by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds
Basing one’s decisions on analogs from the past is entering a fool’s paradise of folly.
Like addicts who cannot control their cravings, financial analysts cannot stop themselves from seeking some analog situation in the past which will clarify the swirling chaos in their crystal balls. So we’ve been swamped with charts overlaying recent stock market action over 1929, 1987,2000 and 2008–though the closest analogy is actually the Oil Shock of 1973, an exogenous shock to a weakening, fragile economy.
But the reality is there is no analogous situation in the past to the present, and so all the predictions based on past performance will be misleading. The chartists and analysts claim that all markets act on the same patterns, which are reflections of human nature, and so seeking correlations of volatility and valuation that “worked” in the past will work in 2020.
Does anyone really believe the correlations of the past decade or two are high-probability predictors of the future as the entire brittle construct of fictional capital and extremes of globalization and financialization all unravel at once?