As you have probably and unfortunately heard by now, Elon Musk is moving to presumably rented accommodation somewhere in or around Austin, Texas. The Lone Star State, he clearly believes, is nicer to billionaires like himself than California, is certainly more amenable to killing its citizens to allow people like Elon Musk to make even more money, and also won’t tax that extra money nearly as assiduously as it would be in Silicon Valley. Plus, Tesla’s raising money now to build a new plant in the area.

But maybe Musk should have looked even further afield, to a place where billionaires are given even freer rein than even the most regulation-averse American jurisdiction. Where it is explicit government policy to, as Musk believes it should, protect businesses no matter what. Where Musk’s greatest legal fantasy—to see David Einhorn brought up on capital charges—is no dream, but a burgeoning reality: South Korea.

Investors who break rules that outlaw so-called naked short selling could be imprisoned for at least a year or have to cough up financial penalties of up to five times any profit they make on a trade, South Korea’s top regulator the Financial Services Commission said on Thursday…. The beefed-up punishments come after regulators in August extended a ban on all short selling by another six months….

“Sending someone to prison for short selling sounds extreme,” said Albert Yong, head of Petra Capital Management, a South Korean hedge fund. “It is nonsense that they still maintain a short-selling ban in the booming market. Stocks like Tesla have gone up so much despite heavy short selling.”

Yong inadvertently brings to the fore another possible reason to outlaw all short-selling under penalty of death or dismemberment: To save these poor, misguided souls from themselves.

2020 is shaping up to be the worst year on record for some investors seeking to profit from share price declines.

A monthly index of short-selling hedge funds is down 32% this year through October, according to data provider Hedge Fund Research…. “It’s been painful, clearly,” veteran short seller Jim Chanos, who has been betting against Tesla for five years, said….

Of course, if Musk insists on staying in the United States rather than moving to his fourth home country, he does have one other tiny request of the authorities before they “get out of the way” and let him blow up rockets and solar panels and call his tequila whatever the fuck he wants to, after, of course, they break up Big Candy: Close down the business schools, even the non-fraudulent ones.

“I think there might be too many M.B.A.s running companies,” the Tesla Inc. chief executive said. “There’s the M.B.A.-ization of America, which I think is maybe not that great. There should be more focus on the product or service itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials.”

After all, he’s made do with just an undergraduate degree from Wharton, and is now the third-richest person in the world. Do the math.

South Korea threatens to jail short sellers under new rules [FT]
Short Sellers Got Crushed in 2020 as Tesla, Moderna Soared [Bloomberg]
Elon Musk Decries ‘M.B.A.-ization’ of America [WSJ]
Tesla Plans Stock Sale, Closing Year of Soaring Gains [WSJ]

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