Can Meme Stocks Shift the Economy in Favor of the Little Guy?

Meme stocks creat paradigm shift economy

The financial system has been turned on its head in the past few months with the rise of what has been named “meme stocks.” But is this grassroots movement of regular everyday investors a passing trend? Or could they really transform the way our economy works going forward?

“Meme stocks,” called such because they are ordinary stocks fueled by people through social media, can spike in value based on the zeitgeist and not the fundamentals of the companies they represent, and as a result can often be highly volatile. Made famous by the popular subreddit r/wallstreetbets, this is truly a grassroots movement.

But even with the volatility that comes with these stocks, investors are not shying away from them. Many investors are doubling down, despite warnings from financial institutions, or perhaps in spite of them. But what is driving the popularity of meme stocks, and why do they continue to grow contrary to what markets dictate?

Zeus Yiamouyiannis, author of “Transforming Economy: From Corrupted Capitalism to Connected Communities,” explains:

“Well the first thing I think is the larger social phenomenon of the little guy getting screwed, and the big guy rigging the game. And it has never been any more rigged and the concentration of wealth has never been more dramatic, and so what happens is it creates this groundswell of desire to strike back at an unfair system, to strike back at these profiteers, and to win one for the little guys.”

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Could Plants Be the Petroleum Alternatives We've Been Waiting For?

alternative fuel

Running our cars on corn and used cooking oil sounded like a novel prospect in the early aughts when oil prices spiked. And though it didn’t take off as expected, that doesn’t mean that biofuels are dead. Now, in addition to developing bio-diesel, scientists are working on creating more efficient petroleum alternatives from plants and other renewable sources that could become commercially viable, without competing with food crops.

Are Biofuels Still Worth It?

A universal switch to electric vehicles and a complete abandonment of fossil fuels would be ideal for the planet, but since that’s not going to happen anytime soon, the development of petroleum alternatives mixed with gasoline seems to be one way to incrementally phase out fossil fuels. But with the massive grip the oil industry has on the global energy economy, those steps have been slow and met with a lot of resistance.

Biodiesel has been around for several decades now, though most of the commercially used fuel is blended with traditional diesel. And while B100, or pure biodiesel fuel, is typically compatible with most engines, it isn’t sold everywhere.

There have also been hurdles in its implementation with regulating emissions and ensuring engine compatibility, but in the U.S. the biggest hurdle has been the price. Diesel has been taxed heavier than regular petroleum, making diesel engines less common in the U.S. compared to other countries.

Biodiesel is a much cleaner fuel source, as it’s carbon emissions are offset by the growth of the plants, like soybean, used as the fuel source. The only emission it produces more of is nitrogen oxide, though more recent vehicles have implemented filters to curb NOx almost entirely.

For blends of biodiesel such as B5 or B20, the amount of hydrocarbon pollution is equivalent to the amount of non-biodiesel petroleum in the blend. Though it’s better than nothing, the jump to B100 would result in an estimated 74 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Making this jump would require sweeping policy changes, but for now the good news is that biodiesel production has been steadily on the rise, though it still only accounts for about 5 percent of all transportation energy sources.

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