“This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S” – Singer Gwen Stefani
Shit is crazy, no doubt. <- see what I did there?
Regardless of religion or political affiliation, I think that’s something we can all agree on.
In the United States, we have problems with employment, education, and healthcare.
Globally, there are governments collapsing, economies collapsing, and environments collapsing.
Shit is certainly crazy.
But how crazy?
About 4 years ago, our entire financial system nearly imploded. But when I looked out the window, everything was still calm.
We adapted. And we continued living.
I bring this up because I see lots of nothing. “Nothing” is what people do when they are too scared to do “something.” A nice mixture of uncertainty and pessimism has kept many people from investing. We’re in (what some refer to as) a liquidity trap. Interest rates are invisible, yet people are still sitting on loads of cash afraid to make moves. The same goes for companies.
Everybody seems to be waiting. Waiting on the next fed announcement. Waiting to see who is in the White House. Waiting for “things to get better.”
Well, I’m here to tell you…
Things Will Get Better
I’m an optimist in a pessimistic world. It’s far easier to be a doubter than a believer. I’m here to convince you that human ingenuity will bring us out of this rut. I’m assuming that in 1929, no one thought things would get better. But they did. And they will continue to get better. (Check out “The Piercing of Gloom and Doom by Herbert London)
The History of Pessimism
“This telephone has too many shortcomings to be considered as a means of communication,” said the president of Western Union in 1876. “The device is of inherently no value to us.”
Thomas Edison said, “Just as certain as death, George Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in an electric system of any size,” and “the phonograph has no commercial value at all.”
The president of Michigan Savings Banks advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company because, he said, “The horse is here to stay, the automobile is a novelty.”
In 1921, radio pioneer David Sarnoff said, “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?”
In 1926, Lee DeForest, inventor of the vacuum tube, said, “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility.”
“A rocket will never be able to leave the earth’s atmosphere,” stated the New York Times in 1936.
“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom,” said Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Milliken in 1923.
The chairman of IBM said, “I think there is a world market for about five computers,” in 1943.
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” said the president of Digital Electronic Corporation in 1977.
Readers: Is the uncertainty, the news, and your pessimistic attitude keeping you from investing?