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The Era of Irrational Apathy

Here’s a great post from Josh about the stock market’s general apathy that got me thinking about the macroeconomic picture.  The post-crisis period has been a pretty extraordinary economic environment. What many people thought was a foray into a Great Depression style era has actually turned out to be a pretty amazing recovery.

It’s an interesting thing to think about in a macro sense because I think what’s happening is rather simple – hyperglobalization and tech advancement have made us more aware of all the bad stuff going on and we’re biased towards focusing on those things. But the reality is that there’s never been a better time to be alive. Check out some of these stats:

One of the general themes of this blog has been the focus on all the bearish BS that people promote that just isn’t true. Yeah, I’ve busted waaaaaaaay too many of these nonsensical myths. But despite my efforts there is still a general sense of apathy out there. It’s nowhere more obvious than in the political climate. Yeah, there are things to be pissed off about, but they’re mostly distributional issues like income and wealth inequality, which are policy problems and not general economic problems.

Anyhow, don’t let the era of irrational apathy get you down. As Louis CK once said, “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy”. So yeah, the next time you’re sitting on a toilet reading your mobile phone at 30,000 feet just remember that things aren’t really that bad.²

¹ – The stock market is, arguably, the one place where there are reasonable arguments about excessive optimism. But I think we have to be careful implying that this is a bubble or an unsustainable bull market. While current stock market levels are consistent with above average risk in equities it does not mean that a crash is imminent.  

² – I do not endorse sitting on airplane toilet seats.