It has been difficult for me personally to see this industry that I was once a proud part of become one of the most hated and least respected in the country now -- "bank" has become a four-letter word.
And I don't believe that I overstate the myriad ways the electronicization, computerized modeling and open pipelines which replaced the human brokers, traders and face-to-face trading have played a role in that destruction. While there have obviously been cases of bad faith and fraud on Wall Street before HFT, we never saw such endemic and closeted advantage of the little guy taken behind the high walls of off-exchange, unregulated dark pools.
Ultimately, no one is winning this race. Volatility continues to spike, as we are seeing with this $10 move upward in crude in little more than three trading sessions, money continues to be withdrawn from the equity markets and correlations continue to move toward parity -- when black boxes make
a trade, fundamentals continue to lose all value and there isn't a safe and logical way to invest anymore.
That's where we've been heading: a place where bonds, commodities, stocks -- it's all the same -- move by split-second trade hedges carried out by computers.
That's the scary world that Sal and Joe lay out in their book -- highly recommended.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.