Thirteen individuals are seated at a large round table, all dressed in tuxedos, their faces inscrutable. Some are smoking cigars, while others grin, revealing white teeth. Their portly bellies strain against the silk of their Italian shirts in a way that makes it appear as though the buttons are on the verge of bursting and taking a steep plunge.
These thirteen men own numerous trading floors that attract wealth seekers from all corners of the country, as the advertisements suggest. “Trade and Grow!” reads the slogan on a captivating billboard.
The dreams of thousands of people are shattered by the unyielding charts of stock prices amidst the cacophony of unfulfilled hopes. However, the thirteen bankers seated behind the desk remain unperturbed. They understand the essence of this financial world; they have mastered it and comprehend human greed—the very greed that propels people into the market.
A new advertising campaign unfolds with the slogan, “This stock will make you rich!” to the monotonous cheers of thirteen advertising managers. “It needs refinement,” the chairman comments. “We must make them envision paying off their mortgages, purchasing larger houses, better cars, and having beautiful companions by their side. We need to penetrate their minds.”
This regular gathering of the Thirteen resembles a secret society—a congregation of priests worshiping a deity named “The Exchange.” Oh, the promises this financial god makes to its devotees. “Pray and trade! And you shall attain what you’ve always desired.”
“Pray and trade! Let others envy your success!” “Pray and trade! While others toil and persevere, your destiny is unique! You are special!”
However, this deity demands sacrifices from its priests.
And so, another “trader” who has invested all his savings and borrowed money in the market rises from the table and realizes that everything he and his wife had painstakingly saved for—their future home, their dreams, their children’s education—has been devoured by a mechanism that has ground up someone’s years of labor without any compassion or effort. The trader’s legs tremble, his heart is overwhelmed with sorrow and guilt, and ahead of him lie years filled with a battle for survival, a frantic treadmill where he will be compelled to trade his time for money. If he does not learn this painful lesson, his entire life will be spent in this struggle.
However, the thirteen bankers, or rather, priests, remain unaffected. They win every time. Their discreet business thrives on the small commissions paid to them by every wealth seeker every second, as long as those seekers have not yet sacrificed their years on the altar. Even when one victim is entirely drained, dozens or even hundreds more dreamers quickly step forward to take their place.
Commissions are paid, business is conducted, people queue up to pay the price for their naivety, and the thirteen bankers need only count their profits…
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