Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy and Not-So-Happy Markets

The problem with the Efficient Market Hypothesis, EMH, is eventually proponents have to assume it and whatever happens becomes its confirmation. This makes it unprovable and useless, but better that than wrong.

How compatible are efficient markets and psychology? Can psychology just be treated as an exogenous variable to efficient markets? I would call this the happy markets theory, or the markets are efficient except when they are not theory.  Was the market failure the failure to anticipate such a change, to anticipate the effects of such a change, or in the reaction to such a change? Were prices too high before, too low now, both, or neither?  What are markets failing to anticipate next? What are they overreacting to now?  Will they fall by half or double tomorrow?  Are prices anything other than the whims of participants?  There is nothing wrong with treating psychology as exogenous other than making a mockery of EMH. It is notable how the same reasons are used at times like these, psychology, technology, .. and there may well be some truth in them, but such truth would be far more significant than the meaninglessness of EMH.

No comments: