Chapter 2

Eternal Equities: Stocks Do Best?

Jeremy Siegel is the very picture of the mild-mannered professor, the tweedy fellow who gently tells the brash student loudly dominating the seminar that he must get the facts straight. With his low-key manner, high forehead, shaggy gray hair, and spectacles, Siegel comes across more like Mr. Chips than a false prophet out to trick the masses into believing a hazardous heresy that will seal their financial doom.

Siegel, an economist who lives the life of the mind amid the graceful old walls of the University of Pennsylvania, is a divisive figure whose thinking is regularly denounced by some in the wake of the 2007–2009 stock market meltdown. In financial circles, his name stirs up intense reactions, much like Nancy Pelosi’s or Glen Beck’s do for political ideologues. Jeremy Siegel, a gentlemanly academic, inspires passion, outrage, and no little envy. He is adored by many, and he is pilloried by others.

“Jeremy Siegel, wrong,” writes Henry Blodget, on his Business Insider web site. “Jeremy Siegel is brilliant, uplifting, and just plain wrong!” chimes in Vitaliy Katsenelson, research director at Investment Management Associates in Denver. “Jeremy Siegel is a dangerous individual,” adds the financial site, passionsaving.com, some years ago.

The Wizard of Wharton, as his many admirers call him, brings forth vivid reactions because he is the largest voice for an enormously important financial philosophy. He is the long-standing champion ...

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