So let me get this straight:
We have a financial system of investments that "worked", by which I mean for the sake of this simplification that it produced decent return on investment with relatively little investment risk. Over time, it has stopped working because the foundation has slowly eroded underneath it: the returns on things that are relatively low-risk are lower than ever, hardly beating inflation. This has pushed people controlling large sacks of money into more and more risky, more predatory investments just to keep the returns on their investments good enough, attempting to secure future wealth. The financial Overton window has shifted dramatically towards risk, the solid foundation of alpha gains falling out.
We have a financial system that used to be limited by the speed of a broker's mind. That used to be limited by the ingenuity of an Ivy League econ major to come up with new risks to create out of thin air on top of existing market and goods movements. Over time, the yelling at phones in a big room in NYC was replaced by computers, the creation of financial markets by computers, they're all interconnected in strange ways. The dark side of the pools are now squarely out of view of anyone with regulatory power, the frequency of high-frequency trading bots from companies gobbling up CalTech and MIT grads so high it's measured in nanoseconds.
We have a financial sector that got not much more than a mild burn from the Financial Crisis. No real strucutral repercussions, of course. With the bailouts left and right, and the money printer going brrr evermore, we have a financial sector that is not restricted but spurred on into madness, totally fine with taking obscene risks because their Clubhouse buddies are doing it too and you gotta keep up with the Jonases over at Goldman, right? So they short what they want. Who cares about a bit of leverage here and there if you're right.
We have a generation (or two) of the 99% who had the 'boomer dream of college-jobbyjob-house-pension shattered in front of our eyes in 2008, who are no stranger to nihilism in their 9-years-out-of-college 180sqft bedroom their degree got them. A generation who have not forgotten the tents of Occupy that did not colonize an inch of the bank accounts of Big Money. Enabled by the slot machine of Robinhood, unhindered by any lack of expertise, some gather on Reddit and speculate on the straight white bro horoscope that is the NYSE. They move a market here and there, but only if they align their lulz with their cash for a bit. They tell themselves this is how they reclaim their grip on the(ir) future, but deep down they know it's mostly a game of which they're a bunch of duck-sized horses fighting against an army of horse-sized ducks.
UNTIL someone came up with a plan that is equal parts nihilism, meme, and a call-out of the madness of the market. A plan that squarely points the middle finger at the amorphous class of the Rich who destroyed their future, by destroying their future with their own hubris. A plan that's easy enough to communicate in one of the few thousand Twitter threads that popped up as soon as $GME started getting traction. Easy enough to follow through on, throw a bunch of cash that wasn't growing anyway into it just to believe in the long arm of justice. Throw in some Musk and crying billionares to keep the train steamin'.
Cue billionaires crying because the wrong people are getting rich. A friend of a friend is actually hit badly by this! Can you imagine them picking something in my portfolio? Let's gear up the scare tactics and make Very Important Calls with Very Important People to put an end to these plebs. Let me call up that guy we lost to those Robinhood losers. He can buy us some time, for sure.
We have a stock market that has still ignored the largest health crisis since WW2. We have economists screaming recession for the last eighteen months. We have a market that has done nothing but radicalize, on the flimsiest of economic foundation, for the past decades. We have books left and right telling us how close we got to a meltdown a decade ago.
And now have Bed, Bath & Beyond going places. I'm not saying generations to come will learn Gamestop and Lehman in the same breath? But it's not unlikely.