Dec 18, 2010

Doug Casey on providential lessons and contrary indicators

At any rate, the day Elmer came in happened to be the day that gold hit its absolute bottom for that cycle — $103.50, if I recall correctly — and also happened to be the very same day there were big riots in Soweto that made headlines in the U.S.

So, Elmer gets hit with these two things at the same time, calls me back up and says he wants to cancel his order. I said: "Elmer, this isn't Woolworth's. You can't really take the merchandise back." But rather than paying me for what he ordered, he hung up the phone on me.

Having entered the orders for the stocks the previous day, I had to ask myself what I would do about it. It was something of a revelation to me — it was clear that I was dealing with a typical member of the public, a representative of their mindset. I figured he must be the perfect contrary indicator. In today's terms, I had to ask myself if I was just talking the talk, or if I was willing to walk the walk.

I have no idea what happened to him after he hung up on me, but I thank him for appearing at the right time. Elmer was completely ignorant of economics and the markets, but he nonetheless taught me a more valuable lesson than any teacher in four years of college.

~Doug Casey, international investor, Casey Research, "Education of a Speculator",, May 27, 2010

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