The question that should be on our minds is: how are my household’s buffers holding up?
Lists of predictions for the new year are reliably popular. Here’s 10 predictions, there’s 17 predictions, over here we have 23 and a half… let’s strip it all down to one prediction: everyone’s predictions will be wrong because 2023 isn’t going to follow anyone’s script.
There are several reasons for this. One is that the vast majority of predictions are based on historical comparisons to previous eras. If the current era is unique in its combination of dynamics and instability, previous pathways are not going to accurately predict what happens next.
Recency bias leads us astray. The past 50 years of relatively mild weather, the past 40 years of Bull Markets, the past 30 years of financialization and the supremacy of monetary policy–all of these offer a warm and fuzzy confidence that the future will be comfortingly similar to the recent past. This assumption works pretty well in stable eras but fails dismally in destabilizing, transitional eras.
Stability and instability are not evenly distributed, so every cherry-picked bias can be supported. You predict slow sales? Here’s an empty shopping mall. See, I’m right! You predict a return to the good old days? Here’s a crowded street fair. See, I’m right!
Those who happen to be living inside an island of coherence are inside a bubble that they mistakenly think encompasses the entire world. This is especially prevalent in the top 5% who shape the narratives that influence the rest of us. If real estate is sinking in their little corner of the world, they predict real estate will crash everywhere.
If everything’s rosy in their protected enclave, they predict a mild recession and steady growth, blah blah blah.
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