Casey’s Financial Chaos Prediction

By Steve Saville

Doug Casey recently predicted that we are heading for financial chaos. Should this prediction be taken seriously? The answer is no, but not because Doug Casey doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is necessarily wrong.

Doug Casey has been right about enough trends/events in the past to have become wealthy and is one of my favourite writers. Also, throughout his career he has fought the good fight against government coercion, the fake information that’s routinely put forward to ‘justify’ bigger government, and the political-correctness tyranny. However, he is ALWAYS predicting financial chaos and/or economic collapse and/or a crash in the stock market or the bond market.

I have no problem with Doug Casey’s crisis predictions. I understand his bias in this area and can take it into account when reading his opinions/analyses. I do, however, have a problem with the way that Doug’s predictions are used to promote the Casey Research service.

This post was prompted by an email from Casey Research that appeared in my inbox last week. The email contained something along the lines of: “Doug Casey correctly predicted the Dot.com crash of 2000 and the financial-market crash of 2008. Given this amazing forecasting record, you won’t want to miss Doug’s latest prediction. Click the link below to find out what it is.”

I didn’t click the link so I don’t know the specific prediction that is currently being used to attract new subscribers, but I cringed at the misleading way that the forecasting record was portrayed. It’s certainly true that Doug Casey correctly predicted the market crashes of 2000 and 2008, but if you are always predicting a crash then of course you will be right every year the market crashes. And you will be wrong every year the market doesn’t crash.

Betting on a crash year after year after year is actually a viable speculative strategy. It’s the strategy that has been used by Nassim Taleb with success over the past few decades. Taleb bets on a market crash every year with a small portion of his investment portfolio while keeping the rest of his portfolio in cash or cash-like securities. The result is that he makes a small loss in the vast majority of years and a huge profit once or twice per decade.

I’m only guessing, but Doug Casey has probably applied a similar approach to good effect.

The Taleb approach is not suited to most people, though. This is because most people do not have the required combination of knowledge, patience and nerve, and even if they do there are ways to generate excellent long-term returns without having to go 5-10 years between pay-offs.

Getting back to the main point of this post, there is some chance that Doug Casey’s recent prediction of financial chaos will be correct in 2017, but it shouldn’t be taken seriously. The reason it shouldn’t be taken seriously is that regardless of whether or not it pans out this year, there will be a similar prediction for next year and the year after and so on. The prediction is bound to be right…eventually.

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