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Seems Like Old Times!

By

Using history as a market guide.

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Back then, corporate malfeasance was the root of rage. Today, hedge funds are perceived to be an acceptable casualty of war.

Back then, we had venture capitalism and private equity. Today, we have an alphabet soup of government-sponsored acronyms.

Back then, we rationalized dot.com valuations. Today, we rationalize debt levels and push the bar tab to our children.

Back then, Nobel Prize winners were held to task. Today, Goldman Sachs (GS) is in the populist crosshairs and politicians are fielding death threats

Back then, society succumbed to the sexy sirens of Wall Street wealth. Today, there's a rush to disassociate from all things financial.

Back then, the FOMC walked the tightrope. Today, they're fitting a noose.

Back then, the bears were scared. Today, they're hibernating.

Back then, we had a financed-based economy. Today, we have a finance-dependent economy.

Back then, many were looking for a better job. Today, almost one-in-five is underemployed.

Back then, Gordon Gekko was a financial icon. Today, he's coming soon to a theater near you.

Back then, we saw a fear of missing. Today, there is just plain fear.

There are numerous threads between the decades but perhaps the truest extension is one of longing. After bubbles and busts and synthetic booms still, regardless of price and no matter the time, nobody seems to be where they wish or have what they want. Some feel cheated; many are forlorn.

The irony of our current quest is that those who preserved capital and saved for the future were punished by fiscal and monetary policy; the stock market, once a proxy of innovation, morphed into a matter of national security. In the process, we've lost more than our innocence, we've lost our way.

Perhaps twisted manipulation has existed since the beginning of time and I'm late to the game in noting it now. But as someone who has lived on both sides of the tracks, I can relate to the indifference of deep pockets and empathize with those forced to make difficult decisions. See Memoirs of a Minyan.

Ironically, both ends of our societal spectrum share a common characteristic; they pine for a bigger piece of the American pie, with the have-nots aspiring to be haves and the haves always wanting to have more. It's no longer a question of relative standing, however; for many, it's a matter of financial survival.

Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same but this time, battle lines are being drawn and patience is wearing thin. As social mood shapes financial markets and society is a sum of the parts, we must respect this seemingly amorphous dynamic as we together find our way.

R.P.
Position in S&P

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at todd@minyanville.com.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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