Home Money Meet the foul-mouthed, left-wing, working-class former city merchant named Gary, who is gaining tens of thousands of followers on YouTube by claiming HE has the formula for a fairer economy.

Meet the foul-mouthed, left-wing, working-class former city merchant named Gary, who is gaining tens of thousands of followers on YouTube by claiming HE has the formula for a fairer economy.

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Gary Stevenson grew up poor in the shadow of Canary Wharf

As he tells it, the story of Gary Stevenson, a foul-mouthed, left-wing, working-class geezer and self-proclaimed YouTube economics guru, is a story worthy of a modern-day Charles Dickens. The 37-year-old socialist, who claims to have the formula for a fairer economy, says he made so much money in the City that he never needs to work again.

He also claims to offer his financial wisdom for free, although his recent best-selling memoir, found on coffee tables across trendy Islington, is said to have earned a six-figure advance.

His YouTube channel Garyseconomics, which has 229,000 subscribers, and where he shares his assessment of the economy, is free.

“I’m not here because I’m a good person, I’m here because I’m a good economist and I don’t want this damn country I grew up in to go down in shit.” ** Toilet king », he rants, in a typical observation of her work.

It’s not John Maynard Keynes. But Stevenson, who often sports a pom-pom hat and scarf, is convinced that he is right, while other, more respected academic figures are woefully wrong. He predicts, for example, that unless politicians address wealth inequality and the lack of affordable housing, many members of the middle class will fall into poverty.

Gary Stevenson grew up poor in the shadow of Canary Wharf

That is why he calls for a wealth tax or rules that force the rich to spend more, which would mean they would pay more VAT.

But his views have received criticism for being overly simplistic, lacking nuance and not fully developed.

Part of his appeal to his young, gullible followers on YouTube, who enjoy his dubious pearls of economic wisdom, is his impeccable working-class pedigree.

According to Stevenson, he achieved wealth through his own ability.

Her childhood, in Ilford, east London, was so hard, she says, that there were times when she barely had any clothes apart from her school uniform.

Stevenson, compact, with a shaved head and a gym tone, is the son of a mailman who revels in his Artful Dodger-style personality.

He grew up in a terraced house with a railway line running through the backyard, but more importantly, from which he could see the enormous wealth of the city.

‘We were poor. But being in East London we were able to see the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf illuminated at night. “It was in our territory, it seemed like it could be ours.”

He was expelled from Ilford County High School aged 15 for dealing drugs (offloading £3 worth of cannabis to a classmate) and could easily have followed a downward path. But instead, Stevenson’s life took an unexpected turn.

Thanks to his super-sharp brain, he secured a university place at the London School of Economics, despite his expulsion from primary school.

From there he went to a trading desk at Citibank, where he made obscene amounts of money, very quickly.

In his moving memoir, The Trading Game, Stevenson paints a vivid picture of cocaine-using traders who represent almost everything that is wrong with the capitalist system. On his first day at Citibank, at the start of the 2008 global financial crisis, Stevenson arrived not dressed and boots, but in a tracksuit with a rhino logo and Leyton Orient Football Club socks. Raised as a Mormon by his parents, he began to question the religion’s teachings. He later admitted to his skepticism about everything except his own intellect.

Far from being intimidated by his humble origins, at Citi he viewed the elegant economists and bankers who ruled with supreme contempt.

“The rich expect the poor to be stupid,” he says. “The fanciest kids from the fanciest schools in the nicest suits. I decided to show them that we’re not all stupid, us kids in tracksuits.” In early 2009, during his first year as a trader, he earned a £13,000 bonus.

A year later, aged just 23, he had raised up to £395,000. After that she earned unspecified millions.

By 2011, he says he had become the bank’s most successful trader; in fact, the best operator in the world. Former colleagues deny it.

Kent Bray, Stevenson’s former colleague at Citi, says: ‘Gary was a good trader, but not the best. He didn’t do it long enough.

But despite the money, he was not happy.

One reason, he says, is that the so-called experts he worked with were very poor in their primary responsibility of forecasting upcoming interest rate movements.

Stevenson believes he can see what other economists cannot.

