There’s a certain subset of investors who take it all a bit too seriously.
The CEO of overstock.com famously believes that a cabal of short-sellers (led by a “Sith Lord” and encompassing the press, Wikipedia and the Russian mafia) has been suppressing his company’s stock price – for the last five years. Here is his website.
Some people are convinced that the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets is actually a “plunge protection team“, stepping in and buying stocks whenever they decide that markets have become too irrational (November 20, 2008, we’re looking at you). Here is their website.
But the loopiest conspiracy theorists in the markets, on a scale of 1 to “evil shape-shifting lizards from the constellation Draco secretly control the world via the Illuminati and the Queen Mother is their leader”, are GATA – the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee. These guys are a subset of the family of “gold bugs” – people who’re bullish on gold because they believe that America’s economic mismanagement will trigger hyperinflation blah blah fiat money blah blah blah Ron Paul blah blah.
GATA takes this a step further off the cliff into cartoon gravity land.
They don’t just believe that hyperinflation blah blah fiat money blah blah blah Ron Paul blah blah. They believe that the Fed, the BIS, the Treasury, mining company Barrick Gold, and all of the major gold-trading banks in the world are actively involved in a conspiracy to keep the price of gold low. They are absolutely convinced that central banks loaning out their gold holdings is the biggest criminal act in the world today. They’ve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to take out full-page ads in the WSJ explaining their views. They’ve sued the Fed. Some slightly more fringe adherents believe that the real villain is AIG, who are conspiring with “Red China” (their words, not mine) to suppress the price of silver.
But through all this, they never quite explain why. Why does the price of gold matter so much to all these thousands of people, so much that they’d maintain the conspiracy for years and years and years? Why are the bullion banks working with them? Why would China give a toss about the price of silver? And why on earth would the central banks want to suppress the price of gold when they own billions and billions of dollars of the stuff?
And why, after ten or twenty years of this enormous conspiracy, has there never been a single gold trader standing up on a bar in London or New York or Singapore, pissed as a newt, screaming “IT’S ALL TRUE, EVERYTHING, EVEN THE BIT ABOUT THE LIZARDS”?
(P.S. to any bullion traders reading this, and I know there’s a few: please do this, if only so we can watch the conspiracy theorists completely flip their lid. It’ll be a blast.)