Good Reason for Doom and Gloom

By Doug French, Contributing Editor

Predicting the future, like getting old, ain’t for sissies. Questioning the bull market is even more treacherous.

Howard Gold, writing for MarketWatch, makes fun of seers who made what he calls “the four worst predictions to gain traction over the past few years.”

Gold says the last six years have been a disaster for those who stayed out of the stock market. He claims there’s a bull market in doom and gloom, referring to a column by his colleague Chuck Jaffe, who points out, “The fortune-tellers … know that the more outrageous the prediction, the more attention they get. They can highlight any forecasts they get right, knowing that their misfires are forgotten quickly. Thus, calamity and catastrophe sells. Right now, it’s a bull market for bearish forecasts.”

If such a bull market in doom were really happening, the market wouldn’t be hitting all-time highs. Besides, no one ever went broke being out of the market.

But more importantly, there is a very good reason people respond to gloomy forecasts. Behavioral economics pioneer and 2002 Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman explains in his bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow that when people compare losses and gains, they weigh losses more heavily. There’s an evolutionary reason for this: “Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce,” Kahneman explains. Continue reading "Good Reason for Doom and Gloom"

How to Prosper in the Coming Downturn

The Gold Report: In your latest book, "The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation of 20142019," you write about the aging of the Baby Boomers and the wave of Gen-X'ers that follows. What does that tell you about the next five years?

Harry Dent: I discovered this relationship, which I call the spending wave, in 1988. Peak spending happens at about age 46 in the U.S., Japan and most developed countries. That is when a generation will earn, spend and borrow the most money. After that age, spending declines.

More than 20 years ago, we predicted Japanese spending would peak in the late 1980s, and U.S. spending around 2007. Now, Europe is hitting its demographic peak and will start dropping off. The drop off will be especially steep in Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland some of the strongest economies in Europe. How will Europe's rebound continue with these countries plunging in the years ahead?

TGR: Much of Germany's economic strength is based on exports. Would that protect Germany through the decline? Continue reading "How to Prosper in the Coming Downturn"

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