Plato on retail Forex brokers – Guest Editorial

Paul Orford

Paul Orford offers a challenging and original interpretation of the famous Allegory of the Cave from Plato’s dialogue “The Republic”.

The following is a guest post by Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales at Inflyx.

Last Sunday while lying on the beach and watching my daughter splash around in the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, I placed my headphones in my ears and turned on a podcast discussing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Yes, I can suck the fun out of any day!).

If you are not aware, Plato wrote a dialogue called “The Republic” in which he tells the story of a group of people who live imprisoned in a cave.

The day-to-day life of the inhabitants mirrored that of our university dwellings in that they had no access to natural light, with damp walls and fungal societies slowly usurping the house!

They knew nothing of the outside world; the only things being viewed by the inhabitants were the shadows of things thrown up on the wall by the light of a fire. The cave-dwellers were fascinated by the reflections and shadows of animals, flowers and people, not understanding that they were not real. For the cave’s inhabitants, this was the sole reality known.

They argued that if you paid attention to the shadows you would succeed and go far in life, failing to comprehend that they were looking at the shadows of objects. Members of the cave-based society would talk about the shadowy objects enthusiastically and take pride in the wisdom they spread to each other.

One of the inhabitants left the cave and saw real light and animals in their true form: this changed his whole perception of reality. Stumbling back down the entrance to the cave, he tried to tell to his confused colleagues what he had seen. Despite enthusiastically trying to explain what a real tree or a rabbit is, the returning man did not impress his peers in the cave. Instead, they became increasingly sarcastic and then (like in most ancient Greek stories) they inevitably plotted to kill him.

Paul Orford

The Allegory of the Cave is an allegory for all enlightened people, whether they are arguing that the sun does not revolve around the earth or that we will not sail off the edge of the world if we go too far west. This is what all visionaries from every era can expect when they present truth to the unenlightened.

Can it also be said of this industry with the common copy-and-paste attitude to operating a broker? There is a similarity to the people in Plato’s cave. Is there a fear of offering something new or something which is not ‘canon’ when setting up a broker? Such a thing is often believed to result in ostracism from both a potential client base and Forex society.

However, the brave new worlds of crypto trading and blockchain technology are moving at an incredibly fast pace. Could it not be argued that MT4 brokers will inevitably have to have some form of exchange offering for them to survive?

By not being shackled with the antique retail trading platforms of yesteryear we can feel the sunlight on our faces much like the cave dweller in Plato’s Allegory. In the end, we all start out in a cave and are looking for a way out – some of us just take longer than others to find it!

Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in this article are strictly personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of FinanceFeeds’ team. FinanceFeeds does not provide investment advice and does not endorse investments in cryptocurrencies, crypto-assets, tokens, digital currencies and any activities associated with them, such as ICOs.

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