The stock market is at an all-time high. Tech startups with no revenue have billion-dollar valuations. And engineers are demanding Tesla sports cars just to show up at work.
Here’s the evidence that we’re in a new tech bubble, heading for a crash, just like the dot com bust of 1999.
Interest rates are effectively at 0%.
Before we get into specific evidence that the tech sector is inflated, it’s worth restating the macro-economic context: Interest rates are basically at zero and have been for some time. When borrowers are paying close to zero interest on loans, that makes money cheap to get. This chart shows the Fed’s target rate for interest since 1970.
People with money generally have a choice: save it in interest-paying, risk-free bank accounts or invest it in riskier assets that may pay more money over time. When interest is at zero, virtually any other kind of investment is likely to pay more because the risk-free alternative is so lousy. So investment asset bubbles get created. Stocks tend to go up.
The stock market is at a peak, which is exactly what you’d expect in a zero-interest environment.
We’ve had five years of solid growth in stocks. People who have invested in stocks in the last five years now feel very, very rich. What could possibly go wrong?