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