Sep 29

On Certain Tuesdays in October

Ah, you say, but it’s not October yet.


I don’t know of any site that sorts stock market activity by days of the week, but I have a guess that Tuesdays are running at a substantial net loss. Not that Mondays have a great recent record either.

And the crashes of ’29 and ’87 were both October phenomena. And I don’t think the rest of the years’ worth of Octobers have done all that well either. I once read a few things about why October is a witchy month for the markets, stuck between anticipation of the holidays and everything else. All kinds of things seem to come due in October. And I’m hardly just talking about the market.

I guess that it’s not considered good manners to be gleeful on the day of a record stock market drop in America. I could make lots of arguments for you, ranging from the fact that I have enough invested in the market myself to keep me honest and sincere, to the fact that I really believe in my heart of hearts that more good can come from stock market crashes than almost anything I can imagine right now. Really. But I guess I’ll sum up my defense with this: today will probably only be a record for one day.

Yeah. I would, uh, suggest getting your money out.*

*Of course, there’s a decent likelihood that everything will bounce tomorrow, higher than it’s ever been before. October is nothing if not volatile, and the market is a haven of volatility and tumult these days. Could I rule out a 900-point jump tomorrow followed by an 1100-point collapse on Wednesday, perhaps culminating in a flat week? Of course not. In fact, that may be the most probable outcome of all.

But for one day, at the very least, I can say I’m happy and, more than that, hopeful. I remember telling Fish in Chicago in April that there was a big part of me that felt that the United States had a decent chance of collapsing in the next 20 years and that its doing so, and doing so sooner than later, was the best thing that could happen to the planet. Now it’s feeling a little more like 20 minutes. To which I must say: bring it on.

Too harsh? Too cavalier? Yes, people’s lives are at stake. But the more humbled this country gets, the more everyone will have to understand what it is to be a citizen of the world, not just one privileged spoiled nation. The more equalized the playing field gets here, and between here and everywhere else, the more reasonable everyone’s expectations will become.

For too long, the United States has been touting itself as an example, a model, evidence of what innate, unchecked greed and ambition can do for you. Inspiring the worst of hopes in everyone, that they too can get rich quick rather than helping their neighbor.

Kids, you always get what you give. It just might be The End of Capitalism. The snake chomping its tail may have finally swallowed itself whole, never to return.

I’m getting ahead of myself. But hope is, after all, a dangerous thing.

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