Tue Oct 28th, 2008 at 07:06:54 AM EST
AR Geezer's comment in yesterday's Salon de News, mentioned David Hassett and the book which he co-wrote in 1999, rather extravagantly titled Dow 36,000. Mr. Hassett is today apparently "working at the American Enterprise Institute... and serves as the senior economic adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain" - where his has abandoned his cornucopianism and just peddles fears of voter fraud by the Democrats to the more paranoid part of McCain's fan base - an act of unparalleled shamelessness, coming from this republican party.
Looking up the "Dow 36,000" book, I came upon such wealth of hope-mongering, that I'm posting the content of my comment on the thread as a diary, here. I had too much fun reading about this stuff not to share...
A taste of what was presented in "Dow: 36,000", is given in this Atlantic article by its authors. They then returned in 2002, after the dotcom crash, to insist on their insight in the pages of the WSJ: In an article titled "Dow 36000 Revisited - Hey, be patient!", they claimed that they were still on target, temporary setbacks nonwithstanding. And they didn't miss the opportunity of damning the dastardly socialists like Krugman that were bent on class war and could not see the light of the Incredible Rising Market.
Speaking of really wild optimism, note that the authors of "Dow: 36,000" were at the conservative end of the bull-market visionary-book-sellers crowd. Thus Dow:40,000 and Dow:100,000 (by 2020 no less). More conservative, but printed after the dotcom bust, and thus deserving its own special place in the annals of unbridled financial optimism was, the now hilariously titled "Dow, 30,000 by 2008": Why It's Different This Time" by Robert Zuccaro, a guy whose fund had already earned him a Forbes booby prize by 2004. (Some comments on all of these books' pages are hilarious and well worth browsing through). A recent comment at Krugman's blog offered the opinion that maybe "Zuccaro was thinking of 30,000 pesos".
Chiliasm, I think is the word to describe all this. Chiliastic numerology. And what else but a standard chiliastic cult's revelation-postponement (see here for a standard example) is shown in this 2006 article, where the authors of both 36,000 and 100,000 remain confident in their predictions - its just that they were off a bit:
Glassman, 59, defends "Dow 36,000's" original premise as well. The prediction -- that the Dow would triple by 2005 -- is still valid, he says, although he's pushed the deadline out to 2021...
Glassman and Kadlec say their out-of-print books, offered for sale on Amazon.com for as little as one cent, are still relevant.
"Dow 36,000" held that stocks were safer than bonds over the long term. When investors recognized this, the Dow would triple in value, the authors wrote.
"There's nothing that's occurred over the past few years that's changed our minds about the original thesis," said Glassman, who writes a syndicated investing column and is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
Speaking of failed prophesies however, my all time favorite and a book of historical significance, surely, is without a doubt, David Lereah's "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?: The Boom Will Not Bust and Why Property Values Will Continue to Climb Through the End of the Decade - And How to Profit From Them (2005)".
This awesomely titled book is by the author of The Rules for Growing Rich : Making Money in the New Information Economy (2000), where he was plugging Internet stocks a few months before the dotcom crash. Undoubtedly this man is the epitome of timely financial advice. A true oracle of the New Gilded Age. David lereah is so reviled for his role as bubble-blower chief communications officer, that there actually is a David Lereah Watch blog.
The optimism of the realtor was matched, according to Amazon (I assume it was a blurb?) by David Berson, Chief Economist at Fannie May who had this to say about the book: "An important book, whether you agree with the author (as I do) that housing will remain an excellent investment or are convinced that home prices are poised for a plunge, David Lereah lays out a compelling vision of housing as a continuing positive investment--and how you can profit from real estate if you already own the home you live in, are looking to move from rental housing to an owner-occupied home, or want to use real estate as an investment."
Note that the Amazon page for the Real Estate Rapture book, contains a large number of ferocious comments, and especially note this gem of a recommendation.
The author lately wishes he could change the title of the book - and that people would go beyond the title to the substance of the book:
"Obviously I would change the title," says David Lereah, the former chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and author of "Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust - And How You Can Profit From It," published in paperback in February 2006. "There are places in the book where I actually say the boom is not healthy. But people don't read the book, and they just look at the title and they criticize it."
Ah, how last year's prophets have fallen...!