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One of the most perverse consequences of the central banks "saving the world" i.

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The problem is very few of us have the expertise and experience to be successful speculators, i. Here's the choice facing money managers of pension funds and individuals alike: The core middle-class asset is the family home. Back in the pre-financialization era pre , buying a house and paying down the mortgage to build home equity was the equivalent of a savings account, with the added bonus of the potential for modest appreciation if you happened to buy in a desirable region.

In the late s, the stable, boring market for mortgages was fully financialized and globalized, turning a relatively safe investment and debt market into a speculative commodity. We all know the results: Highly volatile speculative bubbles are notoriously humbling, even for experienced traders. Buy low and sell high sound easy, but when the herd is running and animal spirits are euphoric, only the most disciplined speculators and the lucky few who have to sell exit near the top of the bubble.

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The "safety" of investments in housing, commercial real estate, stocks, corporate bonds, emerging markets, etc. Not many participants knpw how to hedge housing, commercial real estate, etc.

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In an environment in which participants have been richly rewarded for believing that "the Fed has our backs," i. As a result, few participants are fully hedged. Most participants are buck-naked in terms of exposure to risk, and once the tide goes out we'll find out how few are hedged against bubbles popping. Financial markets are not linear by nature, so predictably rising markets are atypical. Financial markets are intrinsically non-linear, meaning that the dynamics are inter-connected and prone to asymmetric events in which a small input triggers an outsized output such as a crash.

In the fantasy world conjured by central bank stimulus, markets never go down and economies never slide into recession. Financial engineering has eradicated risk. But the dynamics interact in ways that can't be controlled. As inflation heats up globally, central banks are being forced to "normalize" interest rates and yields, and political pressure to stop saving banks and the super-wealthy is mounting.

All speculative markets deflate, slowly or suddenly, depending on the marginal buyers and sellers. The shakier the marginal participants, the greater the likelihood that the speculative bubble will pop with a suddenness that surprises the vast majority of participants.

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Take a look at stock valuations as a percentage of GDP, i. The national Case-Shiller housing price index: The Seattle Case-Shiller housing price index: The Dallas Case-Shiller housing price index: You get the point: Speculation drives valuations far beyond financial rationality because we're herd animals and unearned gains supercharge our greed, especially when we see all sorts of undeserving people making fortunes for doing nothing but running with the herd. So when the herd thunders off the cliff, most participants are trapped in the stampede.


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Very few exited far from the cliff, and even fewer will wait patiently for the dust to settle before moving cash into assets. Risk has a knack for hiding in plain sight. Few people look for it, and even fewer recognize it. The shopper Society Reader incorporates a variety of key works at the nature and evolution of patron society. Download PDF by H.

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  • But this I must forego, and it must suffice to say that 3 The upper member of the capital of a column, supporting the archi- trave. The next step is the demonstration that these value relationships will always lead to a price agio. This price agio will appear in an exchange transaction between workers and landowners on the one hand and capital-owning entrepreneurs on the other, as a discount from the money value of the full future marginal product of the original means of production. Or, if we separate the capitalist from the entrepreneurial function and consider the entrepreneur as a mere intermediary between the owners of original means of production and the capitalists, it will appear in the exchange transaction between the capitalists and the workers and landowners, repre- 23 Austrian Economics II EUGEN VON BOHM-BAWERK sented, so to speak, by the entrepreneurs, as a price agio on the subsistence fund advanced by the former, in other words, in the direct form of an interest rate.

    It is their individual services that satisfy our wants and that are directly valued, while the value of the good itself is merely the sum of these values; at any point of time, therefore, this value is the sum of the values of the services not yet 'taken from' it.