Thursday, June 16, 2011

A World Without Soothsayers defines a soothsayer as "a person who professes to foretell events." Another name for this type of person is a prognosticator or clairvoyant, and I can't help but think that Wall Street is becoming populated more and more with these types of people and less and less with people who actually know something. In short, Wall Street is trying to sell you something that they shouldn't: their predictive power.

The problem with Wall Street analysts and strategists making predictions and claims is that they're never held accountable. They are free to predict Dow 36,000, economic malaise, food lines and the like without any system of checks and balances. After all, why should they have one? The people making these predictions get paid to make them and for the most part, get to keep their jobs even if they're wrong. Just like your local weatherman may think but never openly admit, "we have met the enemy and he is us".

All of this leads me to the question - what would a world without market soothsayers be like? If Wall Street's hype and prediction machine collectively ceased to exist, would things run more efficiently? For one, dissemination of facts and true information could be acted upon without the potential for personal judgment to be clouded by the opinions of others. It may sound like a perfect world, one in which Wall Street and the media have no ability to impact your investments. Indeed, it is a perfect world for all investors - it is the world in which we simply ignore what Wall Street's prognosticators are saying and enjoy our lives.

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