What if the lesson of history is that the future will be unlike the past? In that event, of course, all bets are off. Yet this distinct possibility comes from several different historians of U.S. financial markets. Each of them points out that the financial markets periodically undergo profound sea changes, after which they bear little similarity with what came before.

This means that the study of history tells us little other than that the future is unknowable.

Bryan Taylor, chief economist at Global Financial Data, believes the U.S. markets currently are undergoing another of these sea changes. In an interview, Taylor said he expects a coming era of persistently low interest rates.

It would be unrealistic to expect anything like the declining interest rate era from 1982, he added, since interest rates are already so low. While an era of rising interest rates is possible, as was the case from 1945 to…

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