Out with the old, but do we really want the new?

Many people were happy to say goodbye to 2008, which will go down in history as the terrifying year we realized absolutely no one is in control of the economy, anywhere. Personally, I’d rather skip through 2009 to 2010 or beyond, especially living in Canada, where the recession fun has just started. Even the BMO economics team, known round here most for its mysteriously rosy view of the Canadian economy, sees grey skies ahead, naming its latest piece on October’s (negative) GDP reading “And So It Begins”.

There are some who see light at the end of — or even halfway through — the 2009 tunnel:

“When the financial crisis starts to abate – and we think that process has begun – one could see inordinately fast recoveries,” said Nick Majendie, chief portfolio manager, independent accounts, at Canaccord Capital Inc. He is looking for the S&P/TSX to gain 30 per cent this year – twice the gain he expects for the S&P 500 – as commodity prices recover.

Yes, folks, it’s a commodities bubble denier — the stock market counterpart to its better-known cousin, the climate change denier.

And then there are those still trying to make this messy, unique crisis into a predictable, and relatively painless event, like Gavin Graham of BMO Asset Management:

“After you’ve had a year as bad as this one, you’ve always seen a fairly substantial, double-digit positive return from the markets the following year,”

And I’ve got some black box program trading systems I’d like to sell you…