Bread And Circuses
“The evil was not in the bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
I guess we could substitute MacDonald’s and iPhones these days. The point being little has changed historically since Cicero who lived in 106 BC. That’s a depressing view of conditions perhaps then and now. Perhaps worse still is the following satirical comment from the poet Juvenal. He lived much later; the 2nd century AD:
“The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having taken it from them.”
Ok, you’re thinking me a warped old man with too much time on hands. You might be right but then there’s the haunting truth that comes through these legends—nothing given greed and the lust for power changes.
How does one live with these painful realities? We must go forward given these realities and deal with the hand we’re dealt.
Meanwhile back to the markets. Stock prices dropped as oil prices cratered on beliefs an upcoming OPEC meeting won’t deliver anything meaningful to boost oil prices. Nevertheless, stocks were able to hang on to weekly gains of over 1% despite a mixed picture overall. Clearly many feel the upcoming presidential debate will do much to clear the views of the electorate. If Clinton holds on to her slight lead it would soothe fears of the establishment nothing will alter current bullish trends. Trump on the other hand remains a wild card especially with his momentum rising.
Below is the heat map from Finviz reflecting those ETF market sectors moving higher (green) and falling (red). Dependent on the day (green) may mean leveraged inverse or leveraged short (red).
Volume Friday was impressively on the light side. Breadth per the WSJ was negative.
HI/LO INDICATORS MONTHLY
Bread & Circuses were on my mind recently. Why? It should be obvious the ruling class, no matter their belief structure, remain in control of things. It’s telling upon reading historical precedents that nothing has changed in a thousand years even though changing generations take little note of it. Those egos are fixed on the beliefs that they can always do things better despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Let’s see what happens.