Thought this was a good article worth reading - which suggests that a slow down of the US economy is not imminent.
The global economy, it asserts, is on the threshold of a decades-long deflationary boom that will lift America and much of the world to unprecedented prosperity. Its optimism stems from a theory that profound economic changes have and are taking place that have been ignored by most commentators -- specifically a business model it calls the "platform company."
My view is that the author is bang on the money for platform companies but that he extrapolates into hyperbole on two points: 1) specific companies vs. the economy and 2) the time horizon.
1) I don't see a compelling argument that platform companies constitute a large enough portion of GDP to create a systematic decades long deflationary boom. GM?, McDonalds? there are many, many non platform companies in the S&P 500 and the broader market indexes.
2) Decades? Maybe if you're a stock picker (I'm not) - then perhaps you can get quarters (maybe years) of good alpha from factoring in platform companies, but decades?
puhlease. these platform companies are predominantly growth companies and therefore trading at high multiples - NOT the 17x PE of the S&P500. Example, Apple, a platform company, trades at a 36x PE - the implied growth and cash flow implied cannot reasonable be expected for decades. There is such a thing as competition, business cycles and reversion to the mean.
That said, there are some very good points raised in the article. I think we've got another good year in 2007 and then absolute returns are going to get harder to come by. Maybe, just maybe, I'll rethink my bias toward index funds (or not).