I think it has to do with a different world view that we have adopted. We’re much more of an investing culture, all over the world, really, than we were in the past. There’s much more of an expectation of volatility.

People used to look at dividends more than they do now. As the years go by, people are more and more focused on capital gains. So it has become more of a game of predicting the swings. And when you have everyone trying to predict the swings – and the swings are caused by people anyway – it creates a fundamental instability.

High debt levels are a symptom of our speculative culture. It’s a fundamental change in our society. People have reframed their sense of personal identity – they think of themselves now as smart investors.

I suspect this is going to be a long, enduring change – we will have higher volatility. It seems to me that we are more bubbly.

Robert Shiller, as applied by David Parkinson at the Globe and Mail

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