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Jim Miller: the Biggest Prediction Failure Was of the Financial Markets
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Smith college economist Jim Miller observes:

I think it was only a month ago that the stock market first dropped sharply, and that was also in part due to the brief Bernie Boom.

I sort of think that part of the problem was that the main throughlines of Trump Era news has been too interesting day to day for many people to want to change the subject to some new topic. For example, the Trump impeachment trial in the Senate didn’t end until February 12.

I’m less interested in partisan bickering than most, but still, I only managed to blog only once about coronavirus in January. Sorry about that.

 
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  1. How much coronavirus coverage is due to the fact that the liberal media has Biden on their hands and they’d rather change the subject?

  2. The Z Blog says: • Website

    “They” are not “us” and that is important to grasp here. “They” took care of themselves. The quiet rescue of the hedge funds through Fed intervention in the repo markets happened long before the current collapse. That started way back in September. That’s just one example of how “they” are really good at predicting stuff.

    The best and brightest do work in finance. They just work for them, not us.

    • Agree: Dieter Kief
    • Replies: @Neoconned
    , @Realist
  3. No; the biggest prediction failure was that of Donald Trump. How were the markets supposed to know the FDA and CDC were composed of morons and that Western and Chinese democracy are not so different?

    • Replies: @Realist
  4. Show me a society that can enforce a six foot social distance, and I’ll show you a man who can hawk a loogie seven.

    .

    Oh, O/T, I forgot to mention …

    • LOL: BenKenobi, Kronos
    • Replies: @Kolya Krassotkin
  5. Lugash says:

    The real failure was with the intelligence agencies. The Kung Flu has been the hot topic on /pol in 4Chan since mid January. The videos posted between then and mid February when the CCP clamped down showed a much bigger, much deadlier outbreak than the official numbers. I’d still assume that our intelligence agencies monitor what’s happening in China and should have picked this up.

    Steve Bannon was on it in February. If he was still in the administration getting briefings and had the Presidents ear maybe this could have been averted sooner. Instead he went to Jared.

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
  6. Thoughts says:

    But what is it that the French Virologist said?

    He said something along the lines of…when we look back…Coronavirus will be the easiest and cheapest respiratory illness to treat.

    First impressions tend to be the right ones.

    I was reading a lovely article in Dailymail about an Israeli Doctor working in Northern Italy who was telling everyone that they only had enough ventilators for under 60 year olds…but don’t worry…he made sure that people who were dying got to say Goodbye to their Families.

    Personally, I think this disease is easily preventable and treatable by those who want to prevent and treat it.

    Now if the doctors want you dead….well….ur up a creek aren’t ya

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. Andy says:

    The failure is not only of financial markets, but also of professional economists. Economists have published thousands of papers in the last years about all sort of fancy, mostly irrelevant subjects, but I doubt a single paper has been about how to manage an economy and prevent its total collapse during a global pandemic (a possibility that has been repeatedly warned by scientists)

  8. Ron Unz says:

    Well, I’ve never had a very high opinion of the financial markets, so I’m not too surprised by this failure.

    Meanwhile, I’m pleased that our webzine did cover the issue quite heavily, with seven articles or columns by the end of January, including three major ones:

    https://www.unz.com/topic/coronavirus/2020/01/

    https://www.unz.com/wwebb/bats-gene-editing-and-bioweapons-recent-darpa-experiments-raise-concerns-amid-coronavirus-outbreak/

    https://www.unz.com/article/was-the-2020-wuhan-coronavirus-an-engineered-biological-attack-on-china-by-america-for-geopolitical-advantage/

    https://www.unz.com/article/coronavirus-the-dark-side/

    But I’d have to admit virtually all of our attention—and my own as well—focused entirely on the Chinese side of the issue, and never really considered that there might be large outbreaks in the US or Europe. So it was really just a “foreign policy” issue.

    However, that’s probably not as ridiculous as it sounds. After all the SARS epidemic of the 2002/2003 hit East Asia hard, but never significantly spread here or to Europe. So most people probably vaguely assumed that SARS-2 would follow the same pattern:

    https://www.unz.com/article/was-coronavirus-a-biowarfare-attack-against-china/#comment-3775042

    • Agree: JMcG
  9. The market did not reflect the virus outbreak long enough for hedge funds and sophisticated players to unwind their positions and short the market.

    Bill Ackman of Pershing Square acknowledges that he shorted the market in late January.

  10. I don’t know why this lunatic efficient market hypothesis and its rationalist nonsense spread so much. I guess people want to believe in an omniscient oracle.

    Finance is about making a cheap buck, not seeing the future.

    • Replies: @Alexander Turok
  11. Neoconned says:

    Following 9/11 DARPA/The Pentagon tried to create a “terrorism prediction market”:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3072985/t/pentagon-kills-terror-futures-market/

    It was quietly killed by Congress because well….it kind of gave a financial incentive to evil and wacko ppl to carry out terrorist attacks and then profit financially from the fallout….

    https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/44/2/272/330878

    ^ ….anyway in the above there’s a paper regarding using financial prediction markets to predict pandemics….apparently it didnt work out so well….

    Anyway…

    @Steve: few months back you made a post about how the markets AREN’T necessarily that efficient. You noted as your example the stock market and/or bond rates of Russia during the Great War…..as you noted….”in a few months or weeks the Soviets were in control of Russia and NOBODY saw that coming much less the stupidity and short sightedness of the markets. Bond rates were stable WEEKS before Lenin was rushed into power.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  12. “I’m less interested in partisan bickering than most, but still, I only managed to blog only [sic] once about coronavirus in January. Sorry about that.”

    You needlessly used ‘only’ twice in one phrase.

    The word ‘only’ is a synonym for ‘once.’ Thus, it is redundant.

    If you sought to emphasize that you blogged one time about CoronaHoax, the correct phrase is ‘I managed to blog just once about CoronaHoax’.

    Steve, my boomer, please self-quarantine and slow down, perhaps employ an editor. The stress of CoronaHoax is obviously diminishing your mental acuity.

  13. BenKenobi says:
    @Lugash

    If he was still in the administration

    There’s a good chance I would be enlisted as a Space Marine right now.

  14. There have been a few courageous voices pointing out the house of cards this economy was built upon. For the most part they have been ignored. Artificially low interest rates, a boatload of fiat dollars gifted to the very architects of this latest bubble. Meanwhile the peanut gallery at places like CNBC plead with D.C to cut rates and create a stimulus package that will save the economy by which they mean the bloated corporations who have benefited from the criminal actions of the Federal Reserve and hedge funds. If we had true free-market capitalism, we would let these companies fail to make room for business men with vision and scruples to come in and revitalize these industries without asking taxpayers to foot the bill.

  15. trelane says:
    @Ron Unz

    So how’s that USA/Israel dropped a biological warfare weapon on China or Iran working out for you Ron? I noticed that cloudflare needs about 10 seconds to connect me to this site now.

    • Replies: @Charon
    , @Ron Unz
  16. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    “The word ‘only’ is a synonym for ‘once’. Thus it is redundant.”

