The University in St. Gal len, Switzerland (how appropriate) has come out with a study that compares traders with psychopaths.
The surprising result was that not only do traders act like psychos, they’re worse. I’m not surprised at this at all. From NZZ:
“The study reviewed the direct comparison of results with an existing study of 24 psychopaths in German high-security hospitals and a control group of 27 “normal” people.”
The “normal people” that is referred to are 27 traders. Stock guys, FX/commodities traders and derivative types were the “normal’ people that were stacked up against the actual crazies in the German nut house.
Even the experts were surprised by the result. They attest to the stock market professionals with a penchant for immense destruction.
The performance of the 27 dealers is even worse than the psychopaths.
“It’s like beating one of the neighbour’s expensive cars with a baseball bat with the sole objective of owning the most beautiful car in the neighbourhood.”
Now that we “know” (what was has been suspected all along) that traders are nuts it’s worth looking at what a textbook definition of a psycho actually is.
1. Considerable superficial charm, verbal facility and average or above average intelligence.
2. Unreliability, disregard for obligations, no sense of responsibility.
3. Untruthfulness and insincerity.
4. Inexplicable impulsiveness.
5. Antisocial behaviour.
6. Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience.
7. Total self-contriteness.
8. General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.
9. Lack of any true insight, inability to see oneself as others do.
10. Fantastic and objectionable behaviour, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking–vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks.
11. An impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated sex life.
There was a point in my life where I thought of myself as a successful trader. A “Master of the Universe”; a “Big swinging dick”. That was 20 years ago. Looking at the above list makes me cringe. To one degree or another all the descriptions fit parts of my life at the time.
I’m “All better” now…
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