A Quote

A Quote

So I was re-reading some of Shiller’s book Irrational Exuberance today. I was interested in the chapter (chapter 11 – “Investor Learning and Unlearning”) where he discusses the possibility that the stock market has only recently become a rational market due to the general investing public having recently learned some “facts” about the market. For example, leading up to the pop of the stock market bull run of the late 90’s people had learned such “facts” as “stocks always outperform other investments, such as bonds“, “the stock market always quickly recovers after a major decline”, etc., and that the reason for the huge price movements and their expected future continuation was because the market had become rational.

He concludes the chapter with this:

A similar process of investor “learning” appears also to have been going on in connection with other markets besides just the stock market. People have been “learning” that investments in homes are really not risky, that homes are the “best” investment. The perception that the public has just learned some important facts lends support to massive market price increases by encouraging the belief that these increases may be permanent.

The sense that we are all suddenly learning important facts and have arrived at a new enlightenment about investment has appeared so many times in history that it may be regarded as a predictable component of irrational exuberance. We must consider how to deal with the change in thinking that leads people to think we have entered a new enlightenment, changes that, through their effects on market prices, impinge on all our lives.

We have to consider what we as individuals and as a society should be doing to offset some of the ill effects of this exuberance.

pp. 202-3

The next section is appropriately entitled “A Call to Action”.

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