    In the context of the commonly-used packet “only once,” the word “only” is an intensifier, not a synonym. Compare:

    “Once, when I was eight years old, I lied to my mother.”

    “Give me some credit! In this whole deposition, I lied only once!”

    English is a very plastic language.

    You should try writing it some time.

    • Thanks: Dieter Kief
    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  17. Hodag says:

    Due to posts here, I was a data point in the Good Judgement Project about five years back. I was terrible at it.

    Last week there was a call for veterans of the GJP to enter a COVID contest. They seemed to be seeking the superforcasters.

    I hope they do. If this thing is a DARPA moonshot type deal, the hope is 500 anonymous anons can actually make a good prediction, and we need all hands on deck.

    (BTW, I have not heard back, probably because I am terrible at predictions.)

  18. jason y says:

    to date, nothing much has happened that couldn’t have been predicted by knowing a few numbers from Wuhan and plugging them into a calculator. it was not rocket science: you only needed to know how exponents work. it was easy stuff. the data since then has been on the good side, pushing the distribution of “likely IFR” much lower across entire pop, so i’d hate to think what the market would have done had the most likely scenarios in January come to fruition (or maybe they can’t adjust for age or the possibility of localized superspread events in hospitals among the frail, so they think it has! who knows!)

    i know several people who made a fair bit of money buying put options on royal caribbean. they would have made more if they hadn’t assumed the market knew something they didn’t, but as it turns out, market participants can’t read.

    so, if markets can’t use daily growth rates to predict the spread of a virus a month in advance, what the hell can they predict? this is a clear refutation of the efficient market hypothesis, but we’ll no doubt read an article on marginal revolution in 3 months – i bet it has something to do with ”corona isn’t why the market fell, it was only a catalyst!” (it can’t predicting potential catalysts?) – explaining why that’s a smol brain obvious take and therefore false. economists never learn.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Kratoklastes
  19. Any thoughts on how your president is handling this situation?

  20. Anon[369] • Disclaimer says:

    that the stock market first dropped sharply, and that was also in part due to the brief Bernie Boom

    “That’s weird. The ocean receded so quickly out of the blue.”

    When you’re at the beach, and the ocean eerily recedes all of a sudden, run like hell to high ground!

  21. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    “English is a very plastic language.

    You should try writing it some time.”

    I scored an 800 on the SAT verbal in 1993.

    I am a published author. And I mean published on dead trees.

  22. Andy says:

    Somewhat off topic – but still on the subject of Coronavirus, one of the talking points of the open borders crowd has been how western cuisine is horribly bland, so we need to bring a lot of immigrants to give us their wonderful vibrant exotic food. Considering how this virus is believed by most scientists to have jumped to humans in one of those horrific “wet markets” where all sort of critters are sold, and some eaten alive, maybe we should reconsider this argument. In my case, I prefer plain white bread any time to bat soup

  23. Neoconned says:
    @The Z Blog

    Isn’t this their 2nd(3rd?) bailout?

    There was TARP….then the top secret Fed bailout that Bloomberg(magazine not the Mayor who owns it) had to litigate using FOIA requests to get the data:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/company/press/bloomberg-uncovers-the-feds-secret-liquidity-lifelines/

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-08-22/morgan-stanley-at-brink-of-collapse-got-107b-from-fed

    ….anyway like that Jeremy Piven show “Wisdom of the Crowd”….several prediction markets have tried to predict everything from pandemics to terror attacks to elections w at best so so results….the “Wisdom of the crowd” doesn’t seem to be so wise after all does it?

    That being said you are right….they work “for them, NOT for us….”

  24. Alfa158 says: • Website

    The wealth management firm we use sometimes has analysts from these firms come in from NY and give market analysis presentations to clients. These analysts have always been uniformly honest that neither they, nor anyone else in the industry, knows what the markets will do short term. There are too many factors, including automated trading and human psychology involved. The only thing they know is that the markets are a way of sharing in economic activity without starting your own company, and that over multi-year spans you make money by having a balanced portfolio and sticking it through.
    Their job is to react when these things happen (markets drop like an elevator), move funds to cash and be prepared to pick up bargain equities that will produce big returns when years or months in the future it recovers (markets go up like an escalator). (These particular guys are not a hedge fund so they aren’t allowed to also short equities.)

    Coincidentally, the last presentation was the week the markets started the collapse and the analyst bluntly stated neither he nor anyone else has the faintest idea where and when the markets will bottom out. His job is to make money out it over the long term so, we can all either ride it out with them or cash out.

    BTW, this guy was typical of some of the Master of the Universe types Steve has talked about knowing. I had a chance to talk to him briefly before he had to head for the red-eye back home. Scarily smart, intense, motivated and focused. Besides working monster hours and having three kids, when he decided he had to lose weight and get in shape, his solution was to somehow also find the time to get into good enough condition that he won his age category in this:
    http://www.uberman1.com/#our-story-1

    I feel like such a slug.

  25. DJ says:

    “We pay $$$ to our best and brightest to work in finance, and prediction is a huge part of their job. They let us down.”

    This is just asinine. “We” don’t pay them. They didn’t let “us.” down. Whether they let down the people who do pay them is between them.

    We’re free-riders. The market is the prediction. The best and brightest are only a small part of that prediction. Everybody missed it. “What’s the probability of martial law being imposed in New York State before April 1, 2020?” I think “low” would have been a very reasonable answer until a minute ago.

    • Agree: Muggles
  26. Mercer says:

    Steve don’t feel sorry. You are not an MD or a biologist. An RN told me two weeks ago it was no bigger than the flu. She was far from alone in down playing the risk among health care professionals.

    I think the financial world should not be surprised that something could bring a sharp downturn. No bull market lasts forever and the 2009 to February 2020 rise was far longer than average.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  27. Charon says:
    @trelane

    We covered the moon landing too. Granted, we covered it by denying that it ever happened, but we covered it.

    • LOL: JMcG
  28. Anonymous[715] • Disclaimer says:
    @jason y

    to date, nothing much has happened that couldn’t have been predicted by knowing a few numbers from Wuhan and plugging them into a calculator. it was not rocket science: you only needed to know how exponents work. it was easy stuff. the data since then has been on the good side, pushing the distribution of “likely IFR” much lower across entire pop.

    Please show your work.

    • Replies: @Driveby Commenter
  29. Charon says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Bragging online about your test scores–anonymously yet–is its own special category of tragic.

    • LOL: Muggles
    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
    , @DJ
  30. Ironically, in this crash trendy growth stocks have held up pretty well, while many dividend stocks and unfashionable resource companies have been hit hard. Who would have predicted that Netflix (with its eye-watering price to earning level) would still be doing okay at his point? That’s leaves lots of investors with the feeling that this is still just a slightly larger 9/11 style crisis and that another big share market correction may be coming quite soon after.

    That’s probably why stock prices have started falling below those seen in previous crisis-driven crashes (which usually only result in 15-20 percent drops). It’s the fear of a second crash getting those who try and get back in too early.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  31. Ron Unz says:
    @trelane

    So how’s that USA/Israel dropped a biological warfare weapon on China or Iran working out for you Ron? I noticed that cloudflare needs about 10 seconds to connect me to this site now.

