Recently, I was invited to a breakfast meeting for financial executives where two world-class economists offered their analysis of the global economic crisis. The presentation—mostly statistics about bailouts, indexes, and averages—was over (way over!) my head.

Everyone else at my table appeared to comprehend what was being said, so I pretended I did too, nodding my head at appropriate places and furiously taking notes.

What was clear, even to me, was the larger message the speakers were trying to convey: uncertainty. This much was abundantly clear: no one can say with confidence what's going to happen on Wall Street or Main Street in the foreseeable future. The solutions being offered as a way out of this recession or depression (call it what you will) are nothing more than educated guesses. Bottom line: don't bet on anything. Keep your seat belt tightened and don't quit your day job … if you've got one.

One of the speakers suddenly stopped ...

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