In my view, 1982 through 2007 was the golden age of capitalism. No one announced its beginning, and very few people realized its end, but as measured by the pendulum of social and economic change, I believe the generational timespan of that quarter-century embodies the resurgence, and then self-immolation, of American capitalism.
Off the top of my head, those years, we had:
- The great bull markets of 1982-1987 and 1991-2000;
- Lower taxes;
- A more docile IRS;
- A resurgence in Republican strength (think Newt Gingrinch);
- A strong America capable of winning major wars in 72 hours;
- Historic IPOs like Netscape and Google;
- The rise of Silicon Valley from obscurity to the center of the world;
- Economic globalization (think BRIC);
- The collapse of the USSR;
- Hero-worship of the rich (including hedge fund managers);
- Widespread popularity of books about money and assets;
I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
The pendulum has just started to swing the other way, and I don't think it's a little bobble before we return to the above. I seriously think we are in for just as long as period – – and just as deep a change – – as the era above. We'll be stumbling our way back to where things were in the late 1970s……….malaise, weakness, and Billy Beer.
What would people think if, just six months ago, you speculated that Citigroup would be a nationalized institution? Would they laugh at you? Look at you as if you were insane? Cart you off to a rubber room?
That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. When Obama speaks of a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to change the government, he isn't talking about remodeling the oval office. The "opportunity" is the most dramatic expansion of the government and its instrusions than any of us have seen in our lifetimes.
All I'm saying is that the market's 50%+ plunge is signaling the changes to come, and then the market finally bottoms (and my best guess is that this is going to be in the 4000 area on the Dow), we will have been witness to exploited "opportunities" that we can scarcely imagine today.