    Yes, we’ve been getting a lot more (possible) DDoS attacks lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from people “deeply invested” in the conventional Coronavirus narrative. But CloudFlare seems to handle them just fine.

    Meanwhile, we’ve been getting record-setting traffic over the last couple of months, though for these very unfortunate reasons. According to Alexa, we’re now around 60% ahead of the venerable New Republic, which totally astonishes me.

    And perhaps for related reasons, traffic to Takimag and The American Conservative seems to have totally collapsed during the same period. I suspect the problem is that when you mostly say the same things as Breitbart or the NYT, you’re just competing with Breitbart and the NYT, and they’re far stronger.

  32. Enochian says:

    The failure’s been right across the western world, not just America – many countries are actually doing even worse. Maybe it’s western culture as a whole, or the international institutions like the WHO.

  33. @Monsieur le Baron

    There’s a lot of solid evidence behind the EMH. You can make a cheap buck, many cheap bucks, by seeing the future. This incentivizes it, unlike most aspects of the human experience which incentivize playing political games.

    Granted, I did lose a lot of money this year though not as much as most investors, since I sold my stocks in early February and bought them back in early March.

    • Replies: @Monsieur le Baron
  34. Kronos says:
    @Ron Unz

    So most people probably vaguely assumed that SARS-2 would follow the same pattern.

    Keep in mind most industrialized societies have been complacent for the last 70+ years. These quarantine orders haven’t been issued since TB and Polio were still nationally active.

    With the exceptions of minor clusters in the Third World and the global flu (which is priced in every year for flu vaccination companies) modern pandemics are (were) more placed in the realm of hard science fiction.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
  35. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    “I am a published author.”

    Well well well. I guess that means you can bend the English language with your MIND!

    And, er, what exactly did you publish… a biography of Margaret Dumont?

  36. Len says:

    OT:

    ‘Everybody in Japan wears a mask’

    Watch this live webcam from Tokyo and judge for yourself.

    https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/japan/tokyo/dogenzaka-shibuya.html

    • Replies: @CJ
    , @Foreign Expert
  37. “but still, I only managed to blog only once about coronavirus in January. Sorry about that.”

    It happens. January seems so long ago now. Also, that’s one more time than you blogged about the passing last year of a major Presidential candidate, Ross Perot.

  38. @Kronos

    Would that this were the fictional Andromeda Strain.

    That microorganism killed a whole town of people by chewing up their blood vessel linings so they clotted nearly instantly, with sole survivors being a homeless guy who drank Sterno and a screaming baby, both of whom got their blood pH out of range for the thing to thrive.

    The Andromeda Strain mutated rapidly, from a blood vessel lining chewer to something that ate silicone pressure seals. This killed the pilot of a Phantom jet that overflew the outbreak area for photo recon, not from anything that happened to the pilot but from the bug chewing through his oxygen hose.

    It also chewed through the seals of the Wildfire laboratory, tripping the atom-bomb auto-destruct, which the Wildfire scientists furiously tried to stop because the Andromeda Strain would have mutated into something even worse than chewing artifical rubber oxygen hoses.

    Would that the Corona Virus would mutate into something that chewed oxygen hoses instead of the insides of a person’s lungs?

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    , @Kronos
  39. SFG says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    Thing is, to use that, you have to be willing to reveal your real identity, and that’s a real bad idea for most of us on here who don’t have Unz’s net worth.

  40. SFG says:
    @Ron Unz

    New Republic ain’t what it used to be, though. As you’re probably aware it went under, got bought out, and is now just SJW clickbait. The days of long essays on literature are long since over. I used to read the thing back in the late nineties. Was kind of fun–even if not exactly my thing it was nice to know the Serious Literary types were still out there. Now it’s all woke virtue-signalling, and who cares?

    But yeah, I’ve started taking people on this site a lot more seriously since this coronavirus thing hit.

    Truth be told, though, a lot of the more far-out conspiracy stuff I find unconvincing. Coronavirus being a US biowarfare attack on China strikes me as a little farfetched given that it just requires too many steps to work–you have to sneak the thing into China, *and* it has to do more damage to China than you. Given how much more effective Asian societies have been at fighting this thing, it seems to have backfired severely. Of course, this would hardly be the first time this has happened with US covert operations, so who knows…

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  41. anonymous[424] • Disclaimer says:

    There was a 1 month period in between the lockdown in Wuhan and the second wave (Iran, Italy, and South Korea) taking off. During that time several places neighboring China ranging in development from HK to Vietnam looked like they had it in the bag and made it look fairly simple for everybody to contain the virus. It might be contagious but if public authorities were expecting it then it shouldn’t be hard to stop. I think that must have been the thinking. But how the West ended up faring was as shocking as the British capitulation at Singapore.

  42. Mr. Anon says:
    @Neoconned

    It was quietly killed by Congress because well….it kind of gave a financial incentive to evil and wacko ppl to carry out terrorist attacks and then profit financially from the fallout….

    And, after all, that’s the job of the Government and the MIC.

    • Agree: Neoconned
  43. Corvinus says:
    @RichardTaylor

    “How much coronavirus coverage is due to the fact that the liberal media has Biden on their hands and they’d rather change the subject?”

    Zero. Next question.

    Speaking of changing the subject, Mr. Sailer, I couldn’t help but NOTICE your doubling down on caginess. Of course you are interested in partisan bickering, it’s just not the right time nor place to showcase it on your blog. I do thank you for indirectly responding to my inquiries.

  44. Corvinus says:
    @Ron Unz

    “Yes, we’ve been getting a lot more (possible) DDoS attacks lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from people “deeply invested” in the conventional Coronavirus narrative.”

    That wold be paranoia, Mr. Unz.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  45. Ron Unz says:
    @SFG

    New Republic ain’t what it used to be, though. As you’re probably aware it went under, got bought out, and is now just SJW clickbait.

    Sure, but don’t forget its website contains *decades* of its high-quality archives, and in fact I’ve seen some indications that these may be generating the bulk of its existing traffic. So we’re competing against its current articles PLUS the TNR content from its Golden Age forward. Meanwhile, since we’re so young, probably 95% of our traffic comes from our relatively recent material. We’re also well ahead of The Nation, which has the same advantages.

    Anyway, if someone a couple of years ago would have said we’d be far ahead of TNR (and well ahead of The Nation), I certainly wouldn’t have believed it possible.

    Truth be told, though, a lot of the more far-out conspiracy stuff I find unconvincing. Coronavirus being a US biowarfare attack on China strikes me as a little farfetched given that it just requires too many steps to work–you have to sneak the thing into China, *and* it has to do more damage to China than you.

