What, Me Worry?

Markets have no fear, which is reason enough to be scared

Illustration by Harry Campbell for TIME

As the pragmatic conservative economist Herbert Stein once said, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." I've been thinking about that saying a lot in relation to today's bull market and the complacency with which investors seem to view it. The VIX, or fear index--which measures investors' expectations of volatility in the stock market--is at its lowest ebb since 2007, before the financial crisis. Prices for all sorts of assets, even things like junk bonds, are soaring in a way that would seem to indicate blue skies over the global economy.

How is this possible, given that we barely...

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