Why is a video game retailer, a movie theater chain, and a formerly popular telecommunications company trending on the stock market right now?


The insane spike in stock prices of GameStop (GME), AMC, and Nokia (NOK) is credited to Reddit users, specifically those a part of the subreddit r/wallstreetbets. This subreddit is precisely as the name implies, a place where Redditors share their experiences with the stock market. For the past three weeks or so Redditors have been speaking about buying stock from GameStop, the reason being that like most other businesses, GameStop hasn’t performed well in the pandemic. Because of their struggle, the company was expected to lose money in 2021, which caused short-sellers to target them. Short-sellers benefit from a company’s stock losing value, so big companies were betting on the GME prices to go down. However, when the prices rose because of the determined Redditors, companies such as Melvin Capital began losing money. Melvin Capital was betting against GameStop, predicting the company’s value would decline. When the Redditors made their move and skyrocketed the price of the stock, Melvin Capital lost 53% of their portfolio. 

Part of what made it so easy for Redditors to buy and sell stock is the app Robinhood, a commission-free service where regular people can make money off the stock market. It acts as a bridge from the regular person to the upper-class dominated stock market. Robinhood was what led many to wealth from capitalizing off the stock market. With the peak of the GME stock prices came bitter hedge fund managers who’ve lost millions of dollars. Robinhood then closed the buying and selling of many company’s stocks, including GameStop. Consequently, Robinhood was met with many enraged users who were profiting from the app. Robinhood cited “recent volatility” as the reason they closed the trading. However, people began to speculate Robinhood stopped the trading because the wealthy were losing money. 

This is wildly ironic considering Robinhood, the character, stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and yet this service is stopping “the poor” from profiting off of “the rich”. This led to many statements on the characteristics of the free market, two of which came from Ben Shapiro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. These two are the poster children of the political right and left, they are essentially the political equivalent of night and day. Though, despite being so different, they happened to agree that seeing these two agree was genuinely amazing. 

The unity between the two parties is a sight to see, especially after the chaos of the 2020 presidential election. Ben Shapiro tweeted “… Market mechanisms include the reality that some people will attempt to game the market mechanisms — and some will pay the price…”

This is the exact concept AOC referenced when she said, “Gotta admit it’s really something to see the Wall Streeters with a long history of treating our economy as a casino complain about a message board of posters also treating the market as a casino”. Their messages serve the idea that motion in the stock market will benefit some and hurt others. Robinhood stopping the trading of some stocks when the wealthy are the ones being hurt is unfair and unethical. The upper-class using their power to get their way for centuries is outrageous and should be stopped.