Unlike his public school-educated rivals, he believes his background means he has one foot in the real world. After the financial crisis, most economists assumed that consumer confidence and spending would soon soar again.

Stevenson, however, describes how he returned to Ilford and saw friends struggling to pay their mortgages.

So he bet against the recovery and, he claims, made a fortune.

A recent post on X (formerly Twitter), where he has 67,400 followers, smacks of disdain.

“Statistics are important, but having studied economics for 20 years, I know that a good economist can usually come up with a statistic to support anything,” he says.

And unlike some of his womanizing colleagues, Stevenson never embraced the good life, unable to completely turn his back on his Mormon upbringing.

Instead of Porsche and Rolex, he bought an apartment (but without furniture) and a bicycle with which he rode to work before dawn.

His experience at Citi, he says, convinced him that there were fundamental flaws in the economy and society. He argues that low interest rate policies implemented after the global financial crisis allowed the rich to get richer by buying stocks and shares and bigger houses. The poor, in turn, became poorer.

“I think the story of the modern economy over the last 15 years is basically a terminal cancer being misdiagnosed as a series of seasonal colds,” he says.

Trading, Stevenson says, gives him insight into how the world works.

‘For me, trading is like watching the weather forecast. Stopping trading would be like stopping watching the news. Like it’s the only way I know. It’s like the world reveals itself.’

Stevenson burned out and left Citi at the age of 27, stating that he had earned enough to never have to make money again.

He enrolled to obtain a doctorate at Oxford University, but, by his own account, became disillusioned.

Not everyone is as convinced as he is of Stevenson’s brilliance.

Some online critics describe his views as “immature”, while others accuse him of wanting to one-up other working-class kids with ambitions to make it in the City.

His YouTube posts are certainly provocative, with titles like: “why growth is stupid” and “the illusion of improvement.”

They may be flashy, but they add little to the serious debate about how to improve the lives of ordinary people.

And there is certainly a contradiction in him turning so savagely against the City, when it was his own escape route, giving him the luxury of exposing his views.

His former colleague Kent Bray adds: “Gary makes everyone he worked with at Citi look amoral. In fact, many of us sympathize with his calls for a wealth tax, but we wonder how it could be implemented and whether the industry banking is the main problem.

“He never mentions that 50 percent of everything earned today in banking goes to the government in the form of taxes. I am grateful for my time in banking. “It’s painful for those of us trying to help him.”

Although Stevenson is highly critical of capitalism, it is interesting to note that he believes that the prices of gold, houses, and stocks will continue to rise. He professes not to hate the rich, being rich himself.

At least he urges his followers to stay away from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

And you can expect to hear a lot more from him. Although he is a hero to many Labor voters, he is warning Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves that he will criticize them if they take power.

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ALEX BRUMMER: Right questions, but wrong answers

Should we take Gary Stevenson seriously as an economist?

Before we get into it, it’s worth reflecting on the poor track record of that profession’s mainstream.

One criticism often heard against the Bank of England is that it is cursed by groupthink.

Despite employing armies of economists, the Old Lady’s analysis and decision-making on interest rate setting by the Monetary Policy Committee rarely departs from the conventional.

What the Bank and the Treasury urgently need are different and alternative voices. Could Gary Stevenson be the answer?

The foresight he showed in trading interest rate futures, which earned him huge bonuses on the trading desk at Citibank, may well provide a skill that policymakers lack.

Gary sometimes sounds like a rented leftist protester, but his analysis is not without value. His observation that an economist can usually find a statistic that justifies his argument is spot on. And Stevenson is right to identify growing inequality.

So he, along with many others, has identified some real problems. However, when it comes to solutions, you are on shakier ground.

Taxing wealth, as Gary advocates, is not the answer to inequality, as it discourages entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship.

Instead, the way forward should be to reduce corporate and transaction taxes, such as stamp duty, to stimulate greater growth, productivity and income.

Making the rich pay by raising consumption taxes isn’t such a bad idea, since much of their spending is a matter of choice.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is among those advocating closing VAT loopholes.

In his recent book, the British free-market economist Bernard Connolly finds himself in much the same place, although his arguments are much more eruditely formulated.

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