The Old Man’s Views So much going on, yet so much unknown
Whilst the bond market continues to price in further economic weakness, the equity players are promoting the importance of holding value stocks.
Crypto Banks are in trouble, and BTC is again coming under pressure. Yet Ethereum’s future is incredibly positive. Plus, of course, Zuckerberg is ignoring his losses in the Metaverse and is now going all-in on AI.
Those are the main stories of the week.
In the real world, Real Estate prices are starting to come under pressure at a time when personal debt is running higher than it was in 2000 and 2008.
Our air and water are poisonous, our people are going hungry and cold, and state workers are continually on strike, yet we seem to have enough money to arm Ukraine to the teeth and pay Ukrainian pensions.
Meanwhile, incompetent and corrupt politicians are patting themselves on the back, telling all of us about the wonderful job they are doing with our money!
And yes, Covid was created in China.
Somehow, we are expected to pick the bones out of all this mess or find the needle in the haystack and shine a light on what will happen over the coming months or years.
As positive as we all try to be, can we confidently develop investment ideas that are guaranteed to work?
Moreover, as increasing numbers of lazy commentators start adopting ChatGPT and similar AI writing programs, the information we obtain will decrease in quality because authors’ views will become increasingly similar. And this has the potential to prompt more boom-and-bust scenarios.
Based on what AI finds on the internet, everyone is bullish, and then everyone is bearish.
I would rather be wrong than have AI dictate my content because you can improve only by being wrong and learning from it.
But with most people focusing on winning followers rather than making money through investing, AI-created reports are a shortcut to getting your name or product in front of potential counterparties.
I am not knocking AI, per se, because it is a fabulous tool I wish I could have used years ago. But I will always remain sceptical of what might happen when people can tinker with algorithms.
I may be old, but I try not to be too much of a Luddite. I appreciate that our future will increasingly revolve around data and data management. However, we are reaching a stage where we rely too much on data, and we are doing it when data manipulation is high on our government’s list of priorities.
They say the accumulation of data by our governments is because it will help us and make us safer.
Every week I come across a demand for information, which is better for me in the long run.
The amassing of data is the surrendering of freedom and privacy, and I am amazed so many people go along with it.
Everyone knows I am a strong advocate for diversified portfolios, focusing on financial markets and sectors and areas outside of the financial world.
One of my interests is having a few properties I rent to tourists via Airbnb and Booking.com.
I am not writing to advertise, so bear with me.
A few years ago, the government ordered property owners in Portugal to register their properties, or they would not be allowed to rent them. The governments went through sites like Airbnb and double-checked who had registered and who hadn’t, so we had to comply.
Then a year later, they brought in regulations, which meant our properties needed an inspection, and as a result, the health and safety experts forced us to put signs all over our properties to tell people where the doors were. Again, we complied.
Then the government decided that because of a housing shortage, which can only result from poor government policy, people who had Airbnb properties in large towns with low housing stocks could no longer rent to tourists.
Now the government is trying to force through a law that if you have an empty property, you will be obliged to rent it to the local council at a below-market rent. The local council will then put into a property you own anyone they need to find a house.
In a nutshell, the government is forcibly taking control of your property, which you bought and owned, to cover their inadequate policies.
That is theft, an abuse of power, and something they can only do because, over the years, they have gathered increasing amounts of information and data. All of which, so we were informed, was in “our interest”.
Returning to the financial world, we all know about CBDC and how governments and central banks are racing to introduce these digital currencies “because it is good for us”!
In the same way, we have to pay billions of dollars in taxes to protect our planet. In the same way, we have to send billions of dollars to Ukraine to defend our democracy.
And we do this at the same time as our debts are increasing. At the same time, our disposable incomes are declining. At a time when many, including computer programmers, are losing their jobs.
Indeed, we see this happen when the crypto industry is under severe threat and after many small investors have lost a large amount of investment capital, either through declining values or through corrupt activities from people who the government not too long ago said they liked and supported.
The bottom line is that there needs to be more we can trust.
Bond yields point to more economic weakness over the next few years, and with central banks focusing on these yields and governments using them to create fiscal policy, it is hard not to be a little concerned about the outlook.
We can be positive. However, even if equity markets pick up in the short term, high inflation and higher taxation will continue to dent consumption, and future earnings will fall short, especially in developed countries.
Blockchain technology is here to stay, but the more we bend backwards to cooperate with governments, the harder it is to see where blockchain and crypto will go.
And for those of us still looking to make a killing, spend as much time as you can looking for ways to protect it, and keep it out of government hands, because the more the government knows, the less safe you are.
Now, to finish on a positive note.
As mentioned last week, I have been in pain over recent weeks. I am not looking for sympathy, but I am looking for relief.
During my search, I discovered that Twitter now allows CBD purveyors to advertise on its platform.
A company called Cannaland is active in the metaverse space, or Cannaverse, which seems a good place for people who need some herbal relief to interact and discuss the various benefits of CBD and other associated products.
Anything which helps will get my support, so give them a visit.
Until next time
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The Old Man’s Views
So much going on, yet so much unknown
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