Did the BBC get pranked by a fake sociopathic trader?
The video above is currently making the rounds and provoking more than its share of confusion. Independent trader Alessio Rastani went on the BBC and gave an eyebrow-raising interview including such nuggets as "I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession, " "governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the ...
The video above is currently making the rounds and provoking more than its share of confusion. Independent trader Alessio Rastani went on the BBC and gave an eyebrow-raising interview including such nuggets as "I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession, " "governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world," and "In less than 12 months, the savings of millions of people will vanish." Some called him a sociopath, but others quickly suspected that Rastani might actually be a member of the anticapitalist prankster collective, the Yes Men. (Here’s a similar example of their handiwork with a very similar looking interviewee.)
Rastani seems real in this interview with Forbes, and the Yes Men themselves deny he’s part of they group. Felix Salmon argues that there’s a third option here:
is it possible that Rastani is both a trader and a member of the Yes Men? And the answer there, I think, is absolutely yes.
Independent traders are, well, independent — and you don’t need to spend very much time hanging around the comments section (or even many of the posts) at Zero Hedge to discern a strong nihilistic and even anti-capitalist strain to much of the thinking in that community. Independent traders are often men in their 20s and 30s who inherited a substantial sum of money and who for whatever reason don’t have a more attractive opportunity in the regular workforce. They work from home, they tend to have a strong contrarian streak, and they have a lot of time on their hands.
Update: The BBC say they do not believe it was a hoax.
Update 2: Rastani tells the Telegraph, "I agreed to go on because I’m attention seeker. But I meant every word I said."
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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