That's the question, isn't it? Is this the new normal?
Here's what I know:
- the newsletter writers have started doing lifestyle pieces.
- the economic alerts are always about this-or-that individual stock going up, or they're about this-or-that index going up.
- the economic models we have predate the task economy.
- there is no economic consensus on whether the task economy even exists.
I also lived through the recession of 1980, knew guys who made a killing in the crash of '87, had most of my classmates wiped out by the dot com boom in 2000 and was painfully aware of the real estate crisis in 2007 before it ate the world. The early stuff? I mean, I was there but it's not like I was paying too much attention to it in 7th grade. 2000 I dodged and 2007 I profited handsomely off of I just didn't expect the world to end with it.
History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme and the one economic constant is reversion to the mean. Those aren't justifications, they're excuses but when someone says "this time it's different" it almost never is.
I think the real question is how much the government is willing to prop up the stock market, and how much the stock market is willing to be propped up by the government. From that perspective this time it is different because the world has never dealt with negative interest rates before, the world has never dealt with cryptocurrency before, the world has never dealt with Markov bots before, the world has never dealt with high frequency trading before. As to the adults in the room? There isn't anyone with enough control to do more than add or subtract sand grains from the pile.
I don't know. I know the economy is currently being traded by HFT bots trained on previous data and operating a picosecond at a time which certainly can't take too long a view on macro, and I know that macro can't get a clean read on players operating a picosecond at a time. But I also know that when I drink from the firehose of available data I see a lot of warning signs that make me nervous, and I've been nervous before.
But then, you're right. I've been nervous for about three years now.