What a Bear Market Looks Like

But for those of us who were investing in tech and tech startups back in 1999-2002, that time will forever be etched in our minds. It was a brutal period during which our belief in the Internet and its potential was sorely tested. Many friends and colleagues left the sector and never returned.

So while crypto asset prices are down 80-95% in USD terms over the last year, they could and probably will go lower. Amazon was down 80% a year into the post-bubble bear market and it got cut in half again before it made a bottom almost two years after it peaked.

What we have yet to see in crypto land is when they kick you when you are down. And that is certainly coming. Regulators came after the Internet sector in a big way post the bubble and that seems likely to happen in the crypto sector too.

And most everyone in big companies wrote the Internet sector off, cancelling their Internet efforts as a fool’s errand. That seems likely to happen in crypto too.

-Fred Wilson, “What Bear Markets Look Like.” AVC.com. November 25, 2018.

Note the date(s). h/t to Jason Yanowitz.

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

“This time last year it looked like we might have a standard bubble with resulting standard pain for the economy. But during the year, the bubble advanced to the category of superbubble, one of only three in modern times in U.S. equities, and the potential pain has increased accordingly. Even more dangerously for all of us, the equity bubble, which last year was already accompanied by extreme low interest rates and high bond prices, has now been joined by a bubble in housing and an incipient bubble in commodities.

One of the main reasons I deplore superbubbles – and resent the Fed and other financial authorities for allowing and facilitating them – is the underrecognized damage that bubbles cause as they deflate and mark down our wealth. As bubbles form, they give us a ludicrously overstated view of our real wealth, which encourages us to spend accordingly. Then, as bubbles break, they crush most of those dreams and accelerate the negative economic forces on the way down. To allow bubbles, let alone help them along, is simply bad economic policy.

What nobody seems to discuss is that higher-priced assets are simply worse than lower-priced ones. When farms or commercial forests, for example, double in price so that yields fall from 6% to 3% (as they actually have) you feel richer. But your wealth compounds much more slowly at bubble pricing, and your income also falls behind. Some deal! And if you’re young, waiting to buy your first house or your first portfolio, it is too expensive to get even started. You can only envy your parents and feel badly treated, which you have been.”

-Jeremy Grantham, “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin*” gmo.com. January 20, 2022

Over the Long Term: Good Market > Good Team

“These data points made me think about an important piece of advice that a well respected hedge fund manager once told me — most of your financial returns will come from the markets you select to invest in, rather than the actual securities you decide to hold. Another way to think about it is through the lens of entrepreneurship advice “When a good team meets a bad market, the market wins. When a bad team meets a good market, the market wins.”

So much of compounding is predicated on the idea that a high rate of compounding will continue for decades. If you’re successful in finding one of these markets, the challenge won’t be in making many good decisions, but rather in having the discipline and emotional control to avoid making any decisions at all. This is ultimately where I think bitcoin is at the moment. It continues to compound at an impressive rate. You just have to be patient enough to outlast everyone who can’t think long term.”

Anthony Pompliano, “Warren Buffett, Bitcoin, and Compounding.” pomp.substack.com. December 14, 2021

Market Inefficiency vs. Other Values

“Efficient systems have limited ability to deal with system-wide economic shocks. Those shocks are coming with increased frequency. They’re caused by global pandemics, yes, but also by climate change, by financial crises, by political crises. If we want to be secure against these crises and more, we need to add inefficiency back into our systems.

I don’t simply mean that we need to make our food production, or healthcare system, or supply chains sloppy and wasteful. We need a certain kind of inefficiency, and it depends on the system in question. Sometimes we need redundancy. Sometimes we need diversity. Sometimes we need overcapacity.

The market isn’t going to supply any of these things, least of all in a strategic capacity that will result in resilience. What’s necessary to make any of this work is regulation.

—Bruce Schneier, “Bruce Schneier says we need to embrace inefficiency to save our economy.” Quartz. June 30, 2020

Kinky Labor Supply and the Attention Tax — Kortina

“As an example, consider how this increased competition plays out in online dating platforms. On Tinder, the top 20% of men are competing for the top 78% of women. Why? It’s a matter of the breadth of selection. Offline, due to the constraints of physical space and time, any given woman would have a finite set of potential partners to choose from. Online, the selection is much more vast and most women only “like” the most attractive men. The Gini coefficient for the “Tinder economy” is 0.58, which means that it has higher inequality than 95% the world’s national economies – in other words, it’s pretty grim if you’re a man in the bottom 80%.”

—Andrew Kortina and Namrata Patel. “Labor Supply and the Attention Tax.” kortina.nyc. October 13, 2018.

Strikes me as pretty grim for the bottom 80% of women too. Dissatisfied because of “settling” for a man of equal attractiveness, competing on qualities such as sexual availability or submissiveness, and other generally undesirable outcomes.