March saw one of the biggest drop in foreign Chinese bond holdings, down 2.09%, in the worst decline since 2015.
With Shanghai and other major cities in partial or full lockdown, China’s economy will see a contraction in Q1 and maybe in Q2 as well.
If they open up, we may again get a bounce but their economy was declining even before the January 2020 lockdown, and has continued a downwards trajectory since as the debt fueled boom risks giving way to a bust.
With the increase in interest rates in both US and soon in Europe, even more pressure will be added to China’s economy as consumers tighten up their belt.
A far away war in Ukraine that couldn’t have come at a worst time for them, is probably the least of their concern as their wider ruling class worries about exacerbating a cyclic economic situation that may risk turning a normal recession into far worse.
Which means oil and gas may crash, soon-ish. No one quite knows when, but with China’s economy out of consumption due to lockdowns, prices for both oil and gas artificially far too high due to extra speculation, and with the supply of neither being quite fixed, $50 per barrel should be coming this year or next.
That might strategically invert the economic order of the past 15 years during which Europe has stagnated and America has largely stagnated too outside of the tech sector.
Fed’s chair Jerome Powell’s decision to target a higher than 2% inflation rate “for some time” may have shaken the economy out of that low growth trajectory to higher growth.
Unlike staglfation as some commentators say where you get both stagnation and inflation, what we are seeing is more ‘normal’ growth in line with the economic performance prior to 2008, and when you have proper growth you of course have some inflation as well.
Some of that growth may be due to investors leaving China following some government meddling into the economy, with those funds to eventually find their way into America and Europe as the developed economies potentially enter a new era of growth.
This will play out over months, years, and even decades, if it plays out at all, but it should do because China under the current leadership has shown itself as being the nation where innovation goes to die.
The west in contrast is beginning to see the results of years of investment in research and development, with genuinely innovative new products already in the market like SpaceX or now Blue Origin and others, as well as our own cryptos and others, or coming to market like electric jets and eventually airplanes, space internet, self driving cars, increased automation in manufacturing, in addition to advances, albeit slower, in biotech and other industries.
The media too in the west is getting on its feet, and culture has left millennials a bit hungry to disrupt it.
All of which means we’re probably entering a new era, and of course it should be called the millennial era after the millennials.
The Dawn of the Millennials
If we had to describe this new era, it would be defined by extremely low tolerance for any wars, of any sort, which practically translates to wars becoming unrealistic in as far as they might happen, as it is happening, but so much anger is courted that you’re effectively fighting against the whole world, rather than against a specific nation as it used to be the case.
Israel saw this epochal change last year when they learned that a new generation is now de facto in power, and this generation has very low tolerance for such games.
That means its focus is on self-actualization. That’s the new job of leaders: to facilitate the greatest level of self-actualization for its people.
It’s not to rule or govern, but to business manage the economy and society for a new era where hunger and basic necessities are under control, and thus there’s only the problem of self-actualization to tackle.
This is based on two premises. One, that objectively speaking there is no alternative to liberalism in both Europe and the United States, and that means in these two continents, including places like Australia, borders are more an administrative matter and these two continents should be more one trading zone, with a free movement of people, goods, etc. A globalism of the likeminded if you like.
The second premise is that the millennial generation, at least in these two continents, is angry and it chooses or will be led to channel this anger not towards leaders or governance in a revolutionary sense, as long as they facilitate what the generation wants, but towards market competition.
As an example, Cyrano is currently in cinema. Beautiful movie, though trash ending on the surface, but reading correctly its condensed metaphors, its message is very apt for our time: the love of nationalism or the nationalistic love of a country, kills love.
The problem is that this movie was written in 1897. And it’s not like it is now great due to the passage of time as it is said the audience kept clapping for an hour after the show had ended when it debuted for the first time in that same year.
Where are our masterworks? Where is our audience clapping for an hour after seeing something original for the first time?
That’s the sort of thing that this generation may turn its anger, productive things. That means creating the conditions to facilitate them, and that includes being far more demanding of bureaucracy, including demanding further market liberalization especially in areas where regulations act as a legally enforced barrier to competition and as monopoly or disruption protection.
Others may of course have other ideas, but we expect the more intelligent and resourceful to move with rational objectivity, and thus to move towards these sort of things because we have to elevate our capabilities to at least bring the dawn of human space exploration and settlement as in half a century or so when we’d be giving way as the biggest current generation, there isn’t a better legacy to pass on than making humanity multi-planetary where the games of conquest are more unchallenged as you just put a flag and claim a planet.
Where crypto is concerned, such a thing would establish it as the actual money because as the astronauts that just landed at the international space station show, the internet still runs up there. And of course martians are not going to accept any nation’s fiat.
Where automation is concerned, or these flying cars which are or will be computers fundamentally, we can give them crypto bank accounts very easily and they won’t have any fiat bank account choices because fiat is paper, while digital fiat is just ‘scanned’ paper.
Those are just two examples to show that innovation benefits this space, and more widely that innovation breeds innovation.
It benefits everyone more widely as well, but it also benefits crypto, and of course it so happens that crypto in some ways embodies this whole new era, not necessarily in itself but in effectuating this channeling of anger towards productive things.
Because bitcoin came at a very angry time when students were occupying Wall Street and The City of London.
Instead of joining them, some of the students of that time saw that genuine innovation can be the answer, to direct that anger while also actually solving problems.
Something that can give rise to an entire outlook in saying there is no answer in either nationalism or communism because both tend to hate our bitcoin as both love total control instead, and thus like to kill innovation.
And that the answer is instead in that very innovation because the best description of self-actualization in one word is probably originality, the ability to create out of ‘nothing’ something new.
That’s a source of pride and a lot of other things, as well as a source of wealth: creation.
It has taken us five centuries to get here and we’re not quite ