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Thanks for your reply, to which I'll respond serially.

Charlie, you, like others I've heard, blame the average investor for a lot of his plight.

No, I don't blame the average investor a lot. I blame all investors totally. I'm an investor. You are an investor. We all are investors. Our losses are our own, no one else's, just as our wins are ours and no one else's. Anyone who thinks markets are fair and honest is both ignorant and stupid and will have every penny taken from them. Markets are shark tanks where you go swimming at your own risk. Calling it "investing", as opposed to trading or specaluting, doesn't mitigate a bit of the risk. Gains are possible only because losses are possible. Read the Tao Te Ching and then try to tell me otherwise.

Here is where Lok and I disagree with you. Greed and trying to make your assets grow by investing in solid companies and expecting a reasonable amount of gain are two different things.

No. Fear and greed, hope and despair, drive investing decisions, not fundamentals or technicals or quantitatives. Those are just excuses and after-the-fact rationalizations. Can you identify before the fact which are those "solid companies"? If you could, then you would never experience a loss, right? But you can't; I can't; no one can. We all try to make prudent decisions based on the best information we can gather, but mistakes are going to happen and have to be anticipated and managed. What the greed-driven investors of the late '90's failed to do is manage their risks. Investors can't control markets, but they can control themselves, which they failed to do. When I hear stories of people turning $800,000 into $250,000, I have to laugh at their stupidity. That is the only rational response. Blaming markets for their losses might offer them fleeting comfort, but they are only fooling themselves, again. The first time, to think that it was their smarts that grew those assets from $500,000 to $800,000, and the second time, to think that it was someone else that shrank those assets to $250,000. Investors can't take all of the credit but none of the blame.

Charlie, you say it went from weak to strong hands. I say it went from honest, hardworking hands to dishonest, sleazy ones.

Whoever ended up with the money in the end is obvious the stronger hand in the game. Whether they were the deserving hand is another question, and I think the regulators failed hugely to protect the sheep from the wolves, which are NOT individual traders but the institutions and funds which promised protection and management and then failed their investors because they make their money from asset flow, not from appreciation. Janus is a classic example.

I agree with you that the middle classes are the ones hurt worst, and I believe Lok does as well.

No, the "middle classes" didn't get hurt, because the term is a self-serving, self-deluding fiction. A lot of people got hurt, no matter their class, caste, or status. Bull markets and bear markets are going to happen, but that particular speculative bubble didn't have to happen, and certainly not to the extent that it did. But, all things considered, it is merely a very normal bear market. What isn't normal is the cabal of chicken hawks who have temporarily positioned themselves to play out their evil games of world domination funded by deficit spending. That is what will be the true wealth destroyer for all but the inner circle of conspirators.

In summary: Once again, fear and greed have ruled markets, as they always have, always will, because human nature doesn't change.

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