Monday, March 23, 2009

A thought on the DJIA

My coworkers are understandably unsettled these days: We work at a newspaper, and if you've read a newspaper lately, you know we're... let's see, I'm trying to come up with a nice way of saying this that won't raise the eyebrows of my non-swearing readers... nope, no way around it, right now, our industry is fucked.

The optimists think that when the "economy" turns around, so will the picture for our industry, not to mention the current employer, which is still in the black, but not without some painful moves to stay that way.

So, how will we know when the economy, whatever that is supposed to mean, is OK again? When our revenue shoots through the roof and I get a fat raise? That would be a good measure, except I think it is maybe a little foolish to assume those two go hand in hand.

I'm told that a good indicator of the health of our economy is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I've yet to hear a convincing argument to back up that proposition, however. Why should I think the best barometer for the vitality of the U.S. is the "behavior" of a market run by the people who got us into this mess?

Seriously. Stocks rise and fall based on expectations of earnings and growth, usually measured by the quarter. So if you aren't seen as likely to make a certain amount of dough in the next three months, your paper value goes in the tank. Is that really a sustainable way to run a country, quarter-to-quarter?

I mean, even the fundamentals of this supposed system are obviously flawed from a logical standpoint, let alone, you know, the empirical reality. Permanent sustained growth? How's that supposed to work?

I know there's a dissertation in here. But I also know the situation is hopeless in the absence of a mathematically capable populace (oh, and business writers. Another problem, eh?)

So in place of a solution, I'd just like to go a week without having to hear about the god damn stock market. *That* would be news worth sharing.

No comments: