Complacency That Makes You Go Hmmm

Tyler Durden's picture

Time for another dose of original observations and compiled content from the pen of Grant Williams and his latest "Things that make you go hmmmm" which this time focuses, appropriately, on the topic of complacency: "It seems to me that if there were a futures contract in complacency, it would certainly not be in need of a CME margin hike due to a completely lopsided supply/demand picture. Yes I’m sure there would be all kinds of whack-jobs talking about a conspiracy to sell complacency short and thus flood the world with unbacked self-satisfaction and unawareness, but the simple truth is, complacency occurs naturally for the most part and is in abundance roughly 95% of the time. Lately, however, a curious phenomenon has taken place. Back in the dying days of the 20th century, Doctor Alan Greenspan discovered a way to manufacture a super-strain of artificial complacency by adding confidence and using the power of words and the setting of interest rates.  Greenspan soldiered on and, when Long Term Capital Management hit the skids in 1998, he set about his grand experiment - introducing manufactured complacency into the financial marketplace. Prior to 1998, the business world had largely existed on a traditional cycle of boom and bust as contraction followed expansion and failing businesses were allowed to meet their inevitable demise. They were heady days indeed. People were wary of the potential pitfalls of bad decision-making and, while complacency was most certainly evident, its supply/demand situation spent many long periods in perfect equilibrium. After Dr. Greenspan’s introduction of artificial complacency, however, things began to change..."

Full report (pdf)

Hmmm May 15 2011

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Piranhanoia's picture

Dr.,   he couldn't change a tire.'s picture

The Pat Reilly quote is amazingly insightful....

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Misattributed - it was actually Charles Nelson Reilly talking about his Match Game cohorts...

buzzsaw99's picture

The new paradigm is that no risk exists anywhere. Risk is passe.

RobotTrader's picture

All Ords in Australia getting slammed pretty hard.

Dollar and bonds going up yet again.

They better turn these commodities around soon, or the SPY doesn't have a chance.

Retail stocks can't hold the market up all by themselves.

GOSPLAN HERO's picture

The USD died years ago.

We have paper FRNs not USDs.

TooBearish's picture

Dood Complaceny pays - BTFD

JR's picture

The success of the lies coming from our rulers often have depended on the apathy and ignorance of the people.  Nietzsche for example, had an interesting answer to the question: How is man to tell the truth from error?

The ignorant man, he said, solves this problem in a very simple manner: He holds that whatever he believes he knows; and whatever he knows is true.

Now that's complacency!

buzzsaw99's picture

Bail me out or the stock market gets it bitchez!

dbTX's picture

A bit off this thread, but my thought.


Hedge against all inevitabilities, almost all probabilities and as many possibilities as one can.

rufusbird's picture

Manthong's picture

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the Pulitzer a conformity award -- like the Nobel?

Caviar Emptor's picture

Fine line between benign complacency and malignant denial. Skating over thin ice feels so good until...

Saxxon's picture

The ceaseless hand-wringing on this issue is tiresome.

Let the American masses remain complacent.  I am not going to waste any energy trying to edumicate them otherwise.  I will be their Rentier, and they my tenants.  I work harder, am smarter and take more risks than most of them - this works for me.  In fact, I am already profiting from it.


I am Jobe's picture

You don't own yourself -- the Federal Reserve does.

JR's picture

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.” -- from “A World Split Apart” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Commencement Address delivered at Harvard University in 1978

dogbreath's picture

a great great man.  rest in peace a.s.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

You all are not going to believe this...

Some of my upperclassmen friends just graduated college this evening, so I decided to attended the ceremony.

One of the students thanked President Obama during one of the speeches for reversing Bush's "Disastrous Economic Policies" and saving our economy and the Middle Class from "Destruction". Then went on to explain how this graduating class and generation have the "greatest opportunities ever offered a generation of graduates in modern history".

I couldn't believe the BS that was being spewed!!! It was unbelievable!

Any idea when they will eat their words?

JR's picture

I was walking my dog this morning, baby_BLTHE, and overheard a man talking to a woman who asked him how he was doing. He appeared to be in his fifties. 

Well, he said, okay I guess but people all around me are being laid off and it appears I could be next.  I’ll just have to wait and see...

To use an Obama-versus-Bush example marks your graduating student as a Democrat partisan.  And so, your speaker, BB, likes what the Democrats stand for and he’s buying their story that they fixed everything.  Up till now he’s been able to believe anything he wants, but he’s going to find out now if that’s true.

And after he works for a year at McDonald’s he might not be a sure vote to re-elect Obama.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

I feel for him and know of others in my own family even in similar circumstances.

That being said, I will be sure to cancel out his vote for Obama with my vote for Ron Paul ;)

Clowns on Acid's picture

baby_Blythe - it's called the Barack's Man's Burden. These deluded hipsters believe that if they just promote, at all costs and w/o thinking,  a black President, then all the animosity and socio-economic "unfairness" will just go away and we all will be driving battery powered Volts and blowing kisses out the windows.

This of course will not happen and those same morons will taste dissapointment that will either shake them to their core, or they will take to the streets and be taken down.

Don't invite them to any of your post grad parties.  

JR's picture

Paul as Paladin by James N. Herndon  |

Did you ever notice how most fortune tellers operate out of a shack? This credibility-crushing anomaly doesn’t seem to bother most people, however. We’re told that these "servants of fate" cannot, by definition, use their special powers for self-advancement. (Makes perfect sense to me.)

