We cringed when saw the headline "There Will Be Blood" above an interview with financial historian Niall Ferguson this morning. We've talked to him ourselves before, and know what a cold-blooded demon of doom the man can be. Nervously, we clicked on the link, expecting the renowned financial historian to describe how we are fated to repeat the horrors of the early- and mid-twentieth century.
There was some brain-chilling stuff in there, as the historian turned futurist warned of worldwide civil wars, the toppling of governments, and other gruesome conflicts.
However: no World War III!
"It's just that I don't see it producing anything comparable with 1914 or 1939. It's kind of hard to envisage a world war. Even when most pessimistic, I struggle to see how that would work, because the U.S., for all its difficulties in the financial world, is so overwhelmingly dominant in the military world"
We love it when people struggle with their pessimism. It's what gives the Downturnaround life. Ferguson struggled some more, too, to the point where he almost started to sound ... well, we won't say optimistic. Let's say, manageably pessimistic. The United States ought to be spared the worst, he opined, much as we might deserve it:
"It's almost paradoxical that an American crisis ... reinforces the status of the United States as a safe haven," he said.
Then he started to go really crazy!
"There are some fantastic investment opportunities that pretty soon are going to start attracting buyers ... "
We felt like we felt when we watched our 80-year-old uncle taking his first tentative steps to "Baby Got Back" after too many glasses of Chablis at a wedding: Alarmed, but proud of the old bugger! He went on:
We're looking at a Great Recession, not a Great Depression ... People just have to get over the fact that their wealth wasn't worth what they thought it was in 2006. Whether it's their stock market portfolio or their housing. If we simply go back to where we were, in 2005, that's surely not the worst thing that could happen to us.
The Downturnaround will take it! We gave up on 2006 a long time ago, and the idea of 2005 is positively thrilling. It's the thirties that we're not in any hurry to revisit.