we've all gotten complacent with our value plays and are sitting on them!

That thread makes me sad though. It is much more civil than the rest of the Internet, but it still shows how hard it is to get people to agree on anything. I don't think people even agree with a foundation on which to start a conversation.

I agree. And I strongly recommend reading “American Gridlock” by Mr. Woody Brock. Especially Chapter 1 “Dialogue of the Deaf”.

“All this leads to an amplification of today’s Dialogue of the Deaf, in which there is neither an interest in truth nor a logical method for discovering it, if and when it is sought. But this is precisely where the opportunity lies. For the use of deductive logic leads to better and more compelling policy solutions than does today’s bastardized logic of induction. In particular, it leads to win-win solutions that have a much greater chance of gaining bipartisan support than the win-lose policies that dot newspaper headlines. But why is this the case?

The answer is seductively simple. In applying deduction to topics ranging from public policy analysis to pure mathematics, the same two-step process takes place. First, it is necessary to specify a set of Basic Assumptions that, by their very nature, should be “transparently true.” In number theory, we must accept: “For any integer n, there is always a next bigger integer, n + 1.” Seems reasonable to me. Or in plane geometry: “Between any two points on a plane, there will exist one and only one straight line connecting them.” Seems reasonable. Or in health-care reform, “A satisfactory health-care system must first provide universal coverage, and second cause total health-care spending eventually to shrink as a share of GDP.” Don’t these two assumptions seem as desirable as apple pie and motherhood?

Second, solutions to problems can often be deduced from simple axioms of this kind, and when this is the case, disagreement can be quelled. For if simple and compelling axioms logically imply a set of policies consistent with them, then who can disagree with such policies? If there is health-care system satisfying these two appealing axioms, who would reject it? What remains for the Right and the Left to bicker about? In accepting the axioms, you accept the conclusions. The Dialogue of the Deaf thus can be dampened. Indeed, the conclusions arrived at what seem like lessons from the syllabus of Common Sense 101. Whether mathematics is needed to proceed from axioms to conclusion, or not, makes little difference. What matters is the quality of reasoning involved, and whether the axioms are compelling to any reasonable person, regardless of his or her political leanings.

Can this elegant approach work in the case of the real-world challenges identified previously? Yes – much more so than you might imagine.”

Can this elegant approach work in the case of the stock market?

Axiom 1: “Secular bull and bear markets happened in the past: during secular bull markets stock prices appreciated much, during secular bear markets stock prices fluctuated, but did not appreciate much.”

Axiom 2: “Secular bear markets of the past always ended at historically very low stock valuations.”

Axiom 3: “Today stock valuations are not historically very low.”

Can those three “Axioms” be agreed upon? I don’t mean that they are useful for investing. Or that what happened in the past is relevant today. I just would like to ask you, very knowledgeable and thoughtful investors, if it is possible to agree on those three “Axioms”, as I tried to formulate them.

giofranchi