Emotions are running high so I am trying to be as coherent as possible in this post! I woke up this morning and saw this article from CNBC on my newsfeed: Gun stocks jump after LV mass shooting.
I felt sick! 58 people are killed and hundreds injured by a lunatic and the market's reaction is to reward gun companies in anticipation of more sales before a gun law is passed?! Okay, I know it makes rational sense and that markets are run by the fundamental laws of supply and demand. It still sickens me to think that someone woke up this morning, saw the news of the shooting and figured the best move to make would be to buy some RGR and AOBC.
I don't want to be an utter hypocrite. In a parallel universe, if a self-driving car had fallen off a bridge or slammed into a wall and killed a family of six, I would have probably sold off some automotive and semi-conductor stocks fearing a crash (that's the market I understand better). It is when I realized that, that it made me really sick! I am a part of this "rational market." How do we live with ourselves in a world where on hearing about the loss of lives of fellow citizens, we react by prioritizing maximization of personal economic gain?!
There is a slight difference in the above example that I haven't (yet!) found myself thinking of buying stocks of companies related to autonomous cars every time there is a terrorist attack by a driver mowing a truck into a crowd of people. I don't want to get there. In my opinion, there is a slight difference between stopping losses vs making profits from tragic news, but I don't want to be thinking of stopping losses first either!
I don't have a solution to this, and I don't know if there is one. This is a question that has been around since the World Wars, if not earlier. I am not proposing we move to communism (no!) but it pains me to think that we have decided to live with such a market! I enjoy understanding market theories and, by working in a capitalist society, am directly contributing to the growth of the same.
Can we not come up with a better way in which we rank lives of our friends and families over profits? Doesn't even saying the previous sentence out loud make you question everything?
Edit (10/10/17): As you might have gathered by now, this post was not very thoughtful and was me ranting that morning in wake of the horrible tragedy at LV. However, it did prompt some great discussion online that provided me with a different perspective. A summary of the discussion is captured in the two comments I show below.