The chart below shows how many quotes it takes to get $10,000 worth of stock traded in the U.S. for any point in time during the trading day over the last 4 years. Higher numbers indicate a less efficient market: it takes more information to transact the same dollar volume of trading. Quote traffic, like spam, is virtually free for the sender, but not free to the recipient. The cost of storing, transmitting and analyzing data increases at a higher rate than its rate of growth: that is, a doubling of data will cost significantly more than twice as much.

This explosion of quote traffic relative to its economic value is accelerating. Data for September 13, 2011 is the thicker red line that snakes near the high. There is simply no justification for the quote traffic that underlies this growth. Only the computers generating this traffic benefit when they successfully trick other computers or humans into revealing information, or executing trades. This is not progress. Progress is almost always accompanied by an acceleration in efficiencies. This is completely backwards.

And to anyone who might say: "To my knowledge there's been no proof shown that high-frequency trading has been detrimental.", we'd like to submit this as exhibit A. We think that a 10-fold increase in cost would be considered "detrimental" by most business people.