The obscene profits and compensation at Goldman Sachs and other banks indicate that the stock and commodity markets are not level playing fields. The big firms have an unfair advantage and they use it. The only argument in favor of allowing them to use this advantage is that they continue to take such huge trading risks that if they were to fail, as many small investors do, they would once again threaten to destroy the world as we know it, as they did at the end of the Bush administration.
Two examples of their unfair advantage have come to light in th4e last few days: flash or high frequency trading orders, which is under investigation by the SEC, and manipulation of the oil futures market, which is under investigation by the CFTC. The fact that both of the matters are under investigation is a welcome change from the Bush administration Of course Goldman Sachs is in the forefront of both of these questionable practices. Matt Taibbi did an excellent job of reporting Goldman’s role in the spike of gas prices last year; now they are at it again.