    Not really. I think it seems reasonably likely, and a 40-year veteran expert of American biowarfare came to the same conclusion:

    https://www.unz.com/article/was-coronavirus-a-biowarfare-attack-against-china/

    *and* it has to do more damage to China than you. Given how much more effective Asian societies have been at fighting this thing, it seems to have backfired severely. Of course, this would hardly be the first time this has happened with US covert operations, so who knows…

    I agree 100%. The Deep State Neocons who presumably were responsible are a total bunch of reckless idiots. But we already knew that! Consider that—bioweapon or not—they totally ignored the problem since January and this may cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of Americans this year. So if it were indeed an American bioweapon, that merely adds to their demonstrated stupidity and incompetence:

    https://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/who-made-coronavirus-was-it-the-u-s-israel-or-china-itself/?showcomments#comment-3753228

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
    , @Anonymous
  46. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from people “deeply invested” in the conventional Coronavirus narrative.

    What is the conventional Coronavirus narrative? Is there one?

  47. @Ron Unz

    Takimag changed their format completely about that long ago. That, if not confuses, at least pisses off, people like me, who don’t care to learn to navigate the site over again. I only go to that site off links from Steve Sailer’s posts about his weekly(?) columns.

    I am glad you’ve kept your site consistent, at least since I’ve been reading. Thanks for that!

    • Replies: @JMcG
  48. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Corvinus

    “How much coronavirus coverage is due to the fact that the liberal media has Biden on their hands and they’d rather change the subject?”

    Zero. Next question.

    And you know this how? You are amazingly stupid for a crow sometimes.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  49. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    It seemed weird to me that the market hadn’t reacted by mid-February, as all the autists I follow on Twitter were warning about it by then. So I suggested investors hedge then, while it was cheap to do so.

  50. TG says:

    “Prediction failure?” Excuse me? Seriously? “Prediction failure?”

    The nominal purpose of finance is to steer investment capital towards the most productive purposes, and to evaluate risk. Which the elites haven’t even paid lip service to since at least 2008.

    The bankers do whatever they want, they pay themselves massive salaries, and when it goes south, they get bailed out and pay themselves even more. There is no “prediction,” no “evaluation,” no skill, no intelligence, just a massive boot stomping down crushing us little people into the dirt. Any questions?

    THERE ARE NO MARKETS. Not really, not in the classical sense. No downside to making poor decisions, it’s all top-down command economy.

    In a weird sense, it’s more and more like the old Soviet Union, but without even the veneer of pretending to care about the common man.

  51. Ron Unz says:
    @Corvinus

    Yes, we’ve been getting a lot more (possible) DDoS attacks lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s from people “deeply invested” in the conventional Coronavirus narrative.”

    That wold be paranoia, Mr. Unz.

    LOL.

    Look, we’ve run numerous major articles strongly suggesting that the Coronavirus outbreak may have been a bioweapons attack against China (and Iran), presumably by the Deep State Neocons. Indeed, I think we’re just about the only significant English language webzine heavily promoting those controversial theories.

    So it seems to me if you were a Deep State Neocon, you might want to spend $50 paying for a little DDoS harassment of our website…

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    , @Rob
  52. oh really? so they didn’t predict governors shutting down all businesses in 5 or 6 states simply by decree? when has that ever happened in the history of the country? in the history of the WORLD? how was anybody on the entire planet supposed to be able to predict that?

    the predictable thing was the boomer stock market situation. the biggest cohort of citizens ever, and they’re all in retirement age. at the same time, interest rates near 0% for years, something which also never happened before. as soon as this huge cohort, with all their money in the stock market due to super low interest rates making every other financial instrument a nonviable holding, feels like they might be killed any week now by this suddenly appearing virus, they all sell at the same time.

    but that only explains at most 30% or so of the sell off in the market. looking at -20% GDP in the quarter is what’s really doing it. i would venture, the worst quarter ever in the history of the United States, and due entirely to total state shutdowns of highly questionable legal authority.

    no companies are gonna be able to make any money for the quarter. i think that’s probably never happened before, ever. now if you shut down entire states, the reaction should be pretty predictable, and that’s what we’re mostly seeing.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  53. @Charon

    “Bragging online about your test scores–anonymously yet–is its own special category of tragic.”

    It’s not bragging when it’s true. The technical perfection and stylistic excellence of my writing are self-evident to good writers.

    • Replies: @Kim
    , @Charon
  54. CJ says:
    @Len

    Great webcam link. I watched that for about 10 minutes. Maybe 200 people were visible and maybe 85% of them were wearing masks.

    I also noticed how clean the street is despite so many people.

  55. vhrm says:

    Was it a failure?

    Perhaps it priced correctly the natural impact of Coronavirus, but it missed the unprecedented-in-the-modern era aggressive “help” of our Blue State Governors.

    Whether it turns out to be a wise intervention for society or not, the economic damage is largely due to “shelter in place”.

    (some significant damage to travel, tourism and entertainment would have happened anyway as people choose to be cautious but it would have been less and more gradual. A flattened curve of you will, (but also a lot smaller area under the curve) )

  56. @Anonymous

    And you know this how? You are amazingly stupid for a crow sometimes.

    Coronavirus = Corvinus’ oar.

  57. Smith College economist Jim Miller observes:

    Now we’re reduced to observations by economists named “Jim” at women’s colleges.

    • LOL: kaganovitch
  58. @Alexander Turok

    Solid evidence like the school of Buffett, which wallops the market year after year? Buy low, sell high. I read those books, resolved to buy cheap assets, and it has made me and many others rich. If one strategy outperforms the market, albeit modestly, the market is not efficient. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Not because markets are too efficient, but because people love to buy into a winner and drop a “loser”. People herd and get FOMO. I would be lying if I said seeing bitcoin rocket past $10k didn’t make me take another look – but I didn’t buy in. Others did and lost.

    Secondly, that there are so many cheap bucks to be made in prediction SHOWS that the market is a terrible predictor. If the market really did price things so well, you couldn’t make so many bucks from a single correct prediction. Every correction has minted massive bucks for people who made the right call, but it keeps happening. Somehow, the markets have yet to predict the dips that come every so often since the markets have existed. Corrections aren’t black swans. They’re the opposite of that. Let’s not even bring up genuine events like the Russian Revolution or the current viral panic. Were the odds really 100:1 that coronavirus would cause a shutdown in America when it already had in China? Corrections don’t start with some new news popping up and a rational repricing. If they did, we’d see slow gentle slides as new information trickled in. They start with stampedes towards the exit as mass hysteria breaks out.

    As for the big banks, they make their bucks using free money. That’s not prediction, that’s just collecting the spread.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  59. Helpful post! Thanks!

  60. @Ron Unz

    Consider that—bioweapon or not—they totally ignored the problem since January and this may cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of Americans this year.

    This is the important sentence in here from my – not really conspiracy-orieted – point of view.
    And this sentence is important. And I know this not least from your magazine, Mr. Unz. so I have good reasons to say thank you – again (as so many times before).

  61. Anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:

    The real interesting and pertinent question is this:

    When the final Butcher’s Bill is reckoned and settled, are the supposed ‘economic benefits’ of the vast political push toward globalization greater or smaller than the enormous economic loss attributed to the coronavirus epidemic?

