A number of personal finance bloggers have engaged in a good discussion of The Matter That Consumes Us All at the thread at the Hope to Prosper Blog relating to my guest post titled The Economic Crisis Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us.
Of particular import is an exchange between the blogger Roshawn @ Watson Inc. and me, set forth below:
Roshawn @ Watson Inc: Okay Rob, Your article has intrigued me. My immediate inclination is the same as Bret: cool concept but applying it (getting people to sale stock during periods of overvaluation) seems incredibly difficult. However, you have a compelling point of how if we become more sensitive to what overvaluation really means to our portfolios, perhaps our natural desire to keep overpriced stock would change. I will certainly read the other articles you linked too.
Rob Bennett: Thanks for keeping an open mind, Roshawn.
I think what is going on here is that many are noting that valuation-informed strategies have never been the most popular strategies before. That’s right. I do not disagree.
But that could be said of many things. Before we had electricity, we never went to baseball games at night. Before we had vaccinations, lots of kids suffered from whooping cough. Before the Civil War, black people had to endure slavery.
Things change! Sometimes for the better!
Things won’t change for the better unless the humans elect to make it happen. But we are the humans! It’s up to us to do this thing! If we want to make it happen, itwill happen!
We just need to spread the word. If we give people the tools to invest in valuation-informed ways, they will do it. I have spoken to thousands of middle-class investors about this and I know from personal experience that there are many people who are very excited about these ideas. They want to be able to talk them over with others. They want to have blogs and discussion boards where they can meet and discuss pros and cons. The internet provides us the technology we need to make it all happen. All that we need to do is to get over this reluctance to try something new and just give it a spin.
There is no downside. If the ideas do not pass muster, people will identify the holes in them and they will be shot down. Which is a good thing. If the ideas are not strong, we don’t want to see them survive. But if they are strong, we DO want to see them survive. What we want to do is to put them to the test. We want to have a debate throughout the Personal FInance Blogosphere for the purpose of airing all sorts of views on how to proceed at this point.
If there are any bloggers reading these words who are open to the idea of running guest post on various aspects of this question, please just contact me and I will send some words your way. If you have a particular question that you would like me to address, just let me know what it is and I will write the words to be responsive to that particular question.
Together, we can change the world in a very, very positive way. It’s all upside and there’s no potential downside. Talking things over is ALWAYS a plus, ALWAYS a learning experience. The internet can be a very powerful communications medium if we put it to work serving positive and constructive and life-affirming purposes.