There's no good way to spin this . . .

There is a passage from East of Eden where the less-favored son is scolded by his father, for investing in bean futures in advance of a certain war that would demand beans. Something about how ghoulish it would be to profit from the misery and death of others.

My IRA jumped about $6 grand in two months, those very same months being the impact and aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I'd have to dig into the details of the funds that provided most of the ooomph in that period, but it's the most dramatic fscking jump in that IRA I've seen since I rolled three 401(k)'s together to form it.

Yeah, yeah, post hoc ergo propter hoc and all that. But it occurred during a period when one would expect the profits of virtually every sector of the economy to fall. This was a time when everyone predicted dire consequences for the markets because the US economy just had a chunk of flesh bitten out of it. Counterintuitive is the word that came to mind.

We're not talking about a huge amount of money here, though it constitutes most of my life savings left over from the dot-com bust.

Would there be so much kerfluffle over oil companies price-gouging if most people in my generation held that kind of position and realized that kind of gain? Adam Trask be damned---we'd become rich by gouging ourselves. Cost myself a couple Jacksons a month out of my wallet but watch my IRA grow by as many Clevelands? Gouge away.

This suggests to me that if it were this easy everybody would be doing it everybody understood this, and moved their investments accordingly, they'd be competing for those investment vehicles intensely, driving the average cost to purchase said vehicles up to the point where schmucks like me wouldn't bother. But that's not the nature of markets nor of risk, is it?

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