  62. Anonymous[239] • Disclaimer says:

    Spare a thought, if you will, for the *millions* of domestic dogs and cats – companion animals born and bred alone amongst the animal kingdom to have a special bond with the human species, to the point of evolved dependence, slaughtered for meat in disgusting Chinese ‘wet markets’
    Perhaps Anubis – the faithful guide of the dead – is wreaking his revenge at the perfidy and treachery of mankind.

  63. George says:

    What was not predicted was how the virus was used seize control of the economy.

    Is there really a crisis? How did the US deal with 200,000+ deaths from lung disorders last year?

    Currently, on the planet, covid deaths are 14,748. While there are 10,000 serious cases. Together the worldwide numbers are less than US suicides.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

    US only mortality statistics:
    Number of deaths: 2,813,503

    Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

    Heart disease: 647,457
    Cancer: 599,108
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
    Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
    Diabetes: 83,564
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

    So predicting the government shut down of all business, except it appears liquor stores, is sort of like predicting a mugging.

  64. UK says:

    America didn’t respond to the crisis properly because the Democratic party were still in the bizarre, long campaign to undermine the Executive with Russia rumours and endless attempts at impeachment.

    It isn’t easy to function properly when you’re under constant investigation.

  65. Kim says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    I just googled “only once” and received 46,700,000 hits; this tells us that it is almost certainly a standard English collocation.

    And “only” is not a synonym for “once”.

    “I only went to the cinema.”

    “I once went to the cinema.”

    Quite different things.

    You sound a little bit nutty.

    • Replies: @Anon
  66. eah says:

    I think it was only a month ago that the stock market first dropped sharply, and that was also in part due to the brief Bernie Boom.

    I don’t think it had anything to do with “the brief Bernie Boom”, whatever that is/was — immediately after Trump’s win in 2016, futures dropped significantly; some suggested this was due to general anxiety over Trump’s anti-Establishment/nationalist campaign rhetoric, especially about trade and immigration — ultimately the markets rose very strongly in the next months, and continued to rise throughout Trump’s presidency — the markets spiked quite dramatically in Fall 2019, and many extremely speculative stocks (e.g. TSLA) rose the most — all-time highs were reached well after COVID-19 was a “thing”; the markets had a “don’t give a fuck” reaction to COVID-19, and pretty much any- and every-thing else.

    It was a bubble, and bubbles burst eventually, as they always do.

    But one can say, with some confidence, that barring a sensation Trump won’t be running on the stock market in 2020 — he’ll have to go with new washing machines.

  67. Kim says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    “It’s not bragging if it’s true.”

    Again you are wrong.

    “bragging” is not a synonym for “exaggerating” nor for “lying”.

    Tell us again about your SATs.

    • Replies: @Anon
  68. @Inquiring Mind

    Michael Chrichton was a brilliant author; RIP.

    • Agree: Charon
  69. AL. says:

    Minor correction, Steve. The Senate voted to acquit Trump on both counts on February 5, not February 12.

    To save you the trouble of looking it up, here’s a link that shows that:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/05/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-vote-acquittal/index.html

  70. Charon says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    It’s not bragging when it’s true.

    Okay, we’ll add idiocy to your list of good qualities.

  71. @Anonymous

    And jason y, while you’re at it, can you let us know how much money you’ve made so far this year? You – not “some people you know”.

    You could spend some of those profits learning how to type upper case.

  72. Corvinus says:
    @Ron Unz

    Yes, I have perused those articles. Strongly suggest, may have been, presumably, coincidences…in the end, you really do not know for certain; it is likely that NO attack was perpetrated by the actors you listed. But we know such words lead certain audience members to a desired conclusion, especially if they already presume the Deep State and their Jewish toadies remain firmly entrenched to ruin our nation and derail Trump.

    “So it seems to me if you were a Deep State Neocon…”

    Would CDC officials be considered “Deep State”? Are they part of this vast conspiracy? To what extent should we trust their expertise? Is Covid-19 a hoax?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  73. Realist says:
    @The Z Blog

    The best and brightest do work in finance. They just work for them, not us.

    Not true…the best and brightest work in STEM. If the best and brightest worked in finance, they wouldn’t always be wrong.

    Economics is like reading tea leaves…just not as accurate.

  74. Realist says:
    @E. Harding

    How were the markets supposed to know the FDA and CDC were composed of morons and that Western and Chinese democracy are not so different?

    All government agencies are filled with morons…this has been know for decades.

    • Agree: Ben tillman
    • Replies: @Realist
  75. MikeJa says:

    Maybe the markets would work better as predictors if they allowed more insider trading. 4 Senators sold but only Burr looks like the real thing and his portfolio wasn’t enough to really move markets

  76. @Andy

    @Andy

    You are spot on. I went to the library and skimmed through over 100 articles in Econ journals published in the year leading to the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

    None of those articles anticipated the 2008 economic crisis.

    I’m not a scientist but I thought that a scientific field is supposed to do work that has relevance and has predictive power.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  77. and that was also in part due to the brief Bernie Boom.

    If the stock market was based in reality and less financialized fictionalized, then a brief Bernie boom could not cause a sharp drop in the market.

  78. @Len

    Japanese consider anyone outside their immediate family to be the moral equivalent of bacteria.

  79. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    Walmart quietly made a record high on March 18th.

    All three of the walmart heirs surpassed Zuck, Bloomberg and both Google founders on the wealth list tally which essentially is a measure of the share price of Amazon Walmart ,Facebook, Berkshire and, to a lesser extent with Gates, Microsoft. ( hes diversified, and has given away 34 billion irrevocably already, Buffet more than 20 billion )

    Speculation being that only remaining retail or “stores” will be Amazon, Walmart and Target with the rest bankruptcies. Certainly malls will be wrecking balled within a year.

  80. @Ron Unz

    However, that’s probably not as ridiculous as it sounds. After all the SARS epidemic of the 2002/2003 hit East Asia hard, but never significantly spread here or to Europe.

    The SARS epidemic is an unappreciated angle to this current coronavirus story. One reason the East Asian countries – but especially Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore – have done so well in fighting this virus is because they were so affected by SARS just over fifteen years ago.

    • Agree: Ron Unz, UK
  81. JMcG says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    They stopped allowing comments too, which seems like it has resulted in a reduction in the quality of commenting here. Taki himself should be careful. An elderly Greek denizen of the Swiss ski slopes is right in the ten ring of this epidemic.

  82. Muggles says:
    @Andy

    >> but I doubt a single paper has been about how to manage an economy and prevent its total collapse during a global pandemic (a possibility that has been repeatedly warned by scientists)<<

    Well, if you wanted to actually look, rather than opine about this, there are various academic subject indices with titles used by actual researchers to find obscure subjects. There are probably thousands of econ PhD dissertations issued each year, with even more journal articles. I'm sure in the last 20 years this subject has been covered in whole or part.

    Economists like to look at What If? scenarios of various kinds. And as you note pandemics have long been on the list of Bad Things That Might Happen. Excel makes this very easy. Why do you assume they are stupid and you are So Much Smarter?

