A respected reporter recently asked me what were a few important things I had learned from all this and all of that during the past decade and I surprised myself and perhaps him by answering that I now realized that younger generations – the Xers and Millenials – were far different generations from my own. “How so?” he asked.
Zero-bound money – quality aside – lowers incentives to expand loans and create credit growth. Will Rogers once humorously said in the Depression that he was more concerned about the return of his money than the return on his money.
Size seems to matter in some aspects of life, and it certainly does in the financial markets. Super-size August movements in global stocks are but one sign that something may be amiss in the global economy itself – China notwithstanding. There’s the timing and the eventual “size” of the Fed’s “tightening” cycle that I have long advocated but which now seems to be destined to be labeled “too little, too late.”
Speaking of bumpy air, trespassing, and the forgiveness of debt, the Greek/German tragedy of midsummer seems to have landed on terra firma for at least a few months—although inevitably the weakness of the Eurozone with its common currency, but disparate fiscal philosophies, spells renewed turbulence in financial asset markets.
Speaking of liquidity, whether it be in surplus in a Laguna Beach shower, or an extreme deficit in the State of California, current concerns in the financial markets center around the absence of liquidity and the effect it might have on future market prices.
“It’s a spectacle of excess at the highest level,” quoted an art consultant to the N.Y. Times. Perhaps it was. Christie’s, even not counting its archrival Sotheby’s, had bagged $1 billion in sales during its May auction week-- rivaling even the frenzied bidding for Manhattan high rise condos.
Speaking of the future and life’s lessons, there is an ongoing process of discovery taking place amongst the world’s central bankers which they hope will rejuvenate their respective economies without creating the inflationary horror of the 1970s.
The past decade has proved that houses were merely homes and not ATM machines. They were not “good as money.” Likewise, the Fed’s modern day liquid wealth creations may suffer a similar fate at a future bubbled price.