Bad can be good and good can be bad. Michael Jackson was Bad although, according to Jordy Chandler, Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, not in a good way. Bad can mean good as in ‘that Mustang is seriously badass’ which roughly translates as ‘that particular Ford car looks delightful’. A kind gentleman recently described my Kawasaki Z900RS in exactly those terms; which was very good of him.
I’ve mentioned previously how, in the Western world, the calibre of public representation has fallen to catastrophic levels. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about MEPs, MPs, Congressmen/women, Senators, Lords, Ladies et al, standards of leadership, intelligence and humility are so appallingly low that politics now resembles a gameshow, as Sunak and Truss currently demonstrate. This is weakening democracy at a time when its enemies are on the march.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is multi faceted. It’s an attempt to recreate a hybrid Soviet Union/Russian Empire and incorporates elements of a Slavic belief that Moscow’s and the Russian Orthodox Church’s destinies are divinely intertwined. It also reflects Putin’s KGB origins and what he perceives as the West’s lack of respect. I’ve travelled widely in the former Soviet bloc and on numerous occasions have spoken with educated Russians whose opinions are not as far away from Putin’s as many westerners would realise or wish to believe.
Then there’s China and the recent Taiwanese rumpus. Most would describe the Chinese response as a gross overreaction but can any of us truly know what desperate measures we might be prepared to deploy if we saw Nancy Pelosi heading in our direction? I jest, of course, (sort of …) but her visit did not appear to have White House approval and the U.S. does not recognise Taiwan as a country in any event. If it did, it would be a different story but it doesn’t so was it good or bad for Pelosi to visit? Did her visit have proper purpose or was this Gucci clad Washington insider just grandstanding (again)?
What about the disastrous monetary policies of the last decade and a half? In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it was necessary to save the banking system and just about all countries followed a similar path. Rates fell to virtually zero (sometimes below) and central banks acted as the lender of last resort which I would argue should always be their raison d’être. Unfortunately, such emergency measures became permanent. Furthermore, mission creep ensured they now saw their role as preventing economic downturns, full stop. Economies were to be kept in high gear via Q.E. and free money with any hint of weakness delivering even more meddling. In an age where the word ‘sustainability’ is blandly thrown at us dozens of times a day, it’s ironic that no central bank understood that their policies were absolutely unsustainable.
We are now, effectively in recession and instead of having room for rate cuts, all monetary authorities are increasing the cost of borrowing to stamp out the raging inflation they have created. The U.S. Fed led the way and yet left wing senator Elizabeth Warren criticised it because it “would make people poor”. Mmm …. what does she think double digit inflation does to the living standards of those at the lower end of the income scale? But then, I’m not sure politicians like her do much thinking. This is what I mean when I talk about bad stuff not being allowed to happen anymore. Economies need to expand and contract. It’s called the trade cycle and it’s been around for centuries. It’s a natural process, so rather than attempt to tame it, just work with it. The strongest tree flexes with the wind; it doesn’t require scaffolding.
The political and monetary elites in the developed world have made a real pig’s ear of just about everything. The constant artificial postponement of events that ultimately needed to happen has validated Murphy’s Law. We now have major economic problems against a background of war in Ukraine and an increasingly belligerent China. But whether it’s Sunak or Truss, Pelosi or Warren, the whole shebang resembles a Brian Rix West End farce on endless repeat. Let’s hope Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, doesn’t lose his trousers; that definitely wouldn’t be good as things are bad enough already.
The value of investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount originally invested.
This material should not be considered as advice or an investment recommendation. Investors should seek advice from an authorised financial adviser prior to making investment decisions.