    Even non Pandemic meltdowns. Such as Super Volcano eruptions, asteroid strikes, west coast major earthquakes, Tunguska events (whatever that was in Siberia, in a major populated area) and so on.

    Of course economists are no more seers than anyone else. Yeah, the markets will crash, insurance companies will go bust, governments will revert to command economics, etc. This Covid-19 is a temporary affair. The markets will correct. Then the prog/commies will all be whining about "profiteering" by those who held on and bought cheap. Meanwhile savers will do well and the happy go lucky "nothing but fun" millennials and others who live in a childish fantasy world will demand that Big Brother pay for their stupidity. Sean Penn style calls for military dictatorship.

    Scratch a progressive and you find a fool wanting to be in the New Gestapo. Hut-hut! Raus!!

    • Replies: @Andy
  83. Muggles says:

    Just one helpful reminder:

    You don’t “lose” money in a down market if you don’t sell when it crashes. It’s just numbers on screens or paper (for ancients).

    Buy low/sell high. Buy during crashes (always have some cash on hand) and sell during booms.

    Yes, my own small portfolio has taken a hit, ON PAPER. But I don’t need to constantly sell things to pay my bills. Few do.

    Neither are you “rich” when markets hit high peaks. Unless you sell then, which few do. (Who knows what the real highs/lows are?)

    This current crash is a great opportunity. It might take a while, but it will come back. Always have some cash and some precious metals too. And perhaps some firearms and ammo. The All American Lifestyle. If the Dems run the boards in November. better bury some of those things. Their Big Plans are all about theft. And you ain’t getting any of that swag.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  84. Marty says:
    @Ron Unz

    Glad to see Mr. Unz agrees with my understanding of “venerable,” i.e. to mean “long-established.” Several years ago, commenters here told me I was wrong and that it really means “respected.” But while I myself was a TNR subscriber in the pre-Ferguson era, I doubt anyone would call it “respected” now.

    • Replies: @Charon
  85. Ron Unz says:
    @Corvinus

    “So it seems to me if you were a Deep State Neocon…”

    Would CDC officials be considered “Deep State”? Are they part of this vast conspiracy? To what extent should we trust their expertise? Is Covid-19 a hoax?

    Nope. The CDC people certainly aren’t part of the “Deep State” but their top leadership seems really, *really* incompetent to me. Given the exponential spread of the Coronavirus in New York and elsewhere, I really wouldn’t be totally shocked if the US ends up with a million dead or more. For the CDC to have allowed this to happen sounds pretty incompetent.

    Obviously Trump is very heavily to blame, but presumably the CDC people could have made more of an effort to alert the MSM to the horrifying possible calamity coming down the tracks.

    There’s obviously no solid evidence that this is all the blowback from an American bioweapon attack, but if it were, I think it’s highly likely Deep State Neocons like Bolton and Pompeo were the ones behind it. That’s also the guess of the 40-year veteran of American biodefense whose analysis we published last week:

    https://www.unz.com/article/was-coronavirus-a-biowarfare-attack-against-china/

  86. @alt right moderate

    If you think the levitation in Netflix is bizarre go check out Hilton and Marriott.

    There is no reason those are $60-70 equities for the next three or four months.

  87. keuril says:

    This Miller guy sounds incredibly naive about the reality of financial markets even for an academic, but one way of reading his criticism is that free markets should be replaced by a command economy, run by people who Know Better.

  88. @Ron Unz

    What makes you think that the incompetence of government agencies translates to what happens to the American people? We’d be better without any of those AA bureaucratic “public servants”, along with they types you mention, of course. Americans at high risk from this Kung Flu ought to do what they need to do to stay isolated.

    There won’t be millions dead, at least not millions more than ordinary deaths that do, unfortunately happen to all of us.

  89. @JMcG

    Mr. McG, the commenting feature was ended something closer to a year back (maybe more, just my rough recollection). I didn’t think that was the cause based on Mr. Unz’s “same period” (couple of months). I would think some of those commenters would come over here though … is that what you mean?

    Yes, Mr. Taki should think about his Kung Flu susceptibility. From what I’ve read, he was quite a character, or playboy or something, back in his day. He was a serious tennis player too, and I really enjoyed his article about the Bobby Riggs vs. Billy Jean King show. The article was called Bobby Rigged.

    • Replies: @vhrm
  90. Rob says:
    @Ron Unz

    Rob, look at the odds. How many Chinese plagues have been US bioweapons attacks? Maybe one” how many plagues have arisen in China from natural variation in pathogens and selection? Hundreds, maybe thousands. Given the odds, isn’t it more likely that this is another natural Chinese
    Plague, not a bioweapon attack?

  91. Plenty of people predicted the meltdown even before Corona-Chan was a gleam in a Ft. Detrick test tube. The problem is that in the investing racket, being more than a couple weeks early is equated to being wrong.

  92. Kronos says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    Hopefully not, but it’s my favorite in terms of potential pandemic/science fiction films. The most accurate up-to-date film is likely “Contagion” from 2011. Other good ones include “12 Monkeys” (Though more cerebral horror) and “28 Weeks Later.”

    • Agree: Charon
  93. vhrm says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    It HAS been a while since Takimag comments were shut down, but they were a flaming mess (presumably because they were unmoderated). i didn’t really engage there so don’t miss them too much.

    The site redesign though, really was around the time i mostly gave up on it. On mobile at least (where i read it) it had always been kinda hard to figure out what was new and what I’d already read and the new design made it worse so i gave up. (idk if technically it was any harder, but, if not, i didn’t push through the confusion enough to find out)

    (really if they just put publication dates next to the articles wherever they list then, especially on the home page, that would have mostly fixed that problem for me. oh well)

  94. anonymous[186] • Disclaimer says:
    @Muggles

    Just one helpful reminder:

    You don’t “lose” money in a down market if you don’t sell when it crashes. It’s just numbers on screens or paper (for ancients).

    Buy low/sell high. Buy during crashes (always have some cash on hand) and sell during booms.

    Yes, my own small portfolio has taken a hit, ON PAPER. But I don’t need to constantly sell things to pay my bills. Few do.

    Neither are you “rich” when markets hit high peaks. Unless you sell then, which few do. (Who knows what the real highs/lows are?)

    Oh, you cute little republican!

    Unironically, I just want to squeeeeeeeze you! 🥰

  95. Bitcoin. More reliable than fiat currencies. A hedge against disaster.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  96. @RichardTaylor

    Of course leftist reporters prefer covering Corona virus, instead of Biden.

    While both bring death and destruction in their wake[Obama foreign policy], Coronachan isn’t prone to pig-ignorant outbursts and doesn’t sniff strangers’ hair.

  97. @Achmed E. Newman

    告诉我一个可以保持六尺距离的男人,我告诉你一个可以吐出七英尺粘液的男人。

    (It’s better in the original Mandarin.)

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  98. Corvinus says:
    @Ron Unz

    “Nope. The CDC people certainly aren’t part of the “Deep State”…”

    That is interesting to the say the least, considering a number of posters here state ANY government official is involved in Deep State machinations. So, from your vantage point, we can separate officials into “No” and “Perhaps” when it comes to Deep State. Then I recommend you need to make this part of your message to readers.

