How to Shock a Futurist
Investors must grasp the fact that the world moves on beyond their control — or even comprehension.
And every now and then even a futurist needs a little shock in his life.
For instance, on Saturday, I went to a “gender reveal party.” That was a new one for me.
It heralded one of my growing group of grandchildren.
During this event, a forthcoming Gilder was sexually preannounced using a papier-mâché and plastic volcano. It was programmed to emit blue or pink smoke.
Enveloping us on this occasion in acrid pink fumes, the volcanic revelator surprised everyone with the disclosure of a single bit of new information.
This novel ceremony was developed to accommodate new technologies that reveal the sex of fetuses well before birth.
And it’s fitting I bring this up now. Because on my coming visit to Silicon Valley, I hope to gain some clues about another binary question.
It looms as probably the most important question in the world related to new technology and future economic growth.
The question is: Where do you invest when there is a blatant decline in growth?
A Shift for the American Investors
To be blunt, many conservatives and libertarians these days are singing a dirge.
With good reason.
Consider the following…
- We are looking at some $250 trillion of global debt.
- We’re seeing $5.1 trillion a day of global currency trading.
- We experience billions of data breaches a year on the Internet.
- US budgetary deficits are mounting to trillions of dollars annually.
- There is a comedic-level of regulatory overreach and absurdity in governments around the world.
- I’m seeing a major decline in US innovation in the clutches of climate change and “sustainability” cranks.
Other notable investors are seeing this too…
I admire Peter Thiel more than any other investor (his book Zero to One is the best business book ever written). And Thiel believes that technological advancement is slowing down.
And Jim Grant wrote in the latest Barron’s that the ratio of US federal debt to GDP has leapt from 60% to 105% in 20 years. At the same time, U.S. GDP growth sunk some 37%, to a per capita average of 1.2% a year.
This low number confirms the insight of Thiel and other pessimists about a slowdown in innovation and growth.
That’s a major problem because, as I’ve stated here several times, growth is learning. So a slowdown in growth means that Americans are getting ever more stupid.
But here’s the thing…
Conservatives can continue to climb to the top of mountains and blather away about the world coming to an end like a Doomsday Adventist cult.
Yet the fact is that everything continues to get better (except our mood).
It’s just that the improvements might not be where you expect….
The Importance of a Global Exposure
When the US defects from leadership with a siege of mercantilism and academic and media inebriation, entrepreneurs move elsewhere and the show goes on.
Creative human beings simply abhor being suppressed by bigoted bigshots.
When the Germans brutally cracked down on their creative minority of Jewish geniuses, the geniuses came to the United States and enabled the Manhattan project to prevail.
Together with other immigrants, the European Jews gave the US dominant military and economic power well into the 21st century.
When radical anti-human and anti-industrial environmentalism took over the US and Germany, world manufacturing moved massively to Asia.
So the answer to the question posed before?
For investors, the key lesson is to maintain a global scope and vision. Something that we will continue to maintain here in Daily Prophecy.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy