As I was watching Hurricane Sandy coverage on Oct. 29, I flipped on CNBC only to find a reporter lamenting the fact that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) might be forced to close for a second day due to inclement weather, marking the first time since the Blizzard of 1888 that weather had forced the Wall Street institution to be closed for two consecutive days. Additionally, this closure was coming at the end of the month when traders typically price financial portfolios. Oh, the horror!
Meanwhile, I was just thrilled that my 401(k) actually might not lose money for two consecutive days.
Beyond my self-centeredness, however, I couldn't shake the thought that so much attention was being placed on the NYSE while the area police officers, firefighters, public service crews, electrical workers, and storm recovery specialists were working around the clock to get New York up and running after Sandy blew through town. Certainly, financial trading is important to a modern economy, but life doesn't stop if financial traders can't make a phone call or send an e-mail. You can't say the same about the people who restore power and clear roads; if they don't show up, no one else can show up for their jobs. (more...)