Rob Wile at Businessinsider.com asked me to clarify my prediction of a 20% stock market correction in 2013. (See my post below.) So I tapped out the following message on my smartphone:

---- Start ----

"I'm glad you had the wisdom to get a cartoonist's opinion on global financial markets. 
The 20% estimate is based on the fact that 20 is a big round number and more likely to happen than 30%. I don't like to over-think these things. 
My reasoning is that the people at the highest levels of finance are brilliant people who chose a profession with the credibility of astrology. And they know it. Then they sell their advice to people who don't know it. So that's your cast of characters. 
Now consider that the characters - who are literally geniuses in many cases - have an immense financial motive, opportunity, and a near-zero risk of getting caught. How do you think that plays out?

We can only give a guess of the odds that the market is being manipulated. So I ask myself: How often does the fox leave the hen house because he feels that taking an egg would be wrong?
If you have a different answer from mine, I applaud your faith in human nature."

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Mar 4, 2013
If foxes limited themselves to eggs, the metaphor would apply only to financial people who take commissions. Foxes actually take chickens, which causes the anticipated eggs from that chicken to not exist, in spite of the rosy predictions of the foxy egg-production analysts. So your analogy is correct, but the detail is slightly askew.

By the way, my company had a generous profit-sharing plan (unheard of these days), but I couldn't get at any of the money until I retired. I missed out on buying lots of useless goods when I was younger, but now I'm glad they restrained me. I don't know if they cheated me or not, but during the boom days of the 1990s, a rising tide allowed my ship to float in spite of all the ballast. I doubt we'll see those days for a long time, so when the tide goes down, the effect of those financial manipulators shows up. The grandfathers of those guys were pulling in suckers in the 1920s, and when the whole thing collapsed in 1929, some of them went to jail. Too bad that's not happening this time.

+28 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 4, 2013
I feel obliged to point out that while 30 is a round number, 20 has that flat section.
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