6. The Arms Merchants

In the 2005 movie Lord of War, Nicholas Cage plays the role of Yuri Orlov, a ruthless international arms dealer who sells sophisticated weapons to dictators and tyrants all over the world. He is the unseen middleman responsible for arming any side that will pay. The weapons kill many, but because he never pulls the trigger, he’s not the bad guy.

The Wall Street Yuri Orlovs are the stock exchanges. They provide and sell sophisticated tools to those willing to pay, tools that provide tremendous advantages over everybody else. In the movie, Orlov says, “The first and most important rule of gun-running is never get shot with your own merchandise.” And that’s exactly what the exchanges do. They provide the weapons but never get ...

Get Broken Markets: How High Frequency Trading and Predatory Practices on Wall Street are Destroying Investor Confidence and Your Portfolio now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.