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Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Chapter 25

The Significance of Financial Speculation

There has long been a negative feeling among the general public about speculation in markets. To them, the activity doesn’t seem to contribute to society. It seems to many to be a form of recreation for the rich or for those who really just want to be rich, an activity that is fundamentally selfish and egotistical—and, on top of that, often delusional. In a 1904 essay Charles Conant observed that

One of the most persistent of the hallucinations which prevail among people otherwise apparently lucid and well informed is the conception that operations on the stock and produce exchanges are pure gambling. A moment’s reflection, it would seem, might convince such persons that a function which occupies ...

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