I have always been patriotic. And I am from Texas.
Those two facts are probably correlative and maybe even indicative of causation, but like so many things it is hard to know whether causation exists.
The reason I bring it up is that sometimes I think my pessimism about the markets can get muddled with the rest of the anti-American crap bouncing around out there in cyber-space and the media.
Let me be clear, quoting Taleb’s recent article: The Birth of Stochastic Science.
I am convinced that the future of America is rosier than people claim…
It fosters entrepreneurs and creators, not exam takers, bureaucrats or, worse, deluded economists. So the perceived weakness of the American pupil in conventional and theoretical studies is where it very strength lies — it produces “doers”, Black Swan hunting, dream-chasing entrepreneurs, or others with a tolerance for risk-taking which attracts aggressive tinkering foreigners.
I think this country is in the process of a splintering dichotomy. On the left-coast (and in cyberspace throughout) the country and innovation is booming at an ever increasing clip. This is primarily being driven by the increased capacity for the consumption and distribution of content that is now mainstream through the internet and mobile devices.
This amped-up connectivity has spurred a whole army of innovators and creators, from simple blog-applications like the one I am writing on, to cool connectivity sites like: pownce.com twitter.com iminlikewithyou.com Or the regulars like: youtube.com facebook.com digg.com the I-phone and the Blackberry.
These sites/devices/applications are allowing people to come together to collaborate and share in ways that were never before possible, and this will allow better coordination, experimentation, and ultimately creation.
And of course…on the other side of the country:
The credit markets and the developed financial systems are reeling. They will continue to reel as the ripple effects of too much capital deployed too cheaply on the levered backs of normal Americans continues to play out. I am continually amazed that people even react to mortgage company layoffs like those announced by CFC over the weekend or the worst home sales since 2001.
Mozilo himself (the CFC CEO who literally made more than $700 mm from selling his shares over the last year) has said that he doesn’t see a bottom before late 2008. So if the guy who has made so much money from the game and is most incentivized to keep the thing afloat publicly says there is no bottom until late 2008, my money is that it will be at LEAST that long.
I hope he is wrong, but I would be surprised if he is.
But as Taleb says: most of it is random anyway.
So while the old-coast is crumbling, the new-coast is bubbling with innovation, and that makes me proud to be an American.