Forecasts create the mirage that the future is knowable – Peter Bernstein

Forecasts for 2021?

Forecasts create the mirage that the future is knowable – Peter Bernstein

At this time of year it is traditional to peer into the future to see what the New Year might bring, but, like JP Morgan or was it John D. Rockefeller, the only guaranteed forecast I can make is, “that markets will fluctuate”. So instead here is an eclectic selection of quotes, some of which will no doubt ring true for you, some might make your hackles rise and some will, I hope, make you laugh. 2020 has, if nothing else, increased the need for a good laugh.

The “other” PPE – Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. Sir Winston Churchill

The fact that there is a highway to hell but only a stairway to heaven tells you something about the anticipated traffic…Anon

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true and it will sound like it’s from Neptune. Noam Chomsky

There are only two forces that unite men, fear and self-interest…Napoleon

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a parliament. John Adams

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers

A socialist is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. James Bovard

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largesse out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result that the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship. Alexander Fraser Tytler

Most of economics can be summarized in four words: “People respond to incentives.” The rest is commentary – Steven E. Landsburg

Grow your own dope. Plant an economist. Graffiti seen at the LSE

Economists are people who look at reality, and wonder whether it would work in theory. – Ronald Reagan

Understatement

The tendency of an inconvertible paper currency is to create fictitious wealth, bubbles, which by their bursting, produce “inconvenience”. Lord Liverpool 1818

Accounting definitions

EBITDA: Earnings before I tricked the dumb auditor.

EBIT: Earnings before irregularities and tampering. The Financial Occultist

Gold

If you don’t trust gold, do you trust the logic of taking a pine tree, worth $4,000-$5,000, cutting it up, turning it into pulp, putting some ink on it and then calling it one billion dollars? Kenneth J Gerbino

Gold; a zero coupon irredeemable bond with zero credit risk and where the issuer is God Anon

Negative rates

“Negative rates work and are nothing extraordinary or immoral or absurd.” European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure, at the Jackson Hole conference September 2016

However he warned that it is unclear whether the financial system can function with deeply negative rates. Hmmm.

An inferno that sadly lacks the poetry of DanteBrigitte Granville economist at Queen Mary Uni talking about the effect of negative interest rates on the pensions industry

Technical analysis

A technical analyst and a fundamental analyst are chatting about the markets in the kitchen.

One of them accidentally knocks a kitchen knife off of the table, and it lands right in the fundamental analyst’s foot.

The fundamental analyst yells at the technician, asking him why he didn’t catch the knife.

“You know technicians don’t catch falling knives!” the technician responded.

He, in turn, asks the fundamental analyst why he didn’t move his foot out of the way.

The fundamental analyst responds:

 ‘I didn’t think it could go that low!” Doug Kass

Some little known Zen teachings

No one is listening until you pass wind.

Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

And finally – “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine” Abraham Lincoln

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