Reddit day traders who ganged up on hedge funds to beat them at their own game – sending shares of money-losing GameStop and AMC soaring in the process – portray themselves as Davids to Wall Street’s Goliaths. The stock market is seen as a giant casino that the hedge funds have been gaming for years. Why can’t the little guys get a turn at the wheel?

This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of markets, explains Alexander Kurov, a professor of finance at West Virginia University. As GameStop and other stocks were soaring, they severed their relationship with the fundamental value of their companies. This threatens what capital markets are designed to do, with potentially disastrous consequences for the economy overall, he writes.

Today we’re launching The Conversation Weekly, a new podcast featuring some of the best academic research and analysis from around our global network.

The first episode explores why February is going to be such a busy month for Mars. Three different space missions – from the United Arab Emirates, China and the U.S. – are due to arrive at the red planet within a few weeks of one another. The show features Jim Bell, who is leading the team behind one of the cameras on board NASA’s Perseverance rover. There’s also an interview with Félix Krawatzek about a new survey of public opinion in Belarus about the ongoing protests there, and their links with protests in Russia following the detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

You can subscribe to The Conversation Weekly via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or listen wherever you usually get your podcasts.

Also today:

Bryan Keogh

Senior Editor, Economy + Business

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1955. AP Photo

Wall Street isn’t just a casino where traders can bet on GameStop and other stocks – it’s essential to keeping capitalism from crashing

Alexander Kurov, West Virginia University

Market prices are supposed to reflect a company's fundamental value. When they no longer do, bad things can happen.


An artist’s illustration of the aeroshell containing NASA’s Perseverance rover guiding itself towards the surface of Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mars: The Conversation Weekly podcast explores why three missions are about to reach the red planet

Gemma Ware, The Conversation; Daniel Merino, The Conversation

Plus what protesters in Belarus want to happen next. Episode 1 of The Conversation's new weekly podcast.

Science + Technology

Politics + Society


  • Amanda Gorman’s poetry shows why spoken word belongs in school

    Kathleen M. Alley, Mississippi State University; Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Cornell University; Wendy R. Williams, Arizona State University

    The rise in the popularity of Amanda Gorman, the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate, represents a prime opportunity for educators to use spoken word poetry in the classroom.

  • These are the students free community college programs help the most

    Amy Li, Florida International University; Denisa Gandara, Southern Methodist University

    New research shines a light on which students are most likely to enroll in community college when they find out it is free.


Environment + Energy

  • Citizen scientists are filling research gaps created by the pandemic

    Theresa Crimmins, University of Arizona; Erin Posthumus, University of Arizona; Kathleen Prudic, University of Arizona

    COVID-19 kept many scientists from doing field research in 2020, which means that important records will have data gaps. But volunteers are helping to plug some of those holes.

Trending on site