wealth destruction


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Along the continuum of irrational financial behavior, it can be tricky to tell the difference between a bubble, a mania, and mere touch of exuberance. A bubble is reserved for the height of folly, and history is rich with folly.

So how would we know that we’re in an ‘asset bubble’? What do they look like and what can we expect when one bursts? The Fed famously likes to claim that you can’t spot one until it bursts. But actually you can, and the definition is pretty simple.

Bubbles used to happen once every generation or so, because it took time to forget the pain from the damage. Today we are facing the bursting of a second major asset bubble, housing, spaced less than ten years from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. This is simply astounding and thoroughly unprecedented. It is the largest bubble in all of history and will probably be the most destructive. And it is happening right now.