Atmosfear

Bought the FT this morning; fear is lurking in the credit markets. There is now talk of pension funds buying into risky credit markets at just the point hedge funds have slyly slithered out of them; of companies – like California’s Fremont General Corp – dangerously exposed to the sub-prime lending market; and, because of the bundling of sub-prime loans with other less risky loans in Collateralised Debt Obligations – of the broader threat defaults in this market pose to credit markets as a whole…

All very absorbing and indeed frightening. Then, because scaring myself was insufficiently unsettling, I felt the need to be both offended and outraged. So I picked up the FT’s colour magazine ‘How to Spend It’. The very first ad on the very first page is of a woman picking her way through what is a volcanic eruption (Hilo, Hawaii); but which I think is intended to tap into fears about dangerous climate change. Next to her are the words: Fearless Luxury. Just when climate change threatens to prevent us having ‘the time of our lives’ on this earth, the FT advertises a Rolex watch, optimistically branded…’Oyster Perpetual Datejust’.

Market participants have lived with the delusion that today’s asset bubbles can expand perpetually. Now Rolex seeks to delude FT readers that consumption of luxury goods can overcome atmosfear and time itself…….If only.

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