What I’m thinking at the moment: For the past few months I’d been a bit suspicious of the rising market, and after thinking about it a while I started to suspect that it was a self-reinforcing rise that resulted at least partly from the collective pressure that lots of fund managers feel to get a certain amount of yield per year. People were looking for good news because they needed something to go up to justify their (managers’) existence. When I left Treasuries back in February(?) I put my money in a Vanguard money market fund until I could figure out a better place for it. I didn’t get to participate in the rising market after then, but I also didn’t take on as much risk of a catastrophic loss if some big scary event cause a panic or forced sell-off. However, in ’08 different MMAs saw losses, so even being in a Vanguard MMA isn’t totally safe.
Re: the global outlook
What I’m thinking at the moment: I’ve been slowly making my way through Reinhart’s “This Time Is Different” as well as a Peterson Institute report called “The Global Debt Outlook Over the Next 25 Years”. And I’ve also just been reading lots of miscellaneous articles. The general feeling I’m getting is that there were a lot of bad loans made by banks and pensions in the past few years, and someone is going to have to eat those losses. Because the problem is so big it seems like governments are going to try to spread the pain as much as possible, and they’ll try to prevent another collapse like Lehman Brothers, so it doesn’t look like the next big shock to the market will come from a bank’s collapse. Instead it looks like it will come when people try to flee the debt of particular countries. That seems like it will be the point at which countries will no longer be able to “play pretend” about the reality of the situation. I still don’t know where money could go to escape; I think the US has the most capital denominated in its currency and so if countries need to inflate away debts then the US may be able to do it in the least disturbing way.