Monday, May 4, 2009

Hussman's Latest

In In his latest market commentary, "Comfortable with Uncertainty", Dr. Hussman shares some thoughts on dealing with market uncertainty, describes a new autism-related discovery by the Miami Institute for Human Genomics (with which Hussman is involved via his eponymous foundation), mentions that he was the subject of a Money magazine profile (though doesn't link to the article), and throws in a little self-deprecating humor to boot. A few brief excerpts:

On dealing with uncertainty:

In his book On Being Certain, neurologist Robert A. Burton quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald – “The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron calls it “being comfortable with uncertainty” – being willing to take every aspect of reality as the starting point, without wasting energy wishing things were different, without denying reality as it is (even if your next step is to work toward changing things), and without needing to know what will happen in the future. “The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be open to an unknown future.”

Burton offers the same advice. Tolerating the unpleasantness of uncertainty, he writes, “is the only practical alternative to cognitive dissonance, where one set of values overrides otherwise convincing contrary evidence. Each position has its own risks and rewards; both need to be considered and balanced within the overarching mandate: Above all, do no harm. Science has given us the language and tools of probabilities. We have methods for analyzing and ranking opinion according to their likelihood of correctness. That is enough. We do not need and cannot afford the catastrophes born out of a belief in certainty.”

Hussman humor:

See, I really can write a whole weekly comment without repeating that the bondholders of mismanaged financial companies should be required to accept debt-for-equity swaps or haircuts, with the alternative being government receivership. Didn't even mention it.


The photo of Hussman above, by Nigel Parry, accompanied the Money article ("Best Bear Market Fund Manager Around") to which Dr. Hussman (perhaps in his excitement about the autism discovery) apparently forgot to include a link in today's market commentary.

No comments: