Wow!! This is why the Fool is an exciting place to be. Lok, as always, eloquent and sensible. And Charlie, what can I say...you blew me away. Well-written. Actually, I think the two of you are not on opposite ends of the argument at all. In fact, from what I can decipher (you made my head spin with that much info in one post) you are quite close together.Here are some thoughts, maybe some pro, maybe some con; I'm throwing them out as they come. Charlie, you, like others I've heard, blame the average investor for alot of his plight. 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. Way before the big market bubble began to form, people were trying to do that same thing in other areas of investment. There were real estate booms where people made exorbitant amounts on their money. So, in the 90's, many people were smart enough to move money into the market. You blame them for not pulling out in time with their gains. Well, that to me seems more like greed than those who left it in as long-term investment. To assume they stayed in to make greedy gains may not be the case. For one thing, what better place was there to put it at the time?And some still have it there hoping the market will return.Where Lok and I place the blame is on the analysts/bigbrokerages/hedgefundmanagers and their compadres the CNN's and other financial media who facilitated the hype...not to mention the CEO/criminals who raped their own companies, employees and investors. Also on the SEC, who did a really stinking job of keeping an eye on things; the robbery took place right under their nose. That the average investor wasn't quick enough to move things around from stock to stock as they were summarily built up and torn down by these analysts/bigbrokerages shouldn't make them totally culpable. Most of them were out there trying to make a living, and alot of them left these things up to their supposedly knowledgeable and competent brokers. At any rate, now $8 trillion (according to The Man) has disappeared. Charlie, you say it went from weak to strong hands. I say it went from honest, hardworking hands to dishonest, sleasy ones. I agree with you that the middle classes are the ones hurt worst, and I believe Lok does as well. For some Baby Boomers, there is no time to make it up, like a member of my husband's family who retired from Sears at 55 with $500,000 which, thanks to the crazy market of the 90's quickly went to $800,000 and then, which thanks to the crazy market of the 2000's even more quickly went to $250,000. He is now in his late 50's and, even if he could find a decent job to earn decent wages (fat chance), would hardly have time to make it up before 'retirement age'...whatever that may end up being in the future.In summary, we've been stiffed: By the regulators, the brokers, the insiders, the corporate criminals and by our own inability to keep up with the whole blessed thing.Thanks to both of you for well-written and well-thought out comments.
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