Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Call a Different Kind of Market Top

A contradiction that agitates me: Nearly every school of thought on this celestial orb named Earth believes the following: Money doesn't buy happiness. Yet what happens when a rich person complains? "Oh, what does he have to complain about? He's rich."

So money can't buy happiness, but the rich have no right to be unhappy because they're rich? If the rich can't be unhappy, then money must buy happiness (a snake eating its own tail enters stage left). What's cute is people make these statements back to back without noting the conflict.

Around the start of the 21st Century, hip-hop introduced the world to the concept of player/playa-hating. From urbandictionary.com: "when someone is a player, and your [sic] jealous of them, you are a Player hater."

Stars like Puffy managed to deflect criticism simply by accusing the critic of being jealous of his money and success. It couldn't be that Puffy's songs were blander than moisture-free water. The only possible motive for criticizing him was jealousy and "hate;" even if the critic was Keith Richards, who had enough money and success to overdose on drugs and fame. Soon everyone carried a deck full of "you're a playa hater" trump cards.

Today nobody says "hata." Quite the opposite. Major celebs like the Kardashians and Charlie Sheen get hammered non-stop. Sometimes it's hard to tell if Twitter is a marketing tool or a firing squad.

Post-credit crisis we seem to be living through an inversion of playa hating. Everyone is welcome to throw tomatoes at those on top, and those on top aren't supposed to complain or fight back because they're on top. "C'mon, he's a big, rich guy and I've been out of work for six months..."

Today it appears the successful can't respond to criticism without attracting criticism. The less successful have free reign, and the elites have to sit there and take it, because, after all, they're rich and powerful, so what do they have to complain about?

Perhaps it is only in good economic times that concepts like playa hater can flourish. In periods of broad economic strain, the 99% feel they have less chance of becoming playas themselves and lash out accordingly. When they feel the ladder is open to them, they wonder if the critics really are just jealous. You've heard about the hemline index; the theory that hemlines rise as stocks rise. Maybe we need a hata index. When Taylor Swift starts accusing everyone of jealousy and regular people join in the chorus, maybe the market is nearing a top and it is time to sell.

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