Is trading really a zero sum game?

I used to argue that unlike futures and options, the stock market is not a zero sum game. I would cite how an IPO could rise in price on the first day of trading and how the many shareholders made money the moment one share traded at a higher price. Or perhaps after a good earnings announcement, shares rocketed.

What changed my mind was when several people pointed out that stocks do not create money. The value of those shares was greater but that was notional wealth. If you paid $10k for the shares and they’re now worth $15k, it’s just a paper value. It’s no different than my telling you that the $50 watch on your hand is worth $2k. It’s just a notional number. You don’t achieve that $15k (shares) or that $2k until someone gives you that money in return. And then, his loss (the money) is your gain. It’s just the transfer of money.

Suppose the amount of money in the stock market was fixed. Shares would trade hands (along with the cash) and some would gain while others lost. The only difference from that hypothetical is that new money comes into the market and it simply repeats the process of exchanging shares for cash. It’s the perfect pyramid scheme.

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The Forex Game is a free game about the forex market which can be played from your favourite internet browsers. Forex Game is designed specially to act as a forex trading simulator which enables the average Joe in the street understand how the $6 trillion forex market works.

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