When pondering over the past, it is tempting to regard social events and investment themes as – well – obvious. The famous ‘tulip bubble’ was obviously a temporary period of insanity. The debauched practices with the guillotine (of the French Revolution) were obviously hopelessly immoral. One would have steered clear of such folly, right?

 

Those of us enlightened with the principles of group behaviour attempt to avoid such temptations. Taking an anti-consensual view on social phenomena has always been (and will always be) a very difficult task. My hunch is that during the periods mentioned above, the herding impulse would have been heightened. I expect that (almost unbearable) contempt and ridicule would have been hurled at the contrarians of those days. As evidence for this, note that even the great Isaac Newton was suckered into buying near the high during the South Sea Bubble.

 

So, in good spirit, let’s attempt to use this arrogance to our advantage; which investment themes of our age would seem ‘obvious’ to the 24th Century Historian?

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An update of the daily treasury statement charts:

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