If you thought 2020 was a strange year, 2021 seems to have gotten even stranger.
Nithin Kamath, who’s the founder of Zerodha, the largest brokerage in India, today said that he was disgusted that stock markets were up during the second wave. “I don’t know if I am the only one, but stock markets going up the last 3 days not caring about everything happening around us is quite disgusting. I know money shouldn’t care, but maybe it should. Maybe why today’s capitalism is broken?” he tweeted.
Now Zerodha enables millions of Indians to access the stock markets, and most of Kamath’s customers possibly make money when markets go up. Also, the vast majority of India’s companies aren’t directly affected by the current pandemic, and stock prices are forward looking, with millions of investors together deciding the prices at which they’ll buy and sell stocks. But Kamath’s view that stock prices must fall during a crisis — and it was disgusting that they didn’t — soon started getting lampooned.
“Something wrong with all those businesses who are continuing to operate all around us despite the grave crisis, they should also shut down as mark of solidarity. Then earnings will collapse and so will the market,” wrote investor Rajeev Mantri.
Other wondered why Kamath wasn’t putting his concern to practice, and temporarily shutting down Zerodha if he was so concerned. “So, sir, why not abandon/shutdown Zerodha and get out of this guilt-trip? Is it too difficult?” wrote another Twitter user.
“Start by closing your business intermittently to “show” solidarity. The very capitalism which is “broken”, is the reason for you to be able to reach where you are. Unnecessary and unasked virtue signaling,” wrote another user.
Others went a step further, and asked for Zerodha to be nationalized.
Some Twitter users thought that Nithin Kamath was engaging in virtue signaling in order to win brownie points with the public, and providing mere lip service to assert a fake and meaningless form of moral superiority. “No need to do such virtue signalling,” wrote another Twitter user.
Some people went as far as to that they were glad that they weren’t using Zerodha’s service. “Lol, Capitalism in India has barely begun. Stop importing Woke virtue signaling here. Glad I used Groww,” said another user.
It was an exceedingly strange tweet — stock markets are meant to be dispassionate measures of how investors value companies, and if people decided that they felt that the value of companies had increased during the second wave, a stock broker is possibly the last person who should be questioning the value of the judgement. Nithin Kamath did get trolled for his tweet, and as the reactions online show, his tweet also seems to have dented the confidence of many people who were using Zerodha for investing in the stock markets.