Special Guest Blog: Getting Our Bets Down

As we’re just coming into February, I think it’s still early enough in the year to get our bets down for the end of 2013.

Right now, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at just about 14,000. To the usual one-move level of analysis that most of the news programs and print publications display, this means something. Golly Gee, the economy recovered! Right? What’s that? The DJIA by itself is meaningless? It’s like telling a doctor someone’s height (but nothing else) and then expecting a diagnosis of the patient’s health?

But this is how the media works all the time. A quick snapshot of one or two aspects of a significant problem, a simper to the camera, a cutaway to a video of someone on a high school sports team scoring points in a remarkable way, and then roll the end credits.

So how about this year, we get a few bets down now for review on Dec. 31, 2013. Most of us who comment on this site love to put forward our opinions. So let’s get it all down in one spot. If anyone has any theories about what the state of any particular issue will be by year’s end, put it in the comments section. I’d love to see how well we all do.

For me, I’ll make a few guesses right off the top. The DJIA at year’s end will be around 12,400. The U-2 stat for unemployment will be around 6.1%. The U-6 stat for unemployment will be at about 20%. If anyone has any other stat they want to get in, just go ahead. If there’s enough interest in this, I’ll put it all together in a table.

5 thoughts on “Special Guest Blog: Getting Our Bets Down

  1. No bet from me on a situation this volatile.

    I would like to point out that the DJIA is actually very informative. The Dow tells us how much money rich people are pulling in. In particularly prosperous times, this includes the more prosperous members of the working class, whom we call “middle class” in order to avoid thinking about the class structure in substantial terms. In hard times, it is an indication of how hard the poor are being squeezed.

    A lot of other data is needed to determine whether times are “prosperous” or “hard” but once you have that, the Dow becomes a clear index of economic injustice. It tells us to what extent a bad economy is an unfortunate event and to what extent it is a deliberate crime. When the poor are getting poorer, we need to demand a falling stock market.

  2. This is interesting, and I would love to participate, but like Wat, I think things are too volatile, and simultaneously too quasi-rigorously propped up. As such it is impossible to tell what will collapse by Dec 2013 and how much it will fall apart versus what will maintain the illusion of stability perhaps for years to come. So I am abstaining, but only because I really can’t say for sure when things are going down and how far they will go when they do.

    I also slightly dispute your DJIA to height analogy. DJIA is a meaningful metric for a small part of the economy, just not the whole economy. A better health analogy would be like a heart beat. The analogy would be a doctor who based all his or her decisions solely on heart beat, which to the neive non-thinker seems like a meaningful singular metric, but even quick reflection reveals otherwise. Once you think about it then your realize that there are hundreds of health maladies, like say brain cancer, that have no effect on heart beat until the last possible moments; well after an important and more thorough health diagnosis would be way too late to make a difference.

    DJIA is the same. It does measure some aspects of economic health. However, the DJIA can be soaring while the country is dying of a social-economic cancer. Much like the heart beat, the DJIA won’t reflect such ill health until the last few moments of collapse – years after more relevant and thorough metrics would have indicated that such a collapse had already become unavoidable.

  3. First thought was, “No one can predict the future.”

    Funny, I’m a ‘futures’ trader, make my living predicting the future – about five minutes at a time.

    Then as the question settled in to the space between thoughts, I got very sad.

    I’m afraid it’s a lot better than even odds that we’re going to have more mass gun violence in this country in the next eleven months.

    And it’s a sure thing that people just like you and me, like our parents and brothers and sisters and our children, are going to be killed in increasing numbers in Pakistan, Yemen, Mali?, Syria? in our names in the not-to-be-questioned drone war.

    Will this be the year when a husband whose wife is denied treatment takes out after the president of her HMO? The year when a worker whose factory has been moved overseas goes after the CEO? (I don’t understand the mentality of rust-belt deer hunters who have turned the loss of their jobs into depression and self loathing. Why have none of them looked toward those responsible? Lack of imagination?)

    If the Justice (!) Department won’t see to Corzine and Co., maybe this year just one of the ten thousand (10,000!) people who lost money in their futures accounts will buy a one-way ticket to the Hamptons.

    Could this be the year when one of the hundreds of thousands of people who were fucked in the mortgage/foreclosure misdeeds looks up the name and address of his originator, property assessor, mortgage banker… ?

    I know, all these suppositions are being filed in Big Brothers computer memory…

    Written in a (as yet) free county.

    For the record, I voted for Ralph every time he ran. Didn’t vote this last time.

    Bill M
    Vero Beach FL

  4. I guess since I am abstaining from throwing down original proposals I’ll second things.

    I’ll second Alex’s predictions for unemployment (though with a few % more leeway in either direction.)

    and I’ll second BillMasi’s prediction of more fed up and desperate people resorting to gun violence – though unlike Bill I would wager that, as always, none of them bother shooting the people who are actually the source of their desperation and misery but instead either gun down random strangers in the most crowded area they can find, or just start shooting people up in a place they are familiar with.

    @BillMasi: the issue with the ignorant use of “suicide shooters” rampage in America is a well crafted one. Americans have been well conditioned to regard each other with spite (see here for primer: http://exiledonline.com/we-the-spiteful/ ). This has many advantages for the elite. The primary one is that people keep each other down, they don’t care if they can’t have something or if things in their lives aren’t working so long as that is also true of no one else they know. Thus when their life goes belly up they don’t think “who did this to me?” they think “if my life fell apart then things are fine as long as everyone else’s I know and or see in areas familiar to me life is ruined as well.” Between that and anti-politic I think it will be very late in the game before you start seeing suicide shooters pursue the people who are the actual source of the problems. Until then, it will be shooting up crowds, shooting up familiar areas, and less frequently, shooting up government employes (thanks antipolitic!) and by that I mean random nobody powerless pencil pusher government employes not actual corrupt politicians or people who could really in any way be pointed out as a serious source of problems or misery.

    As for getting logged in big brothers memory bank, welcome to the club. At least you haven’t been put through an airport explosives detector only to almost max out its readings (Note: no actual explosives on me, but big brother doesn’t care, and takes permanent interest.)

  5. Put me down for no significant changes. In well, anything.

    2014 on the other hand- that is going to be the year where we see if the left gets it and becomes relevant again, or if they finally lose it altogether.

    Either way, there’s going to be a lot of changes in 2014. In contrast, 2013 is more or less a holding year.