Thursday, January 1, 2009

Just Blow Up Another One

After the bursting of the Internet and housing bubbles, I think we're done with bubbles for a while.
Eugene Robinson. "The Year of Madoff"
I suspect that "a while" will turn out to be shorter than Barack Obama's first term in office. Investors, looking for ways to recoup their losses after the disaster that was 2008, will be on the lookout for the next can't-miss economic opportunity, and will be just as blind to the patently unsustainable nature of the next bubble as they have been to the previous ones. We'll either hear a chorus of "this time it's different," and/or "last time, the problem was those crooks/idiots that were running the show." And people will want to believe it. Including regulators, who will helpfully look the other way. So investors will pile on, some people will make an absolute fortune, things will get wildly out of control, the system will detonate spectacularly and then everyone will express wonderment that we've brought yet another disaster down upon our heads.

A real change will require a painful reorganization and restructuring of the American economy. And if there's one thing that we, as a nation, have demonstrated time and again, it's a very low tolerance for pain.

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