The prediction game is perhaps the most disingenuous game of them all. Sure, I make predictions too, but they are based on educated guesses that require a lot of research and leans on my experiences. The disingenuous game I'm referring to is the kind where predictions are designed to move the masses into decisions that can cause more damage than simply buying the wrong stock. Predicting the end of the world is so old, I'm sure there was a caveman parading around with a stone slab warning about it.
In 1798, Thomas Malthus predicted that overpopulation would lead to mass starvation- didn't happen. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote "The Population Bomb," warning that the population boom would spark starvation and collapse, leaving four billion dead, including 65 million Americans- didn't happen. After Hurricane Katrina, the climate change crowd predicted a new normal where each year, we would see record-breaking hurricanes- hasn't happened.
Today, The Hot Prediction is the Stock Market Crash
Yesterday, I was flipping channels and saw a well-known guy, Prema-Bear. He is predicting a massive sell-off within the next two years. I want to scream! Historically, the stock market enters bear territory every 3.5 years, so it stands to reason that there is a good chance we could get one seven years after the bull market began. It also stands to reason that there will be record-breaking hurricanes in the future, and just maybe, the planet could become so crowded that people will starve. The main point is that the people living their lives, preparing for these 'disasters' waste valuable time, and the people that predict them often, do very well selling you products, speaking engagements and notoriety. Four billion people didn't die in the 1970s, but The Population Bomb sold more than two million copies.
I'm looking for the Russian-Ukraine crisis to fade over within the next couple of weeks. It feels as though the west and Russia are on a crash course with history in which the end-game would see no winners, but lots of economic wreckage. In fact, as the sanctions from both sides linger and expand, we should remember the story of the Greek king, Pyrrhus.
The Greek king fought three battles against a growing Roman Empire in Italy, more than holding his own before a final defeat. His name, however, continues to remind people that sometimes even when you win, you can pay too high a price. Heavily outmanned by Roman soldiers, Pyrrhus shocked his battlefield foes with the use of elephants; it was the first time Romans had seen such beast. The second battle saw Romans bring special devices, including anti-elephant chariots, that made the outcome closer, but once again King Pyrrhus won, still, it took a big toll. The third and final encounter saw Rome undermanned, but this time prepared for the war elephants with a variety of weapons, including smearing pigs with pitch and setting them alight and in the direction of the on-charging elephants. It was actually the second war that took the biggest toll on Pyrrhus who replied to a sycophantic soldier overjoyed with the outcome:
"If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined"
|Pyrrhic War||Roman Forces||King Pyrrhus|
|Battle of Heraclea||50,000||35,000
20 War elephants
|Battle of Asculum||40,000
300 anti-elephant devices
20 War elephants
|Battle of Beneventum||18,000
Scorpions, spears and pigs
20 War elephants
So far, this is the best week in the past six. The streak continues this morning, powered by business news including a big deal between Coca Cola and Monster Beverage. The economic data released today is somewhat mixed. The Producer Price Index (PPI) came in with a benign inflation reading and while the Empire State Fed Survey came in below consensus.