Oct 26 2007

1980’s all over again

I’ve written a few posts about my general concerns over our economy (we save too little, have too much debt, etc.). I’ve received my fair share of feedback that outlined all the reasons why the world had changed, that certain leading indicators no longer mattered, etc. That’s all wishful thinking in my mind – we live in a world of real and repeatable cycles. And while overall the global standard of living has gone up over time and the duration of our periods of growth have lengthened, our economy and the world economy is cyclical and generally speaking follows repeating (if not predictable) patterns.

With that as a backdrop, I was fascinated by a Merrill Lynch report (see 1980’s Redux) which compares trends in some key economic indices today and from the 80’s. While the world is without question a changed place (and thankfully the economic downturn in the early 90’s was short-lived, relatively minor and followed by a sustained period of growth and prosperity) it’s still wise to at least pay attention to history. Click through the link above – just looking at the graphs will give you the right picture.

One thing I hope does not come back is my late-80’s hairstyle . . . attached here for your viewing pleasure (that’s my sister with me in the picture with an admittedly big, but much more respectable, style).