    “but their top leadership seems really, *really* incompetent to me.”

    I would say that the CDC has been hamstrung by Trump ever since Covid-19 became an international sensation. Remember, at the start of the coronavirus epidemic, he chose to treat MEDICINE like POLITICS and the situation as a public relations event. Then, (poof), a talking to by a Fox News analyst (Tucker Carlson), and soon he is reluctantly acknowledging that MEDICINE is MEDICINE. So it was not the CDC who neglected to alert the MSM, it was the Trump Administration.

    Dr. Fauci is warning Trump officials NOT to listen to growing push among White House advisers and GOP lawmakers to “restart the economy”. In other words, they are weighing to ease restrictions because of the stock market and impact of high unemployment for the upcoming 2020 election. Should not Trump defer to the professionals in this case? Experts on epidemics agree: There are ways to fight the coronavirus. It will take near-total public cooperation, Americans agreeing to stay home, a system isolating the infected, more travel restrictions, ramped up testing and production of vital equipment.

    Yet, Trump is being obstinate. He is signaling interest in scaling back “social distancing” and other steps promoted by health officials as a growing number of conservatives argue that impact on the U.S. economy has become too severe. It is these efforts that hamper the CDC.

    “There’s obviously no solid evidence that this is all the blowback from an American bioweapon attack…”

    Except this “no solid evidence” to a number of individuals is being taken as “that is all the evidence I need” and thus referred to as fact that Covid-19 WAS created by a global power.

    “I think it’s highly likely Deep State Neocons like Bolton and Pompeo were the ones behind it. That’s also the guess…”

    What is the percentage of likelihood in your eyes? Could not that be the same number of unlikelihood by conspiracy doubters? And, indeed, that is the “guess” of ONE analyst.

  99. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Muggles

    Check your email. Think you just got furloughed….

    Better raise some ca$h.

  100. j mct says:

    He’s kind of right, so I guess he’s real rich now since he got short and made a killing.

  101. Here is a visual representation of what the Fed did to bears and shorts with today’s 8 AM announcement of infinite QE:

  102. Anon[567] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kim

    What about “ I only did that once”.
    “I only once did that”. Only did that once sounds better but the meaning is the same.

    American public schools everywhere, from the Whitest suburbs to the darkest ghettos in deepest Alabama, stopped teaching English grammar around 1970 on the grounds that English grammar and correct diction are racist.

  103. Anon[567] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kim

    Bragging may not be the synonym for lying or exaggeration. But “ it’s not bragging if it’s true” is correct grammar, word usage, diction and sentence structure.

    Stating a truth is neither bragging, lying nor exaggerating.

    For instance for me to state “ I wear sizes 0 and 1 and have to buy all my clothes from Brandy Melville is not bragging that I’m small and petite. It’s just the truth.

  104. @Kolya Krassotkin

    Pretty true to form, from the translator I just employed. Thanks, Kolya. I will use both versions on my blog (but I’ll doctor up mine a tad – work in progress…)

  105. @Anon

    Sure it is, #567. If a guy just tells you, with the subject not even having been brought up, “I can bench press 300 lb”, well, that’s bragging when it’s true. If it’s false, it’s not bragging, just lying. Unless, that is, the guy is a pro football player, in which case he needs to talk about his 100 yard sprint time instead.

    Who the hell is Brandy Melville? How much can she lift?

  106. @jason y

    You have no idea what you’re talking about – you’re a ‘HelloWorld‘ midwit who has been convinced
    • that CFR and IFR are remotely comparable;
    • that CFR is meaningful irrespective of the statistical characteristics of the test that gives you C (and with vast differentials in the methodology used to generate F);
    • that I is known with any precision, given that the timing of ‘Patient Zero’ is not known;
    • that growth in ‘confirmed cases‘ is not simply a reflection of growth in the number of tests conducted that gives literally zero information about the growth in infections.

    So it’s a bit early for you to self-congratulate for your calculator skills.

    If you pay no attention to the quality of your inputs, you are just as bad as the average dothead who did a Udemy course on ‘data science’.

    When it comes to analysis of data, the really important bit happens before

    import pandas as pd

    .

    I could go on and on and on and on : suffice it to say that you would fail a half-decent first year undergraduate course in Statistics. (I never taught first year, but you would definitely fail second- and third-year courses I did teach).

  107. @Anon

    Stating a truth is neither bragging, lying nor exaggerating.

    Let me preface this by one of my favourite mottoes:

    τα σύκα σύκα, την σκαφην δε σκαφην ονομασων.

    Call figs figs, and a tub a tub – i.e., tell it like it is; don’t sugar coat it.

    So I’m rarely interested in how people feel about things – certainly not enough to change how I express things.

    That said: what you wrote is not true for ‘bragging‘, because whether or not someone is bragging is at least partly up to the listener.

    To brag is to be excessively proud (or boastful, which also means excessively proud KEK).

    The listener gets to determine where the line is drawn between pride and excessive pride – even if the thing being said is 100% factual.

    FWIW I don’t give a fuck, really. It’s certainly my experience that people who accuse others of bragging/boasting are almost invariably ① less accomplished than the ‘braggart’; and ② motivated by a ‘schoolmarmish’ desire to elevate themselves in the eyes of others (which is exactly what they claim to find objectionable about braggarts).

  108. Realist says:
    @Realist

    Should read…been known..

  109. There is no ‘predictive’ value in financial asset prices.

    If there was, the Nasdaq Comp would not have hit 5000 in March 2000, then fallen by almost 50% before September 11 2001.

    Ever since then, whenever anyone has claimed that markets are ‘forward looking’, my response has always been –

    What were markets looking forward to in March 2000? What were they looking forward to in October 2007? March 2009? “.

    At best, markets look sideways: people throwing around large amounts of active (i.e., non-index-hugging) money are rational, so they watch each other.

    Everyone in the game knows that collectively they produce negative alpha; they also know that individually they only generate positive alpha by luck. If you ‘go it alone‘ and deviate from SAA in ways that differ from the herd… you’re sacked if it doesn’t pay off within 2 quarters.

    So everyone has the same tilts: that’s the Game-Theoretic equilibrium, because the ‘nobody do anything rash’ payoff is X (seven or 8 figures a year), while the ‘be bold’ payoffs are somewhere in the interval (0, 1.2X). Jensen’s Inequality sees to it that risk-averse individuals stay in the pack.

    With the amounts sloshing around, though… four consecutive quarters of “luck plus survivorship bias” makes you a rockstar, and by the time you fuck up you already own 4 houses.

    .

    Given that any numerate person can figure this out before they ever get into the industry… the people who still want that job do so in the full knowledge that their entire business model is based on a lie.

    When I was offered the Golden Ticket (in 1996, at a firm that had ~A$3bn under management at the time), I turned it down based on exactly that principle.

    Silly, really: had I taken the job I would have been able to rationalise taking the paycheck… “If it wasn’t me, it would be someone else“. That justification works for everything from the slaughterhouse upwards.

