Issue: December 08/February 09
Spare a thought for South Africans who’d emigrated to the US because they couldn’t bear the thought of living under a black president.
Not everybody is anguished about the market. As a friend finds: “I’m now in much the same position as people who’ve been saving.”
Remarks another, responding to advice that this is the time to pick up bargains: “I would buy cheap, if only I had the money.”
At least these days, when you see a 25-year old driving a Porsche, it’s easier to know whether he’s a shares trader or a drugs dealer.
Know the difference between a market crash and a divorce?
By now you’ve probably heard the one about the fellow whose cheque was returned by his bank, marked “insufficient funds”. To which the customer responded: “Me or you?”
Some things don’t change. Way back in the 19th century, when none could have dreamed of the pay packages on Wall Street, author and editor Ambrose Bierce described a corporation thus: “An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”
It can be hell, in the current market, to write for a quarterly. Stuff has to be prepared a few weeks in advance of deadline, and have longevity. That’s no problem, except when a consensus of experts overpowers individual instinct. Unless you’re Warren Buffet, you’re considered nuts if you’re right too soon.
A year ago, TT was to publish an article with the brilliantly original introduction: “If you’re to panic, panic first.” But, during the interregnum, prices stabilised and the article was shredded.
How it’s regretted now. Not that anybody would have panicked, of course. It was much easier to bask in the warm glow of what Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch were telling us.
Please, Lord, just one more bubble . . .