Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Boom and Bust of Armstrongism

From a comment by Joe Moeller at thisBanned by HWA post.

It intriguingly compares the boom and bust of Armstrongism with how a bubble market operates and that the bubble has long popped. The COG ministers are merely fighting over what little remains.

HWA started with 19 people about 80 years ago.

There are about 25k people today who are Sabbatarians who can trace some type of lineage back to that 1934 beginning.

The compounded rate of return of member growth is therefore 9.39% annually.

The rate of return on the SP 500 over the equivalent period of time (with dividends reinvested) is nearly exactly the same as that, from 1934 to present.

Thus we can say that Armstrongism has grown at a rate equivalent to American industry which is not out of the ordinary.

What we can also add, is that the period from 1950 to 1970, where the bulk of the WCG was grown, was a type of "bubble market", much like the late 1990s internet stock boom, or the early 2000s real estate bubble.

Markets that are growing at 30 to 40% annual growth rates for a number of years, ALWAYS blowoff and collapse. 9% is the historical norm for markets and return on capital. WCG was a speculative bubble that was levitating on a unique period of time and space... that of Cold War terror and limited , captive audience, communciation through both radio and TV.

Companies expanding at such high rates of return end up hiring less than trained personnel, and also start to face the dilution factor of new competitors coming into their market share, especially if the margins are so good in the expansion. In effect, they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

What you see in the COG today is a normal correction phase of an inflated market, and a normal market shakeout. Much like the internet boom, the hundreds of companies that had no real business plans and no real markets will eventually fade away. The same goes for the miniature coglets. The hundreds of little websites around will slowly be disappearing over the years.

Eventually, mature market places tend to settle down into perhaps two major players, and two more lesser players, for a total of all four controlling 90% of the marketplace. This has happened in finance, airlines, automaking , trucking and many other industries. It is the nature of things.

The COG is going through a major cyclical market cycle, with the boom top being somewhere around 1995. In the long economic cycles of wave theory, within a 75 year cycle, about one third of it is actually moving backwards. This means 25 years of consolidation, backing and filling, and shakeout per each long cycle. This implies that perhaps the bottom in the COG marketplace might be in finding footing at around 2020 or so.

We shall see.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

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