Zero Hedge is a blog that is supposed to be focused on the financial markets. However, it is important to note that its reputation is controversial at best, not least because it spreads a number of financial theories that are considered to be either conspiratorial or flat-out wrong by most economists. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Zero Hedge:
1. Its Writers Post Under the Pseudonym of Tyler Durden
The in-house writers for Zero Hedge post under the shared pseudonym of Tyler Durden. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, it refers to the Fight Club narrator’s hallucination, who is one of the co-founders of the titular Fight Club. Said novel was very popular with a certain subset of young American men in the 1990s, meaning that the choice of name was wholly unsurprising.
2. Founder Has Been Barred from the Securities Industry
In 2009, it was revealed that the founder of Zero Hedge was a man named Daniel Ivandjiiski, who was born in Bulgaria but had been educated in the United States. It is interesting to note that Ivandjiiski had once been a hedge fund trader. However, he was barred from the securities industry by FINRA in 2008 because he had been caught engaging in insider trading, which is a huge no-no in the field.
3. Has a Reputation for Being a Bear
Zero Hedge has a reputation for being a bear, meaning that it tends to have a negative opinion on the overall course of the economy as a whole. In fact, the blog is so consistently bearish that there are those who call it a permabear.
4. Believes in the Austrian School
One of Zero Hedge’s most noticeable choices is its belief in the Austrian School of economics, which is named thus because it sprung up in late 19th and early 20th century Vienna. There are small bits and pieces of the Austrian School that has been incorporated into mainstream economics, but for the most part, it is seen as being heterodox for very good reasons. For example, the Austrian School rejects the use of mathematical modeling, which is perhaps unsurprising when it is less than enthusiastic about empirical evidence as a whole.
5. Has Other Conspiratorial Views About Finance
With that said, a belief in the Austrian School is far from being Zero Hedge’s sole conspiratorial view when it comes to finance. For example, it thinks that central banks are intervening in markets on a frequent basis for the purpose of propping up prices. Likewise, it thinks that US investment banks are frontrunning the US Federal Reserve.
6. Loves Personalized Attacks
Content-wise, Zero Hedge is famous for its personalized attacks on finance professionals that it doesn’t like. For proof, consider the fact that it contains hundreds and hundreds of articles directed towards figures such as the commodity analyst Dennis Gartman and the economist Paul Krugman. This doesn’t mean hundreds and hundreds of articles directed towards them in total, this means hundreds and hundreds of articles directed towards each of them.
7. Has Been Accused of Taking Other People’s Research
Zero Hedge has been accused of taking other people’s research, adding its own slant to the interpretation, and then publishing it on its own without permission. This has happened to both Merrill Lynch’s chief economic David Rosenberg and Morgan Stanley.
8. Claimed Up to 40 Writers
At one point in time, a contributor claimed that up to 40 writers could be writing under the Tyler Durden pseudonym. However, when a Seeking Alpha writer named Colin Lokey came out to the public about his involvement in 2016, he revealed that there were just three writers using the pseudonym including himself.
9. Lokey Criticized Profit Motive
Lokey criticized the profit motive that drove Zero Hedge’s writing, which the writers’ very luxurious lifestyle. He saw it as being particularly deceptive considering the blog’s use of an anti-capitalist, anti-establishment figure, which played an important role in attracting that crowd to the blog’s readership.
10. Lokey Criticized Support of Authoritarian, Autocratic Governments
Besides that, Lokey also criticized Zero Hedge for its support of authoritarian, autocratic governments. On a related note, this is one of the reasons that some people see Zero Hedge as being affiliated with the alt right.