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Current Market Conditions
Copyright, Li Read, 2008
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Well, well...crashing stock markets, wildly volatile, with huge dips, small
recharges/increases, further dipping. Lots of pundits filling up the airspace with
prognostications, mostly with a message of gloom.
Some people might remember the Depression Era, either because they're still with us, or
because their parents or grandparents passed along the lore of this desperate time. Many,
though, in positions of influence, only remember buoyant times, with short-lived
recessionary swings, but, overall, a consistent upward movement.
Who was it who said that those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it?
Sounds like a karmic prophecy to me.
So, what can we count on?
We look, it seems, to others. We subscribe to newsletters with opinion, we give over our
life savings to "advisors", & hope that we have a nest egg when we need it; we assume that
someone else will have the answer to our unspoken questions.
We assume that someone will play the role of our mothers, with their undivided attention,
and their unwavering ability to solve all our problems (whether or not our mothers
actually did this is immaterial -- it's the vision of motherhood, with band-aids and
second chances, and the adult voice that knows all, that we seem to be looking for).
So, here it is. Our late 20th Century education was sorely lacking in the one thing that
would help us in the Twenty-First Century: the "editing function". (If we'd had that
operating, would the subprime have occurred?).
It's called the Information Age. To me, it seems merely a constant slosh of data, all
seemingly evenly weighted, and therefore all apparently "equal", and with so much of it,
that there's too much, and thus it all becomes meaningless -- we're numbed by data.
There's no button for "off".
Since we forgot to be taught how to "think", which implies that we consider the data, and
make some judgment calls, based on experience, education, and good old fashioned common
sense, we often wallow in the seas of disarray.
Without some ranking of the information, in importance and usefulness, we cannot move
forward or backwards, and there we are, sloshing about in the swimming pool, unable to
strike out for the deep end or the shallow, uncertain whether to go for the steps or the
ladder, and waiting for someone else to throw us the life preserver.
Right? Left? Inflation? Deflation? My gut instinct? The paid financial advisor's opinion?
Can I trust myself?
The early days of the Twenty First Century are full of insecurities. It's like those
Charles Dickens and George Eliot novels, from the 19th Century. At that time, the
centuries old Agrarian lifestyle was grinding through, like roughing up against very fine
sandpaper, rubbing against the newly emerging Industrial Revolution -- many jobs
disappeared, and several new ones appeared. It depended which side of the sandpaper mitt
you were on, as to whether you prospered or disappeared.
It took about a hundred years to settle out, and there was pain and suffering, on the side
of those affected by the demise of the Agrarian world. In retrospect, we wonder why more
people didn't see the writing on the wall, and follow the new trends to success, but
that's a "hind sight" comment.
I think we're at one of those pivotal moments, again, only instead of a country, it's a
world that's emerging to the "new" paradigm.
Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian futurist, who foretold the "global village" back in the
1960s/1970s, caught the important factor. We are different people, post-Industrial, and
those who can catch the arrow of the future will find their lifestyles will survive, and
those who try to hang onto the past will discover that theirs will disappear.
It's the eternal dichotomy -- the yin and the yang. The perfect model, then, for the
binary world. On...off...on...off. Yes...no...yes...no.
As Kierkegaard reminded us, in the latter part of the 19th Century, there is only
either...or. We think there's a middle ground, perhaps so we can hedge our bets. There is,
however, no grey territory. Surely, if it does nothing else, the digital world exemplifies
Important, though, in this time of constant change, with disappearing landmarks, to
remember out editing function, & to try to separate out what is actually important from
what is only data.
Important, too, to remember one's personal world is as important as a global fishtank, and
that withdrawal into our sanctuaries (even if they're merely intellectual, and not also
physical), can recharge us.
If we just keep sloshing in the sea of no direction, without pause (on...off...on..off),
we'll be out there forever, stressed and exhausted, and the concept of enjoyment will have
sunk to the bottom.
Some market traders note that when things appear their gloomiest, it's a good signal to
buy. They also note that when the pendulum swings too far to any side, it's a signal that
a shift in the opposite direction is about to start. Those who promote good hard asset
investment note that purchases of secondary home locations continues, especially in resort
based areas (one day, the thinking goes, I will retire to my ski chalet or to my oceanside
dream or to my farm in the country). The trend continues, also, that such a buyer will pay
more for their secondary retreat home than they will for a primary residence, as it is
seen as a retirement option.
There is a lot of money still washing the world, and this global buyer is seeking an area
and a property that offers long term appreciation value, and is protected, in some
fashion, because it is a "premiere" property/location. Salt Spring Island, and the
Southern Gulf Islands, do offer this component. The Islands Trust, with its strong
government mandated "preserve and protect" credo, which means a no-growth policy, and
where the microclimate temperate weather, the beauty of the area, and its privacy,
combined with ease of access to major centres, all conspire to create a truly idyllic
lifestyle, are also the reasons that forecast appreciation in value for this region. The
fact that it also lies in the best boating waters of the pristine Pacific Northwest Coast
is a further "plus" to an investment, here.
More details? Call Li, direct, and ask about how you can make the uncertainty of this
immediate moment work for you!
So...seen the films "Brazil" (Terry Gilliam's perfect rendering of organized chaos) and
"Stranger Than Fiction", with Will Ferrell (is there a message, here, about "life")?
Your thoughts? Always welcome!
Entries for 2006
Entries for 2005 & Earlier
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2