picture from freefoto.com
An illustrative comparison between memberships at the Chicago Mercantile Exhcange and Chicago Taxi medallions. For ease, the comparisons listed are between a full CME B-1 membership which allows trading in any pit, member margin rates and the lowest member fee rates in any legacy CME products. The CME B-1 membership is the highest priced membership at the CME Group by almost double the cost of other memberships.
CME B-1 last trade: $560,000
Chicago Taxi Medallion last sale: $182,000
Number of CME B-1s: 625
Number of Chicago Taxi Medallions outstanding: 6,726 (this is recent as of link but varies slightly upward)
Monthly lease cost of CME B-1s newest leases: $1850/month
Monthly lease cost of Chicago Taxi: $2000/month approximately from $500/week drivers tell me
Income for CME B-1 user: varies
Income for Chicago Taxi driver according to U of I survey: $4.38/hour
Granted there are other details which aren't touched upon but it's clear that stacked side by side, it would seem that more economic opportunity lies in a Chicago Taxi Medallion than a CME B-1 membership which is pretty sad. I have a lot of reasons why the CME B-1 and other seats are lacking, mostly because of what I believe is a coordinated devaluation by the exchange management. The pit is pretty much dead so this shouldn't be seen as a ode to that but the memberships are still important in the electronic market and ought to be valued higher. A more accurate comparison would be between a CME B-3 (IOM) membership which trades closer to that of a medallion but the result is just as stark.