Curmudgeonly Contrarians Win Again (In The End)

“The thing that intrigues me most about his career is how, like Stephen Roche and so many of the great names who have conquered the Tour before him, the American has never encountered doping in the sport. In an extensive interview with L’Equipe on Monday he was asked if cycling still had a drugs problem? “I have no idea,” he replied. “There is none in my team. And none in any of the teams I have raced with. The Festina affair was a huge surprise to me.”
Really?
“Yes.”
And you never spoke about it in the peleton?
“Now that you mention it, no.”
Remarkable.
Incensed by the innuendo, Armstrong insists that his life is an open book. He says he is clean and has no secrets and asks us to treat his achievements with the respect they deserve. Should we? Sorry, but for some time now I’ve had a problem with fairytales in sport. For the moment I’m reserving my right to applaud.”
– Paul Kimmage, in an article ‘Reserving the right to applaud’, Irish Independent, 26 July 1999  (yes, nineteen ninety nine).

This contrarian was ‘wrong’ for at least 13 years.
Now he’s right, and the underlying facts of the matter seem so self apparent to all observers.
Of course Armstrong doped, how else could he have won 7 Tours in a row?
RE bubbles are like ‘fairytales’, too.
Of course this was a speculative mania, how else could Vancouver RE prices have risen to the point that the average home was ‘worth’ 11.5 times average annual income?
Vancouver RE contrarians have thus far been ‘wrong’ for up to 10 years, but the jury is making noises that it is returning with a verdict.
– vreaa

13 responses to “Curmudgeonly Contrarians Win Again (In The End)

  1. The two situations are very different.

    Doping in cycling was known to almost all the insiders – many I am sure did it reluctantly because their opponents were obviously doing it and it was the only way to compete: to not do it meant marginalization within the sport.

    Read Laurent Fignon’s autobiography (We Were Young and Carefree) – he says he knew many were taking PEDs during his time but he claims that the effects were not massive enough to make them a necessity. That all changed with the advent of EPO. Suddenly racers who Fignon had totally outclassed in the past were blowing by him – he decided to retire not long after.

    Anyways, with RE mania, there is nothing hidden or secretive going on here. This is crowd psychology finding fertile ground in a “perfect storm”. There is nothing going on behind closed doors that observers are not privy to. Those involved in RE mania are either willfully or unwittingly blind to reality, while the rest of us watch the spectacle.

    • The parallel is in the desire for the herd to believe the ‘fairytale’, and how it is relatively rare for people to cast doubt on the fairytale story when it is in full swing.

      Sure, of course, there are lots of ways the two situations are different.

      • It’s also a parallel in that Vancouver, like Armstrong, has been “cheating” — except with cheap debt instead of steroids. We can’t all become multimillionaires on average incomes of 70K, just like you can’t win seven Tour de France titles without drugs. Reality will catch up with Vancouver, as it has with Armstrong.

        There is another parallel in terms of collateral damage. Just as Armstrong has hurt his supporters, the housing bubble in Vancouver — through unaffordability, misallocation of resources, and economic fallout — will hurt the city’s residents.

      • Sometimes… if, admittedly, not very often… the FairyTales do come true….

        [NoteToEd: In some ways… it really was a lot like that. “Once upon a time…”]

    • actually, i think there is a lot going on behind closed doors, say at the Fed or the Treasury, as this is a much, much bigger than just a RE bubble … stock bubble < RE bubble < sovereign paper bubble … it's a super-generational credit bubble … there are plenty who continue ignoring the unreality of 1.8% yield on 10yr USTs … eg. check long-term chart of paper currencies vs hard currency – which one of the little dopers may finally be ready to confess?

      • Robert Dudek

        Are you saying that the US fed and treasury is an active agent in the Vancouver RE bubble?

        They are merely responsible for some of the preconditions for the Van RE bubble – but most of it is locally made.

      • rdude, i think the van RE bubble is just symptomatic of a much deeper affliction in credit markets – and the fed/treasury do play a central role in that – none of it is possible if they are not actively holding down UST yields and bailing out creditors

  2. Except that Lance lost all his titles.

    Someone who bought in 2001 and sold at any point until the present kept all of their profits.

  3. Wonderful examplar. — when it’s too good to be true, yes it’s usually exactly that, even when it would be really nice for someone if it was true

  4. “Hell is truth seen too late.” – Thomas Hobbes

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