Gotta Stock ’em All

C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control is a show that can ostensibly be described as Wall Street meets Pokemon. “Investors” are summoned to a mysterious “Financial District” where they use powered assistants called “Assets” to fight and take each others’ money. As I am not really familiar with how actual stocks and investing work, I cannot tell you how accurate the flow of money is within the show, other than to say that I looked up the word “mezzoflation” and that is definitely some made up mumbo jumbo original to C.

But when I think about it, what percentage of the population actually knows in great detail the ins and outs of stock exchange? We go on the news and hear about “NASDAQ rising” this or the “Nikkei Index” falling that, and while the information is out there for people to learn, it is so many levels removed from how people traditionally think of how to make money (i.e. perform a service and get paid for it) that it all begins to sound like some elaborate game involving smoke and mirrors and maybe juggling clowns.

Maybe I’m just an idiot when it comes to finances but with the sheer complexity and mystery of how the world’s finances work, it feels like a nation’s wealth might as well be decided by a Pokemon Battle, instead of the convoluted web that exists in reality.

8 thoughts on “Gotta Stock ’em All

  1. I honestly think C barely touched the concept of stocks. It’s just that stocks and investments are commonly used as a health bar for a country’s economy. Aside from that, I think the focus of C leans more on to the concept of “control” of the economy, thus the conflict between Mikuni (who wants the Financial District fully controlled by himself) and Kimimaro (who sees the danger of doing so).

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  2. I’ve been thinking of [C] a fair amount lately (prompted by its outstanding soundtrack), and have come to the conclusion that it might work as allegory — the business with the disappearing people/economy due to mysterious and largely invisible transactions in an artificial world wasn’t so very far from what happened in 2008 with the way the financial industry suddenly realized its gambles were based on assets they couldn’t trust.

    I’m tempted to give the show another watch on that basis.

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  3. The public debt issue is one of them. I think a much better allegory for the Financial Market is not unlike how majority of securities trading today is done via algorithms. Banks and funds spend a lot of money developing these software systems to do fast and complicated evaluations and trades, and in a nutshell these systems compete with each other in a way that can be seen as an allegory to what [C] had going for it.

    The additional of the individuals who are essentially pokeman trainers adds the vital human dimension to the consequences of these “battles” as they are as otherworldly in real life as it is in [C].

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  4. Public debt problem…

    Look at Iceland and Ireland (Greece is a different story altogether). They were basically screwed by the games played by high-rolling bankers — games that (like Omo says) happen out of sight, and which are very mysterious. Iceland came off a bit better, because they refused/couldn’t bail out the banks (which were basically gambling with foreigners’ money, anyway) and because they had their own currency to devalue. Ireland chose to rescue the banks and the country’s economy is having trouble recovering.

    I think both map onto [C] pretty well.

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  5. I think that the show can be split up into multiple allegories, and although most people tend to focus on the “macro” level allegory (what with the actual C phenomenon and all), the show does have something meaningful to say about what it means to be alive. I forget the main character’s name, but the entire story arc of his own wish to be “safe” vs his entire journey to find out exactly why his father screwed him over so bad is a good example of what I mean.

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  6. Smugly pouring on the financial equivalent of techo-babble is a complete disservice to the viewer.

    High frequency / algo / program / robo trading, derivatives and futures and swaps, are all weapons wielded to push around and fleece those with shallower pockets. To gloss over the matter in a comedic and dismissive way is just another method of keeping the ignorant precisely that way.

    Are these financial tools a bit surreal? Sure. Should they have some sort of mystique about them? No, they’re totally banal. Are they sinister and out to rob you of your purchasing power? Terrifyingly so.

    There are documentaries on the 2008 financial crisis, There are sites like nakedcapitalism or (for the ultra cynical) zero hedge. You only need do a bit of reading.

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    • Documentaries are fine, but there’s nothing wrong with viewing the issues through the eyes of an artist, too.

      I think [C] did a good job of addressing that aspect of bubbles and finances — much of the dramatic conflict in the show depended on the “real world” consequences of the financial games, ending, ultimately in a financial collapse (and some of the characters attempts to prevent the conditions leading to those consequences). It also touched on the amorality of many of the players.

      I’m looking forward to science fiction in which the science is economics. We’re starting to see some of it, and I think it will serve to demystify the workings of economies and economics — not just the recent financial crisis.

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