Scan originally appeared in Wired 05.11, November 1997.
James J. Cramer - The 'J' is for Wrong
In my earlier take on why bubbles happen, I forgot an important factor: Snake-oil salesmen.
For the sake of Jim Cramer, we should be glad that he's comfortable making mistakes - he must be one comfortable guy, I guess. Like when, in February 1999, he didn't see the Nasdaq would crash 10 days later, and encouraged everyone to stick to 10 tech-stock, which by 2009 were all dead, swallowed or trading at a fraction of the 1999-price. Or last year, when he didn't see the credit-crunch coming and subsequently got grilled by Jon Stewart (If you have any alcohol left in your moral compass, you'll find that interview tragic, not funny...). Or a few days ago when he completely misjudged the impact of the health care reform.
Personally, I think it's cool to have the guts to put yourself out there. Make your triumphs and mistakes in public - I even admire that. God knows, I make my own fair share of mistakes. I also think it's admirable to have a mission statement of making financial mumbo-jumbo accessible to everybody in an entertaining way.
What I have a major problem with is the encouragement that we should all be playing the stock-market like a Stradivarius when our skills only allow us to push the sound-effect button saying "Muhh".