by Gary Alexander

November 8, 2022

There are five Tuesdays this November, so I intend to write five reasons for Thanksgiving. Last week, I covered the great historical market lift when November begins – namely, it’s the best time to buy stocks.

This time, I’ll try to counter the 90% saturation of bad news you hear. I’ll deliver some great news below, but it’s a tough sell, since bad news appeals more to our inner adrenaline addiction. I know, because I was a “bad news bear” in print for 25 years – from my first news bureau job in 1965 until I wised up in 1990.

According to at least three reliable sources, I invented the term “Apocaholic,” a word based on the Greek title for the gloomy Biblical Book of Revelation, “Apocalypse.” If it were in a dictionary, I would define an Apocaholic as “A person who craves ever more frightening disasters, like predictions of nuclear war, natural disasters, starvation, market crashes, ecological doom – akin to a drug addiction, needing a ‘fix.’”

In the early 1990s, when struggling with the temptation to write negative articles, I recalled the virtues of that other AA recovery program and invented a fellowship of former doomsday writers, calling the group “Apocaholics Anonymous.” I opened an investment talk (and a Unitarian Church lecture) like this:

“Hi, I’m Gary, I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I have not panicked over world news since 1990. Our group meets each Monday at 5pm during news hour. No TV, radio or Internet allowed. Bring your own drinks.”

That’s whimsical, of course, but my reversal in attitude was serious and life changing. Investing in growth stocks instead of penny stocks and gold-mining shares made my family well-off. Pessimism delivered a negative net worth to a 45-year-old father of three nearly-college-age children – not a healthy situation – but investing in hope and growth made all the difference. That is why I call these columns Growth Mail.

It took a while for the term “Apocaholic” to catch on. Matt Ridley credited me with the term in his 2010 book, The Rational Optimist (page 200). Here’s a sample of others who credited me with this new word:

Read “ a wonderful piece called ‘Apocaholics Anonymous’ by Gary Alexander. This is truly funny – and sage. Send it to friends.”  — Rich Karlgaard, Forbes, “Apocaholics Anonymous,” June 14, 2007

“Apocaholics, a word coined by the writer Gary Alexander, i.e. those obsessed with perceived-coming apocalypses, are at least as old as Thomas R. Malthus and David Ricardo, and certainly much older.”

— Eric T. Justin, The Harvard Crimson, “Apocaholics Anonymous,” September 4, 2010

“Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 1972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening predictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes.”

— Matt Ridley, Reason Magazine, “The End of the World is Not Nigh,” August 20, 2012*

*If you wish to read these testimonials in context, here are the links:

Apocaholics Anonymous (

Apocaholics Anonymous | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson (

The End of the World Is Still Not Nigh Says “Rational Optimist” Matt Ridley (

My timing seemed logical at the time – coming after the Berlin Wall fell, and books proclaiming, “The Crash of 1990” came to nothing – but as soon as I reformed, the rest of the world doubled down, in books like Bankruptcy 1995. As soon as the Berlin Wall fell, and Soviet satellite nations toppled like dominoes – the Apocaholic press invented several new forms of post-Soviet Union gloom and doom to worry about.

According to Wikipedia’s list of apocalyptic films, there were only a dozen end-of-world films made before 1960 – and the last one, On the Beach (1959), scared this teenager greatly – but the number of apocalyptic films grew by 60% or more per decade after the end of Communism in 1990:

All this was happening while almost everything in the world was getting measurably better. Hundreds of millions of Chinese and other East Asians were emerging from absolute poverty into the middle class and some wealth. The Green Revolution was creating plenty of food for almost every nation, excepting only those mired in doctrinaire Communism (like North Korea or Venezuela) or war (the Congo or Yemen),

In their new book “Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet” (published August 31, 2022), authors Marian L. Tupy and Gale L. Pooley cite a wide array of apocalyptic claims. Then, they present us with some good news, like this:

I could list similar data sets almost endlessly. Caloric consumption is way up in almost every nation, even those which used to be the subject of “hunger relief campaigns” by Western charities. In fact, obesity has become a severe problem in several African nations that were once subjects of food relief programs.

As much as the press loves to focus on one or two active wars, such as Russia vs. Ukraine, the prevalence of global wars and the global homicide rate and total violent death rate are way down since 1950.

Since this is a stock market letter, let us also look at the last 70 years of U.S. stock market returns:

So, despite all the serious concerns of the last decade, including a global pandemic, the S&P 500 is up 174% since 2012, the second-best 10-year span of the last 70 years, as measured by the month just ended.

You can find all of the data you care to analyze in these three books – and many more like them:

So, despite all the serious concerns of the last decade, including a global pandemic, the S&P 500 is up 174% since 2012, the second-best 10-year span of the last 70 years, as measured by the month just ended.

You can find all of the data you care to analyze in these three books – and many more like them:

Read these and you can open up your own chapter of optimists under an Apocaholics Anonymous banner.

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

Also In This Issue

Global Mail by Ivan Martchev
The Fed’s Epic Bait and Switch

Sector Spotlight by Jason Bodner
Is Carefree Investing Possible in This “Age of Anxiety”?

View Full Archive
Read Past Issues Here

About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

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