There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.
There are two kinds of investors, be they large or small: those who don't know where the market is headed, and those who don't know that they don't know. Then again, there is a third type of investor -the investment professional, who indeed knows that he or she doesn't know, but whose livelihood depends upon appearing to know.
Succesful institutional traders often talk of quitting and going to trade for themselves. Only a handful of them manage to make the transition. Most traders who leave institutions get caught up in the emotions of fear, greed, elation, and panic when they start risking their own money.
Once you think that something is improbable and everybody thinks it, people modify their behavior in a way that makes it more probable. Everyone thought it was so improbable that so many people would default on real estate, it actually created a greater probability that it would happen because more capital flowed into that sector.
An essential point in the social philosophy of interventionism is the existence of an inexhaustible fund which can be squeezed forever. The whole doctrine of interventionism collapses when this fountain is drained off. The Santa Claus principle liquidates itself.
Contrary to most experts — including Bernanke — the more aggressive the Fed’s policies are, the worse the economy is going to be. If all that is required to revive the economy is pushing more money, then all third-world economies would be very wealthy by now.
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