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The Hindsight Fallacy
The real reason it's so hard to predict bubbles.
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011, at 12:09 PM ET
The recent sky-high IPO of LinkedIn, along with eye-popping valuations for other social networking and shopping companies, has raised concerns that we are now in the midst of another technology bubble, this one fueled by excessive investor enthusiasm for all things social.
No sooner have these concerns been raised, however, than they have been countered by an array of arguments, all of which are variations on the basic claim that this internet boom is unlike the previous one. This debate illustrates one of the central causes of financial bubbles: Although after the fact it seems obvious that prices were irrational and an unhappy end was inevitable, bubbles are neither obvious nor inevitable at the time.Yahoo Research, and author of Everything is Obvious*: Once You Know The Answer.
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