May you live in interesting times


While the source of the above phrase is in some dispute, it is generally assumed to be a curse, rather than a blessing.  It is obvious that we are now living in “interesting times.”   That brings us to the topic of the economic crisis and its effect on the rapidly burgeoning econoblogosphere.

Abnormal Returns reader John recently wrote us noting that the daily linkfests are getting longer.  We have been thinking this for some time now, and have noticed the increased time it take to put the linkfests together.  This has not been a conscious decision.  Indeed we think the quality of the items to which are linking are of a higher quality than ever before.

If we haven’t loosened our standards, what is happening?  Two things.  First, the economic crisis has unleashed any number of topics worthy of note.  Second, the econoblogosphere has expanded with a number of high quality professional and amateur sites all looking to comment on the increasingly changed economic and financial world in which we live.

Some of this commentary is worth noting to our readership, the rest lies outside our sphere of interest.  Where do we draw the line?  In an earlier post we noted the distinction between positive and normative economics and applied it to the blogosphere.  Our goal is to help readers get a handle on what is, not necessarily what will (or should) be.  Forecasting has never been the focus of this site.

We have thought about cutting back on what could be described as straight economic links and focusing more on investment links.  Some days the complexity (and enormity) of the news can make your head spin.  We have come to the conclusion that as investors (and citizens) it makes sense to stay on top of these trends.  Whether you are a day trader or a long-term buy-and-hold investor it is important to have a grasp on the economic environment in which we now live (and operate).

With the burgeoning role of the federal government into the corporate world, the specter of politics raises its ugly head.  Jeff Miller at A Dash of Insight makes (another) interesting point on the role of politics in investing.  Jeff suggest investors be “political agnostics.”  The idea being that we all have our opinions on how things should be run, but trying to mix our political preferences into our investment portfolios will only lead to trouble.

Think back over the past eighteen months:  the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, the bankruptcy of Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros., record market volatility and the takeover of broad swaths of the finance and automaking sectors of the economy, just to name a few.

As Crash Davis famously said in the baseball movie Bull Durham, “We’re dealing with a lot of s**t.”  Until that changes, expect longer linkfests.  For all our sakes, let’s hope for less interesting times ahead.

2 Responses to “May you live in interesting times”

  1. 1 RM

    You should check out this paper on Information Overload which draws “insights from Organization Science, Accounting, Marketing, MIS, and Related Disciplines.” The section on Countermeasures against Information Overload in particular could give some useful ideas.

    Click to access wpca0301.pdf

  2. 2 Ken

    Who cares if the linkfests are long? It’s more stuff to check out. I would rather Abnormal Returns searches all those blogs than me. That way, I can get more work done.

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