The great Winfield Michel Pireu     | Business Day Wednesday, February 6, 2019
From the Money Game by Adam Smith

“Look at him that middle aged fogey. He’s shocked,” said the great Winfield, pointing at me. “A portfolio selling at a hundred times earnings makes him go into a 1961 trauma.”

“I loved 1961,” I said. “I love stocks selling at a hundred times earnings. The only problem is that after 1961 came 1962, and everybody papered the playroom with the stock certificates.”

“This one will really take you back,’ said the great Winfield. “Sheldon’s Western Oil Shale has gone from three to thirty.”

“Sir!” said the kid. “The Western United States is sitting on a pool of oil five times as big as all the known reserves in the world – shale oil. Technology is coming along fast. When it comes Equity Oil can earn seven hundred and fifty dollars a share. It’s selling at twenty-four dollars.”

“Shale oil!” said the great Winfield. “Takes you back doesn’t it?”

“The shale oil play,” I said, dreaming. “My old MG, a blond girl, summer tan, beer on the beach, the little bar in the village…”

“See? See?” said the great Winfield. “Life begins again! It’s marvellous!”

He had made his point. Memory can get in the way of such a jolly market, that malaise that comes with the feeling of déjà vu: We have been here before.

“The strength of my kids is that they are too young to remember anything bad, and they are making so much money they feel invincible,” said the great Winfield. “Now you know and I know that one day the orchestra will stop playing and the wind will rattle through the broken window panes, and the anticipation of this freezes us. All of these kids but one will be broke and that one will be the multi-millionaire ... there is always one, and we will find him.”
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