The Strange Nature of Securities

After doing a little bit of special research on the subject, I’m beginning to think that securities are one of the strangest things ever created by man.

In a basic, intuitive sense, securities don’t really exist. Well, all right, they exist, but only in as much as any contract exists: in the minds of men. Securities are not produced from something else, they have no physical being (the paper on which they’re printed and the bytes that convey information about them are symbolic). They are created out of thin air, by an agreement between people, and continue to “exist” only because people say that they exist, and believe it.

And yet there are few things on this earth more fiercely squabbled over than securities. Innumerable men and women destroy their nerves and their health for the sake of securities; entire corporations and countless families are driven into bankruptcy by them; more than once, collapse in the securities industry signaled a near brush with the collapse of our nation.

One might muse that the obsession with shiny yellow metal is proof of man’s insanity – but it seems to me that even more compelling proof of this condition is found in our obsession with securities. Still, I sometimes think that it’s precisely what is so insane in us that makes us so unendingly intriguing; and this alone seems good enough reason to study the form and function of securities.

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