Can the centre hold?

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An unfortunately consistent characteristic of history is a tendency for public attitudes to swing sharply, with such movements based more on emotion than on reasoned analysis. Once a trend is under way, it is eventually pushed to an extreme. At some point, a crisis precipitates a reaction and the pendulum of public attitudes suddenly reverses course. Quite clearly, we have been in the early stages of such a reversal since the market meltdown last September.

For much of the past 25 years, markets

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