2009, Economics  -   3 Comments
Ratings: 7.85/10 from 20 users.

The crushing financial crisis of 2008 left countless laborers stranded on the edge of an uncertain future. For many, that sense of discord in the workforce began years earlier as technological innovations made a series of once lucrative jobs obsolete. The feature-length documentary Floored follows one group of workers that few might expect have also been hit hard by a changing labor landscape: floor traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

These risk-taking men and women reflected the aggressive personality of the city in which they worked. Cramped 10,000 deep onto an aptly named "pit", they bought and sold soybean and pork belly trades with a shrill frenzy that bordered on demonic possession. These traders lived on the high wire between ecstatic gains and bruising losses; it was the adrenaline of the hunt that united them.

But that was in 2007. Now the playing field has changed, and only 10% of those traders remain. The advent of computerized trading forever altered the nature of the business, and those who failed to adapt were no longer relevant. The film follows several of the old-school traders who were cast aside in the transition.

Having to risk their own money for the promise of untold fortunes, it wasn't uncommon for someone to lose their car, home or financial independence in the span of a minute. It happened to Jeff Ansani, a power trader who lost it all on Valentine's Day. A $150,000 loss left him financially incapacitated, and forced him to relocate his family into his parents' house. He now works as a floor clerk making $400 a week, and he tries to prepare his son on the business of trading in the modern world.

Kenny Ford feels adrift in a trading industry that cherishes computerized algorithms over interpersonal connection. He is filled with wistful nostalgia for a world where he once felt secure of his place. In the realm of digital trading, he feels akin to a fish trying to travel on dry land.

Through their stories and others, Floored evokes a deep sense of empathy for a generation left out in the cold.

Directed by: James Allen Smith

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6 years ago

@Ann T: As if this (and any other anomalous group, like govt) show men in general. Albeit mankind are not wise enough to toss the bum politicians out and see to it wise decent honorable men are running the show and telling the banksters to piss off.

@Blaise: A bit high and mighty don't you think? It is typical human inertia, resistance to change. Saw similar in coworkers when the personal computer was making its way into the workplace. They weren't "less intelligent" people, heck they worked in a research facility. Some people are just creatures of habit. Remember this when (or if) you get old enough to wish a bit for the good old days. I have a brother who resisted computers all his life. That can be more intelligent no matter how you slice it.

Mixed feelings since some of these guys took my dough. On the other hand you have "the beast" a Goldman Sachs computer co-located next the NYSE house computer, only bigger and faster; basically a license to steal and do they ever, seeing the orders coming in. Then there are the other outfits trying to game the system at the expense of everyone else. The SEC, like any govt agency, it isn't there to protect you. If you trade: if you buy and sell a stock, commodity, or futures instrument then you are trading, NOT investing; then you are volunteering to jump into a alligator pit. So, you shouldn't feel too sorry for yourself. Having empathy for others demonstrates that you are not just another cold blooded alligator waiting for some prey. Possibly a warm blooded type wanting to get a sip.

"Investor" is an industry term to propagandize you into holding onto something longer than you should, so the big boys can leave you holding the bag. If you consider yourself a trader or a speculator, you would be more accurate and more likely to know your Exits before you Enter. If you don't, you will likely hold it while it plummets. A very common occurrence during the time period of this documentary.

It seems some guys were able to game or at least work the system via their contacts. Now it is the computers run by the cheaters, which was 70 percent of the trading on an average day some years ago, don't know if that has increased these days, who took over that shame.

There is no level playing field. You have to find an approach or method to make a profit despite all their traps and speed advantages, if you want to trade. Unless of course you are a lucky type that can launch your boat into a rising tide and have a knack for getting out of the water before the tide turns out whilst dodging sharks and alligators. Just realize that luck doesn't make for a good advisor to others since they won't have that same knack for getting out before their boat is in the mud and the alligators are crawling aboard.

6 years ago

Half these ignorant ***** are disgusting human beings. I love how they hate on the more intelligent people utilizing technology to their advantage and can't comprehend it so they attempt to tear it down. Welcome to the new age, your time is over and the more intelligent have one, as they rightfully should.

Ann T Gravitee
Ann T Gravitee
6 years ago

This documentary’s message: there should be no doubt; the homo sapiens experiment failed to produce wise men.