Why Are You Making Such a Big Deal About Alessio Rastani?

I don’t get this one at all.  This “Alessio Rastani”  video is going “viral” for reasons I cannot understand:


What exactly is so crazy/controversial/amazing/enlightening here?

Rastani says:

1) “Markets are ruled by fear.”  Yes indeed – a well known axiom – fear and greed.

2) “The big money and the smart money…they are moving their money away to safer assets.”  Well, that’s probably true – just look at Treasury yields

3) “If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that.”  Well, duh.  That’s what traders do.

4) “I go to bed every night I dream of another recession.”  Is this the comment that has people up in arms?  The guy is prepared for his view of reality: that things are not as good as the talking heads want you to believe they are, and thus he’s ready to profit from a bear market.   As a fellow trader, I took Rastani to mean that he’s not positioned for the next great bull market.

5) “This economic crisis is like a cancer – if you just wait and wait hoping it’s gonna go away, just like a cancer it’s gonna grow and it’s gonna be too late. “  He goes on to say that wishful thinking won’t solve the problem and that people need to be prepared.  COMPLETELY reasonable, in my mind, especially for anyone who has been paying attention to the United States for the last three years.

Rastani then takes the view that “the Government doesn’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.”  I’m not so sure about that one, and I don’t think he’s right that GS doesn’t care about the Euro rescue package.  It may be the case that GS doesn’t think the Euro rescue package will work (although I have seen no evidence that they believe that), but they certainly care about anything impacting markets.

Next, Rastani says that people need to be prepared, understand how to make money in a down market and protect their assets.  Again, nothing outlandish – good advice for everyone.

Is our mainstream media so used to bullish talking heads – mutual fund managers talking their books and their careers – that anytime someone injects a dose of reality into a conversation, it becomes newsworthy?

So now, a few days after this interview first aired,  there is all sorts of chatter that Rastani is a member of the “Yes Men,” a group of people who “aim to raise awareness about what they consider problematic social issues.”  Huh?  I’m totally lost here.  The FT article posts an old video of a member of the Yes Men making a mockery of his interviewer by posing as the CEO of Dow Chemical and making exceedingly conciliatory statements about the Union Carbide Bhopal disaster.  That video has absolutely nothing in common with the Rastani video except that the guy looks a bit like Rastani.

Forbes did a follow up interview with Alessio Rastani, and I would focus on this quote, which echoes my impression from the video, and enunciates perfectly normal, reasonable, not-crazy, no-need-to-go-viral sentiments:

“I think it’s overblown. I have no idea why I’m getting this attention. I don’t think it was news. For someone to say what I said, I thought everybody already knew this kind of stuff. The big players of funds rule the world, I don’t think that was news. And what I said about making money from a crash, obviously not everybody knows about that, you can make money from a downward market. A lot of people just got the wrong end of the foot, misunderstood what I was saying. They thought I was joyful or licking my lips about the idea of making money from people’s miseries. That’s probably the way it looked on the video. But if they watch the whole video, what I was really trying to say is people need to educate themselves about how to do that… what I was trying to say was, look, everyone should basically prepare. I was trying to be the good guy. If this market’s going to crash, then you’ve got to prepare yourself. You’ve got to basically learn how to make money from this. Otherwise you’ll be like I did 10 years ago … I made some huge mistakes 10 years ago, during the dotcom crash. I realized it was a falling knife. I was trying to say look guys, it’s not just for traders, it’s for everyone. They should ask me how to do it, I will help you.”

Educate yourself, be prepared, be informed.   What a radical idea…



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