“There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre
It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.
I want you to stop, take a breath and consider this moment we’re in. Because you will look back on it and realize how amazing it was – how amazing it is!
The Black Swans we’d been guessing at have had their necks broken one by one, their heads bashed in. Blood and feathers, a smear on the wall.
We have a stock market that goes up on good news, bad news, no news and a lot of news. Blue chip companies are posting gains that would make late-90’s tech stocks blush. They miss earnings occasionally, drop in price temporarily and find themselves higher than ever within a week.
Listen to what we now argue about – which sector will outperform which other sector! What?!?!? The S&P 500 is up 17% in the first five months of the year and we’re preoccupied with whether healthcare or tech will make a new high first! Who gives a fuck! Quite a sea change from our concerns of last year and the year before. It’s a farce but a it’s fun one.
And there are giants among us! Right now! Tepper and Musk on the road toward earning their legendary status, Buffett and Icahn basking in the glow of accomplishments past and present. The market trembles in anticipation of their next pronouncement, it shakes as they stride by. We will tell our grandchildren that we breathed the same air, perhaps even served as unwitting counterparties to their trades.
We have a housing situation in which there isn’t enough supply. Over one million new homes will be built this year. There is a change in psychology that’s taken hold, like someone flicked a light switch on January 1st – no, like someone fired a starting gun! Please don’t take my word for it, talk to a realtor. The household formation engine is revving up again as the kids get jobs and need a place of their own to have sex and babies. There are all-cash bids. There are bidding wars. The foreclosures are being taken off the banks’ hands, fixed up and rented out.
Google has just invented virtual reality in a pair of eyeglasses. If you watched Star Trek growing up and longed for your very own holodeck, well, it’s here. You shall have it.
The economy is rebuilding itself atop the ashes of the old one. Traditions are being trashed as we make new ones, vestigial institutions – the US Postal Service, terrestrial radio, the 9-to-5 cubicle career – are being gutted, their idiosyncrasies as endearing as they are irrelevant.
New industries are sprouting up.
There is a natural gas renaissance, there is a manufacturing renaissance – Middle America is an Emerging Market.
There is an oil boom – in America! We are minting millionaires in Utah and South Dakota and Montana at an amazing rate.
There is a healthcare revolution. In their final act of vanity and vainglorious selfishness, the Boomers shall now attempt to live forever. They will replace every part of themselves and seek to rejuvenate the rest. They will spend incomprehensible sums on this and fortunes will be made.
There is a alternative energy second act. Berkshire Hathaway is building the largest solar project on earth.
Electric cars are coming – for real this time.
Everyone is coding. Everyone is mobile. We walk around with computers in our pocket more powerful than the NASA equipment that first put men into orbit.
The curtain has been pulled back and the alarmists have been revealed for what they are: old men in suits. They are terrified. Their world is going away and no one will listen. They are lashing out, gasping for moment’s worth of attention from someone, anyone – even if they must use scare tactics to get it. It’s not working. People are going about their lives. They are making long-term plans again.
The Boomers are still working. They are aware of the research about their aging brains – “use it or lose it” say the scientists. They need not retire, we don’t want their jobs, we are creating our own. The workforce is adjusting. The very definition of work itself is up for grabs. We are redefining it now.
We’ve ventured out of the trenches and have not had our heads blown off. We’ve taken a few steps forward and it feels good. So we take a few more. Still alive.
It may never be this good again.
Let’s get something to eat.