, sadness, or contempt on their faces for our rule. I was shocked at first, and then I moved on. I found little support among parent peers. The pressure was on for us to let our kids use smartphones in high school. Long story short, our kids each resented the rule a little bit in early high school but by middle of 10th grade, all had grown critical of their friends staring into a screen. Of all the parenting things I did, my kids now think that rule changed their lives the most and they are more thankful than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, the parent part is just half. Schools are the other half and the rules set by high school principals are key. Two kids went to one selective public HS, and one kid went to a specialized HS in NYC. The selective school said NO phone out and enforced it. Great principal, hugely rigorous school with seminar style classes. Kids had to and did concentrate/participate in class. Smartphones would have f—ed that up. Specialized HS, horrible principal, kicked out last year, actually. Smartphones were out in class all the time. My kid said it was impossible to concentrate while the kids on each side were surreptitiously on social media the whole time. It really screwed up some classes for my kid. So, Scott, Give it everything you’ve got at home and get your kids into schools with strong guidelines about devices. Don’t ask the principal either, it will be total bs in many cases. Go backchannel and get the real scoop. I wouldn’t be able to have my rule of no smartphone until last year now, but I would use parental controls to limit the hell out of usage and phones would go in a basket or something most of the time at home. I still have sophos web filtering on all our laptops. We have not had iPads for kids at home. it’s just the wrong/right size. Too easy to curl up and lose yourself in the device all day for a kid. And a golden rule with kids, take something away, well nature abhors a void, better substitute something else that’s pretty good. Also, we talked about device use a lot at home so the kids started to grasp what the devices did to their brains. Fortunately, there is now a growing body of research devoted to the impact of digital media/screens on child development. You know children are now arriving in pre-k and kindergarten with deficient gross motor skills? They can swipe and tap though! Unfortunately, development of gross motor skills is needed for other parts of the brain to develop. What a handicap to start out life with in kindergarten. One thing leads to another…
Calling your vices a net positive in your life does nothing but make them more attractive to the many young people who look up to you. You think you outsmarted vice, and you probably did. Those people who follow you will think they can outsmart them too. Be better Scott!
I felt sick reading this. Excess is making us all sick. Superabundance is like as abscess that just keeps on swelling – unabated and relentless – never to erupt and release its pus. Never to be lanced so that the swollen misshapen skin contorted by it can reform and heal. Every one of us can only consume so much, occupy so much space and spend so much. Everything else is excessive.
interesting how there is commentary regarding young men’s trading but not about young women. it’s very frustrating that “male” is still considered the default.
The majority of young traders are male, STFU Amanda
As father to two young daughters, the data on child suicide is absolutely terrifying. Particularly because the role and power of online media is so hard to control. Happiness = function of (reality minus expectations) We suspect all three aspects are distorting: reality, expectations and the nature of the function itself. Leading to desperately low happiness, dopamine-seeking, anxiety, depression and.. suicide. We struggle to parent our way with confidence around all three as this equation continues to distort.
#Bucketshops? Robinhood is the poster child upstart facilitating gambling much the way Draft Kings or other such sites do. And what better an environment to do it in a sports-free Covid era? Equally disturbing is yet another way to facilitate stock market gambling– the ‘Fractional Shares’ product recently available from legitimate stock purveyors, Fidelity and Schwabb. The young man who took his life I hope will provide some thought but with profit at the forefront I am not optimistic. Financial literacy is not the object here. As Robert Bork once said, we are slouching towards Gomorrah.
Every generation faces challenges, some of them new. Not all kids survive them. It’s important that adults especially not lose sight of the fact that we live in a relatively secure, unprecedentedly affluent age.
Stonks only go up, take out as much margin as you can and buy call options. Lmao at this boomer telling us not to trade. My stock recommendation: BBW. Will be up 100% by end of 2020
Good article as usual but doesn’t this give you pause about putting schools online in the fall Scott? Clearly the COVID situation makes it thorny especially as it concerns older teachers/professors, but another year of online education has the potential to greatly exacerbate the tech addiction among the younger generation. The long-term consequences could be extremely damaging to everyone under a certain age. Rock, meet hard place.
We are strict with our son & daughter most days with less than an hour but man can you tell when those days that you just have a lot to do and let the kids be in front of a screen longer than they should be. Like Clint said, it is legitimately scary. You think, what did I just let happen to my child’s brain right there? Thank you Scott, love your insights, keep it up!
This hits close to home with what you said about your Son. With our youngest, often a form of “punishment” is taking away his iPad. The reaction to the removal of an iPad, I’ve said to my wife, is akin to what you see from drug addicted people going through withdrawal. It’s insane. I cannot overstate how much it scares me. Really, it’s likely my fault for not structuring their time in a way where the spend less time on devices and more time outdoors, with or without us. Work to be done, thanks for highlighting this Scott.
This hits home for me too. My kids are 2 & 3 and I am always on my phone. It makes me realize if I want them to appreciate life, being outside, not falling trap to instant gratification and the deteriorating effects of looking at peoples fake lives on facebook, instagram etc, then I need to get off my phone too. Major wake up call and thank you Scott.
It’s almost as if we get the government we vote for. No one takes personal responsibility any longer and the ones who do are penalized by paying for everyone else’s failures. Looters and rioters have shown the thin veneer of society was held together by mostly voluntary compliance. Now that hardly anyone follows the law and we’ve beaten down anyone interested in protecting it can we just stop paying taxes now? Asking for a friend.
28 years ago when I arrived to college and went shopping for textbooks, I was greeted at every bookstore by booths from credit card companies offering free gifts if you would just sign up for their card. What cash-starved college student doesn’t want a care package of shaving cream, soap, shampoo, and granola bars in exchange for filling out a 1 minute long form; right?! I believe that most who filled out those forms knew that the credit cards issued to them as a result carried high fees if used improperly; but some couldn’t resist peer pressure to spend beyond their means to keep up with others who were from wealthy families or who didn’t care about running up credit card debt in the pursuit of fun. Why ride a crappy Huffy 10-speed that you’ve had since junior high school when you now have the buying power to get an up-to-date Trek?! The result was about 20-30% of those who had addictive personalities ended up mired in 20%+ interest rate debt from which they would spend formative years in their careers digging out (if digging out at all). This Robinhood phenomenon is no different but just allows the wrong type of user to do significantly more damage that much more quickly. Giving a college student without means the ability to access $750,000 plus of buying power via leverage is insane. I’m usually a fan of less government regulation, but allowing kids at this age access to that kind of leverage is no different than putting Uzi machine guns into their hands.
I think GDP of Norway is four times higher than Bezos’ net worth. Slovakia would be more comparable.