Let me be blunt. In one way, or another, some aspect of the financial markets has always been rigged. And while the abuses described in "Flash Boys" are NEWS, they are not NEW!
Read MoreWatch the fight that stopped trading on the NYSE
These types of abuses, manipulations and potentially corrupt practices, are as old as Wall Street, itself.
By now everyone reading this column is, more or less, familiar with the book, an instant best-seller no doubt, and HFT … the practice of using powerful, ultra-high speed computers to make tons of money by, effectively, trading faster and "smarter" than anyone else in the marketplace, from sophisticated money managers to the average investor.
The advantages involve being able to "co-locate" your computer next to the exchange's computer, giving it an almost osmotic ability to suss out order flow and jump ahead of others wishing to trade. (The exchange, by the way, charges hefty co-location fees and, itself, profits from the practice.) Other practices include "flash orders," "blinking," and the like, which are effectively phony orders that allow some HFT players to fool people into thinking the market is going one way, draw them in, and then trade against them. The former, if done by a human, is called "front-running," the latter, called "painting the tape," both of which are illegal, unless a computer does it.
But in many ways, high-frequency trading is not new, nor are the many market manipulations that have disadvantaged the little guy, ever since stocks and bonds were first traded on Wall Street in the late 1700s.