Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Wile E. Coyote moment

So, there's any number of things that I've been maintaining will happen for a while: drop in the dollar, catastrophic inflation to rebalance housing equity, sea-level rise, hurricanes that cause major disasters in the Northeast, crop failures, return to 1997 real housing prices, the draft, another depression, a handful of markers of the biblical apocalypse, Greens in the White House, the Reich Reorganization and so forth. Some of these things have started happening, and several are getting clearer and clearer signs, but none of them are meeting expectations. That's fine, as they're supposed to be in the future anyway, and only things like the end of the housing bubble inflation (because of the 2001 explosion in 5-year interest-only ARMs) have clear calendar dates.

Now, I should be clear that I don't do any research. These predictions are just me agreeing with people who do know what's going on. But, still, it's nice to be right, and then have been right, although it hasn't really profited me to date: the occasional job move or investment decision worked out, but in the cold, hard metric of how many supermodels I've gotten busy with, there's been no bounce.

So, it's nice to hear Paul Krugman echo this cassandric despair (back in September)
Lots of buzz suddenly about the possibility of a sharp fall in the dollar....

I could say that I saw this coming; the problem is that I’ve been seeing it coming for several years, and it keeps not arriving (and I don’t know if this is really it, even now.)
The linked page with the definition of Stein's Law -- if something can not go on forever, it will stop -- also has a Kundera quote that explains why Bush-era conservatives often think they're clever arguers.
If you meet a madman who says that he is a fish and that we are all fishes, do you take off your clothes to show him that you do not have fins?

--Milan Kundera, Risibles Amours, 1984
Which is to say, when confronted with a monstrously stupid argument, all you can do is stop the discussion.

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