Monday, September 24, 2012

Astrology on Wall Street

It's well known among investors and financial analysts alike that predicting financial markets is extremely difficult and it's pretty much mathematically impossible for anyone to get it right all of the time. I suppose, then, it's no surprise to see traders looking for any advantage they can get, even if it comes from a paranormal source. Apparently, thousands of traders are now relying on astrology to help them make investment decisions.

According to MarketPlace, reports Wall Street and Tech, “at least 3,000 traders are currently paying $237 each year to subscribe to financial astrologer Karen Starich’s newsletter, while a couple thousand more subscribe to Arch Crawford’s astrology-based financial forecasts.”

This is the first report I've seen that includes the actual numbers, but I will say that I've heard rumors going back decades that many major Wall Street figures at the very least take astrology into account alongside conventional analysis. My guess is that the practice would not endure unless there was something to it, no matter what the skeptics say. What that something is, though, is open to debate. As a magician, I believe that esoteric relationships exist between the planets and various archetypal concepts and forces. However, as a scientist, I also am familiar with research suggesting that while such a relationship may exist, it is small enough that it does not fully explain our fascination with the subject.

One of the ideas I've had for many years about astrology is that since it's widely disseminated throughout our culture, belief itself may power many of the correlations people observe about "their sign." While any professional astrologer will tell you that astrology is much more complicated than that, what I remember as a kid is seeing astrological signs on restaurant placemats listing traits for the different Sun signs. My parents would comment on traits that seemed to match my brother and I, and if enough people had similar experiences growing up I can see how those traits would be reinforced. A lot of people who are casually interested in astrology will say things like "I'm a Taurus, so I'm stubborn." Ideas like that about your personality have a great deal of potential to become self-fulfilling.

The hacker in me loves stuff like this. Why? Because astrological correspondences can be worked out well in advance. If I can figure out what these astrologers are going to recommend, and therefore know what thousands of high-volume traders will do at that time, I should be able to beat the markets to at least some degree. That could translate into serious money if I were able to start with enough working capital.

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Gordon said...

Old Wall Street saying:

"Millionaires don't believe in astrology. But billionaires do."

I think about that one fairly often.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yup, that's the very quote I was thinking of when writing the article. Out of curiosity, you don't happen to know the original source, do you? I've been hearing it tossed around for something like twenty years, but I've never been able to track down who first said it.


It's attributed to JP morgan.

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and the quote is "Millionares don't *USE* astrology, billionaires do." He consulted the astrologer Evangeline Adams.

Scott Stenwick said...

Cool. Thanks for the info.

Interesting related occult trivia there - Evangeline Adams' published books on astrology were ghost-written by Aleister Crowley.