Saturday, December 27, 2008
THE END OF 2008
2008 was a rough year for the type of assets that are vulnerable to market fluctuations.
40% of the value of the US stock market ($7.3 trillion) has simply evaporated. Major companies collapsed as the global credit system melted down and a wide variety of sophisticated financial instruments became untrustworthy overnight. Unemployment soared. The world will face some excruciating economic hardships over the next few years.
But there are other assets that don't lose their value regardless of how much markets fluctuate. The strength and insight behind that remarkable Bellows drawing stayed with him, and colored his perception of life, regardless of what was happening in the stock market that day.
In fact, some of the greatest artistic periods in human history arose during periods of great turmoil and strife. The golden age of Greece was forged in a period of bitter feuds between warring city states, when invasion by outside powers threatened to snuff out Greece altogether, and when an impoverished lower class was recovering from subjugation by the wealthy class. Here is Orson Welles' famous cuckoo clock speech from the Third Man:
Laurence Olivier said, "If you are an artist, you have to prove it."
Let's get to work.