Kind of reminds you of congressmen. They’re fortune tellers, too, inhabiting a federal ruin. Still, the trusting voter invests in the hope. And the politician provides the rope. Over the years, the noose tightens insidiously, and, then, one day, the trap door springs open. On the way down, the voter’s lifetime of wasted votes flashes before his eyes. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge for the terminally innocent.

Admittedly, the whole process has a certain insane beauty, perhaps due to our peculiarly American penchant for self-deception. Ultimately, the "deal" that Congress has made with the voter is this: We’ll give you The Great Society (bread, circuses, and foreign enemies), and, while you are otherwise occupied, we will provide representation to our true constituents (banks, the war machine, and big business).

In case anyone is wondering (spoiler alert), this "deal" has an unhappy ending.

Is there a single national politician to have consistently balked at this doomed state of affairs, against our fiat-papered, proto-fascist utopia? Only one springs to mind: Ron Paul.

It recently occurred to me that Dr. Paul is, in his righteous battle against the evils of big government, a sort of political successor of my all-time-favorite TV character, Paladin, from the western series"Have Gun Will Travel." …

Paladin was not only about personal courage when faced with evil men, but, fundamentally, about the courage to be free. Big government advocates would find no friend in Paladin, who knew that, in every time, and in every place, stand those willing to offer security for enslavement. Or, to take at gunpoint the fruits of one’s labors.

How on earth did our forbearers manage to survive without the warfare/welfare state? I daresay they, indeed, lived a different existence, one often of privation, but one never lacking in pride. They understood that no man, under God, would presume to bestow rights upon another. For with every right that is given, a thousand freedoms are taken. And they knew that personal safety requires personal vigilance.

Paladin understood this. And so does Ron Paul. …

Sure, Ron Paul’s no glamorous Hollywood gunslinger (thank God). He’s the real deal. And he has defined the issue of our time: A gigantic, intrusive, confiscatory, impossibly-indebted federal government is an instrument of tyranny

It takes courage to face such a foe. Ron Paul has faced it, unflinchingly, head-on. In doing so, he has changed the political discourse in America. And all without fortune-telling. Without empty, impossible promises. Just the conviction that doing the right thing…is the right thing to do. …

May 11, 2011

James N. Herndon is a media psychologist with Media Psychology Affiliates. He specializes in naturalistic research and media design for the worlds of politics and entertainment.

TruthInSunshine's picture

The Bernanke Put was incredible, until it wasn't, back in 2007.

I remember how everyone was mystified by The Bernank back then. Their mystification turned to loss of confidence.

Why the surprise? The Bernank has proven himself absolutely clueless and incompetent, time and time again.

This time, too, will end in tears for almost all.

  • Bernanke in Denial 2005-2007 - The Bernank predicting that absolutely no housing bubble existed, the economy was robust, and that banks were very healthy and well-capitalized.


TruthInSunshine's picture

And on another note - Australia is the pea in the pod. There are much larger vegetables out there about the be deep fried until crispy and brown. A lots of pork (PIIGS+UK) products, too.

Pork (PIIGS+UK) fat rules!

Fukushima Umami, too.

ffart's picture

According to our friend Math Man, FRNs are nearly worthless since they only cost a few cents to make per $100 bill. But all Bernanke has to do is bury them in vacant mines and they will be worth much more. Go long FRNs!

Clowns on Acid's picture

Great article...most all I interact with in life are complacent, unless I talk to them...ahem. 

The greatest state of complacency perhaps could be in Japan. The powermen took care of society's needs. Sure you might have to work a few hours loger for the same JPY, but's all for the common good, and of course for the continuation of maintaining the ryme and meter (castration) of Japanese society.

Oh but wait a minute...Fukushima occurs. Oh yes...but not to worry just a speed bump in the road. Wait until food inventories run ow and the Gov't has to begin importing at 2x the previous Q's level. What people hoarding rice in Japan..? Never!

The biblical Mississippi floods are occurring and its..."oh what an inconvenience".  Planting of soybeans,wheat, and corn are going to impacted substantially. Soft comodities will ris ein the face of a s/t rise in the USD. Not part of the Geithenr / Bernanke plan. US goes into stagflation. Can one risk QE3 with stagflation occurring?

Bernank and wee Timmy are leveraged to the hilt with their eco plan, a natural disaster (Mississippi floods) are not in their assumptions. Their plan goes haywire.

Can we raise the margins on Ben and wee Timmy's positions? Yes we to NOT raise the debt ceiling. Start cutting Fed spending feckin' beetchez. 

Dejean Splicer's picture

"Planting of soybeans,wheat, and corn are going to impacted substantially."

Just back from a 6 state feet on the ground tour. Confirmation. Missouri soil is very wet also parts of Illinois but others look good. Germination should fail in many cases in the river basin areas but outside of that I was seeing green shoots already. Corn is heavily favored this year. Short it.

Imminent Collapse's picture

Not only are people clueless, if you try and tell them what is happening, you are derided.  Believe me, I know.

"All lies in jest, 'til a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."  Paul Simon "The Boxer"

PlausibleDenial's picture

Pretty much the same here.  I actually dare not tell my clients or friends as I am thought of as an "alarmist"  I did however, just build my first M4 last night. And, just so you know the gun show in my town was more crowded than ever. 

headless blogger's picture

The Mazda goes Mmmmmmm