Following the collapse of Livedoor Co. and the arrest of its founder, Takafumi Horie, there were the usual complaints from people who had lost a lot of money when the company’s stock price fell. Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them. They perhaps need to be reminded that buying stock is not an “investment,” as people imagine and as the business world tries to persuade us. It’s a gamble.

If I bet on a horse and it lost, I’d look pretty ridiculous complaining and asking for my money back. Yet private “investors” seem to expect the returns of investment without accepting the risk. Let’s also not forget that, in Japan as much as anywhere else in the world, business is rife with malpractice and corruption. Barely a week goes by without some scandal coming to light, leading to apologies, arrests and plunging share prices. I would no more gamble on an illegal, fixed fight than I would “invest” in stock.

peter sidell

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