Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
No, Rob, your posts are abnormal.
The world changed in 1981, Anonymous.
Going by what we knew about stock investing in 1980, my posts are certainly abnormal. Shiller’s 1981 finding that valuations affect long-term returns is the OPPOSITE of Fama’s 1965 finding that the market is efficient (that is, properly priced). It is not possible that both of these men are right; one of them is right and one of them is wrong. It is very important to everyone living on these planet that we all work together to find out which one is right.
We can’t achieve that purpose by limiting our discussions to what we thought we knew to be the reality prior to 1981. We need to incorporate the new findings into EVERY conversation. And those giving voice to the new understanding of how the stock market works need to be treated with the same respect and affection as those giving voice to the earlier understanding. We all want the same things. We all should be friends.
I insist on my right to speak honestly because I believe that it is best for every person on the planet for that right to be respected. New ideas do not have the power to become more popular on their own. New ideas become popular as the result of efforts of those who come to believe in them to spread knowledge of them far and wide. I do not believe that the market is efficient. I believe that valuations affect long-term returns. Every post that I write reflects that belief.
That must always remain the case. And I must never apologize for posting my honest beliefs about how stock investing works in the real world. And I must insist that my willingness to participate in discussions in a constructive and positive and life-affirming manner be given the respect that is merited. We all must insist on that. It is a founding principle of the nation in which we live. Honest posting should not only be permitted, it should be ENCOURAGED.
That of course goes two ways. I have always shown respect and affection to my Buy-and-Hold friends and I have always acknowledged their huge contributions. If I am to remain true to myself, I must continue to do so. I must demand respect for the voicing of the new ideas and I must show respect for the voicing of the older ideas. That’s the balance that works. That’s the balance that our nation has always employed to bring such conflicts to a successful resolution. That’s the balance reflected in the laws of our nation, which permit people to hold differing viewpoints on how stock investing works but which do not permit abusive behavior that rises to the level of financial fraud employed to block millions from learning about new research that they very much need to know about.
I will continue to play it that way. I believe that things will work out well for all. I could be wrong. We will have to wait and see.
Honest posting is the norm in this country. In every field of life endeavor other than the investing advice field. The investing advice field needs to change in a dramatic way so that it is possible once again for people of integrity to make a living doing good work in this field. That is not optional. That is imperative. That is not a nice idea. That is the law.
That’s my sincere take re these terribly important matters, in any event. Death threats are abnormal. Demands for unjustified board bannings are abnormal. Tens of thousands of acts of defamation are abnormal. Threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs are abnormal. Honest posting on the last 34 years of peer-reviewed research in this field is wonderful and beautiful and intelligent and kind and loving.
I love you. And I love all of other fellow community members. So I will continue to post my sincere thoughts. Whether you threaten to kill my wife and children as my “punishment” for doing so or not. The very fact that you would make such threats shows that there is a part of you that is desperate to hear honest words on this subject. You possess a Get Rich Quick urge, like all of the humans. But the non-Goon side of you is just as real; you possess common sense as well (also like all of the rest of us). It is the conflict between what you hear from your Get Rich Quick urge and what you hear from your common sense that causes you to feel such pain when you read my words. You need to see that conflict resolved if you are to find peace.
It is only by posting honest words that I can help you to resolve that conflict. That’s the job.
I pledge to you to do my best to do this important job. I will aim to be as honest as I can be up to the point at which I am becoming uncharitable while also being as charitable as I can be up to the point at which I am becoming dishonest. I will continue to struggle as I have for 13 years now to combine the two great virtues of charity and honesty in all of the work that I do in this field. I believe that there will come a day when you will be able to see why it was so important that I do that. That will be one glorious day in this history of this nation indeed.
My best and warmest wishes to you and yours.
Hang in there, old friend. It gets better.
I am sure.