Friday’s employment numbers have caused many analysts to set their hair on fire. Initially the Dow fell more than 100 points before saner money returned in the afternoon. This reinforces a theme I have been pursuing on these pages for the last year. For 22 years since George Soros made $1.5 Billion in a week, shorting the British Pound and forcing the Bank of England to devalue the currency on Black Wednesday, September 16, 1992, most of the great fortunes on Wall Street have been made short selling. Since that time, with the rise of the Hedge Fund Industry, built to take advantage of the misery of others–be they firms or whole countries as with Soros and the UK or with Paul Singer’s current pusuit of Argentina. The great fortunes made during the 2008 crash, were those betting the market would crash. Exhibit A would be John Paulson, who actually designed the catastrophically toxic mortgage securities, that he then arranged for Goldman Sach’s and his other banking partners to sell to money managers after they had paid the ratings services Moodys, S & P and Fitch to rate this crap AAA. This is what my finance mentor Richard Rainwater used to call a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. John Paulson bought all the short positions in these toxic bonds that he had designed to blow up and then just waited for the sound of the explosion to collect his billions.
And these guys are not in jail?
Anyway, back to my thesis. The great fortunes of the next fifty years will be made betting on the upside of an emerging global democratic capitalism that actually capable of delivering smart and reasonably priced services to all classes of society. People who bet on the short side are going to be the fools of the future. I agree with Ruy Teixeira, The Whole World is Getting Much, Much Better.
For many on the left, a positive attitude toward economic growth and globalization seems counterintuitive. After all, isn’t there a basic lack of progress in the world today—aren’t things just getting worse rather than better?
No, in fact they’re getting better — much better — and that is despite trends toward increased inequality which have damped down economic advance for average citizens in some countries. Consider the American case, where trends toward inequality have been particularly serious. In 1947, the median family income in the US was around $27,000 in today’s dollars. Today, median family income is around $61,000. Looked at another way, in 1947, 60 percent of families made under $30,000. But today only around 20 percent make less than that figure and 40 percent make over $75,000, a figure that was exceeded by less than 5 percent of families in 1947.
So let’s go back to those unemployment numbers and see why all this fear that the Wall Street Bears are constantly trying to gin up is really just guys “talking their book”. First, traders view the fact that the unemployment rate actually fell in a month when only 88,000 jobs were added, as if everyone had just given up looking for a job. What they hardly ever mention is that 300,000 boomers Every Month are reaching retirement age, with fairly decent pensions and good Social Security Benefits.No wonder many of them are “leaving the workforce.” That’s what “Social Security” means. And in a few months at least half of those people’s positions will have to be replaced every month. Not everyone reaching 65 can or will retire, but we will witness a big transition in the workforce from the Boomers to the Millenials, and that in itself will change the way business is done.
That was also remarked upon by Teixeira.
By the end of the 20th century, more technological advances had been made in the previous hundred years than in all of history before 1900. There is no good reason to believe that this breakneck pace will slow in the 21stcentury, since we are just on the verge of mastering knowledge gleaned from technological revolutions in three interwined areas: computer science, biomolecular science/engineering, and quantum physics. Indeed, as we transition from an era where we have discovered the basic laws and building blocks in these fields to an era where we apply that knowledge, the pace of innovation, if anything, may accelerate.
We think we are seeing this same acceleration happen in the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. All of this is counter to the End of the World Crowd, filled with idiots like David Stockman.
So here is my advice. Stop obsessing with the end of world theme. Stop reading the doom and gloom books, Stop buying gold. Stop trading in and out of stocks every time you get scared (like Friday morning). Invest in companies you think are innovative and have a long term plan and pay dividends. And stick with them. I can assure you, Groupon does not have a real long term plan. Apple does.
In your politics, work with candidates that want to build a world of justice and peace. Not with ones who want to scare you that a vote for the other party will mean the end of the world as we know it.