  110. @JMcG

    An elderly Greek denizen of the Swiss ski slopes is right in the ten ring of this epidemic.

    Taki’s in very good nick for a man his age though – so if it hit him there’s every likelihood he would shrug it off.

    Fuck Takimag though. The good writers (Cole, Goad, Briggs, de Groot, and Dalrymple) ought to have quit on principle once comments were switched off by whichever weak faggot bitch made that call.

    (iSteve is among the “good writers” group, but his stuff here on Unz is better anyhow).

    Where it’s warranted, I turn off ad blockers and deliberately click on ads once in a while.

    I used to do that on ZeroHedge (until the OG TD/Marla sold it to clickfarm-retards) and TakiMag (until it switched off comments).

    Not now though.

  111. Wilkey says:

    All I can say is that now, if you have spare cash, seems like a very good time to be buying. The market will recover; and probably sooner than we all think.

  112. @Anon

    You’re all taking this out of context. It’s not that our little gay disco-killer (Omar Mateen, shudder) was bragging, (although he was), it’s that he was resorting to the fallacy of appeal to authority. His own, in fact.

    If you go to a surgeon to get your kidney removed, but he takes out your lung instead, “But I got a 1600 SAT!” is not a defense.

    This guy churlishly insulted Steve based on a trivial syntactic error. I simply pointed out that the error was really his, not Steve’s, which is true. His defense was, “I am right, because SATs, and plus I publish books about Margaret Dumont!” This is not a valid defense: the guy is still wrong, he is still a churl, and he is also clearly a sperg because he is tone-deaf to context and flava. Plus he takes things both too literally and too personally. He gets a Smart Boy Gold Star, and zero respect.

  113. Anonymous[526] • Disclaimer says:
    @Thoughts

    He said something along the lines of…when we look back…Coronavirus will be the easiest and cheapest respiratory illness to treat.

    Who said this and what did he mean?

  114. Anonymous[526] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mercer

    An RN told me two weeks ago it was no bigger than the flu.

    Was she wrong?

  115. Eagle Eye says:
    @Ron Unz

    UNZ.COM is a gold mine of information and views censored in lockstep by 99% of the media. Cui bono all this censorship?

    Nope. The CDC people certainly aren’t part of the “Deep State” but their top leadership seems really, *really* incompetent to me. Given the exponential spread of the Coronavirus in New York and elsewhere, I really wouldn’t be totally shocked if the US ends up with a million dead or more. For the CDC to have allowed this to happen sounds pretty incompetent.

    The effects of the virus on the lungs of sufferers appear to be extraordinary and at this stage barely explored. Obviously, comorbidities will not help the outlook of those affected.

    Federal, state and local governments should immediately pull out all the stops and request bids from suppliers of ICU equipment, emergency medical staff and facilities, with decreasing price levels. Example: ventilators provided by March 30 – $15,000 a piece. By April 15 – $12,000. By April 30 – $10,000.

    Antibody testing of medical personnel could identify those at much less risk of catching or spreading the infection themselves who can be deployed more easily. Of course, differences between strains of COVID-19 will have to be taken into account.

    Most importantly, ALL RAW DATA PERTAINING TO COVID 19 NEEDS TO BE PUBLISHED LIVE to enablethe most intelligent, crowd-intelligence based analysis and discussion unconstrained by academic and bureaucratic niceties. No more “proprietary data” and abusive secrecy rules where ANY government funds are involved.

  116. LondonBob says:
    @Reader From Chicago

    I read financialsense and used to read prudent bear. The financial crisis of 08 was predicted and repeatedly discussed, the problem is timing. Similarly the US markets have been overinflated for awhile, knowing when they would turn is the trick. Of course it is better to invest on longer timescale and accept you might take a loss in the short term and that if you don’t, and you time it right, that is simply luck.

  117. LondonBob says:
    @Philip Owen

    Bitcoin is a scam and absolutely no way should anyone go near it, gold is the only hedge.

  118. Anonymous[193] • Disclaimer says:
    @Monsieur le Baron

    Solid evidence like the school of Buffett, which wallops the market year after year? Buy low, sell high. I read those books, resolved to buy cheap assets, and it has made me and many others rich. If one strategy outperforms the market, albeit modestly, the market is not efficient…

    As for the big banks, they make their bucks using free money. That’s not prediction, that’s just collecting the spread.

    What do you recommend we invest in?

  119. Anonymous[193] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    Consider that—bioweapon or not—they totally ignored the problem since January and this may cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of Americans this year.

    What do you believe they reasonable should have done instead? Specifics please.

  120. Andy says:
    @Muggles

    Your reply would be better if you have brought forward a counterexample of a paper or a dissertation about managing the economy during a Pandemic. I did actually look. There were actually a few after the SARS epidemic (always after the fact) but mostly about how to measure the economic impact of the pandemic, not about how you got to manage the economy during a pandemic, the most crucial issue today.

    • Replies: @Muggles
  121. Muggles says:
    @Andy

    >>Your reply would be better if you have brought forward a counterexample of a paper or a dissertation about managing the economy during a Pandemic. I did actually look. There were actually a few after the SARS epidemic (always after the fact) but mostly about how to measure the economic impact of the pandemic, not about how you got to manage the economy during a pandemic, the most crucial issue today.<<

    Andy, you are probably right. But you have barely scratched the surface of economic policy research. One of my majors many years ago was economics, and I personally know and have known several very good academic economists. There are undoubtedly, I am confident, many papers and even probably symposia about such a subject. Probably based on past "crash" experiences and predictions. Of course there are also as many opinions about the correct answer as there are economists.

    I don't think, other than in some socialist/fascist command economy, you can really "manage" an economy in a pandemic or any other crisis. What you can do is make policy decisions and affect existing rules, taxes, subsidies, regulations, trade barriers, etc. Changing these could have positive benefits. It is a myth (though common even in economics) that such huge groups of human behaviors in a national economy can be "managed" like tuning up a car.

    Also, I am not in the habit of doing research, unpaid, for others to satisfy their curiosity. Though I have found that this is a tendency among some Unz commentators to believe that others should their own work for them, unbidden and unpaid. Why would you expect someone here to undertake a vast project for you, unpaid and unsolicited? Posing a question here doesn't make you or anyone else King of the World. Just a friendly observation.

  122. Charon says:
    @Marty

    Interesting. I always thought it was related to “venerated”.

  123. As I’ve said, as soon as it hit Italy and South Korea around Feb 20 we knew for certain that containment protocols had failed and that it would inevitably come here. There would not be practices in place nor willpower to do what it would take to stop its initial spread

    I have texts to my family to prove it, and even then I felt it was too late. Of course, we know of preppers before that time frame, and indeed, people have made millions in the markets.

    Then there are those January 4chan posts which we can now certainly confirm in hindsight. The “insider” trading is proof in action. It’s tough, since the government also has boost morale. CDC, FDA, FEMA, manufacturing we certainly hope would have started asap.

    Note that NYC area first responders were prepping by early February at the latest, with potential FEMA activation floated already

    To paraphrase Warren buffet, the market is your servant, not your guide

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