Forgetting Fear in Light of the Great Correction
Last week, we went to a bootmaker in Salta. The old man showed us a pair of red boots.
“Here, try these on. I made them for a big norte-americano like you.”
We put them on. But they were a tad too large. Then, we saw the initials on the order form.
“Who are you making these for?” we asked.
“A fellow named Casey. Dooglas Casey.”
Ah, now we know for sure. We could never fill Doug Casey’s boots.
We had dinner with our old friend before leaving for the ranch.
“The situation is worse than even I thought it was,” said Doug.
But Doug didn’t seem any more worried about it than we are.
This is the strange bifurcation in today’s financial world. Those of us who bother to think about it (both of us) believe there’s trouble coming. You can’t de-leverage a 60-year credit expansion in just a few months. You can’t correct a debt problem by adding more debt. And you can’t fix the private sector by beefing up the public sector.
Still, the ‘recovery’ has gone on for so long we’ve forgot what the crisis felt like. Remember in the fall of ’08…when stocks were crashing and Lehman went bust? Fear…and loathing. Deep down. Dreadful. Terrifying. That’s what people felt back then. It was the ‘end of the world.’ The day of reckoning had come…
Fear makes you do things you don’t want to do. It makes you cut expenses…cut projects…cancel vacations…trim…tighten… All the things you knew you should do but really don’t want to do.
But as soon as the fear subsides, you’re able to shelve those plans and get back to doing what you were doing before. Even if the causes for the fear are still there…and even if you understand them and see them clearly.
Probing our own feelings the other day, we realized that we were no longer afraid. As near as we can tell, the Great Correction is developing as it should. But the rebound has lasted longer and gone further than we expected. It’s taken the edge off fear. The Dow is over 11,100…bond yields are still near record lows…and more people believe the feds have mastered the art of crisis control than believe in the virgin birth.
But the risks are still there. Sooner or later they will express themselves.
Again, stay tuned.