Stocks & Commodities V. 31:2 (81-82): The Future Of The Financial Markets by Richard Johnson

Stocks & Commodities V. 31:2 (81-82): The Future Of The Financial Markets by Richard Johnson
Item# V31C02_501JOHNS
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The Future Of The Financial Markets by Richard Johnson

Here’s one way to look at it.

Traders and market technicians tend to assume that the financial markets will always be available to them. After all, trading markets have existed during much of history, and today’s traders have experienced open-access free trading markets of many kinds, so there is little or no reason to believe they wouldn’t exist in the markets of the future.

But then...

If the financial and political environments drastically changed around the world, could financial markets be suspended for several years, as happened during World War I? Even worse, could free and open-access trading markets be shut permanently if the world economy reverted to such previous nonmarket conditions? While absence of markets have been exceedingly rare, for much of recorded history, commodity and currency markets predominated, and financial markets only materialized over the last few centuries. Indeed, the Dutch started them in the early years of the 17th century. But what conditions or events could bring about such disturbing circumstances?

Another world war would suffice. Even a relatively quick and painless victory by the forces of one side or the other would likely destroy traditional trade routes and access to manufacturing and material resources. And it could be decades before worldwide confidence would return to restart the planetwide economic engine. And would the merging postwar cultures permit free markets and capitalism? Could entrepreneurialism disappear, thereby discouraging economic and technological progress?

Traders should not scoff at these dire possibilities, as many market and political observers have noticed a profound disquiet. Events from the Middle East to the Pacific Rim could get out of hand in an instant. But we don’t require a world war, much less a regional skirmish to encourage economic disaster. Prognostications are not necessary; just consider the conditions of trading today.

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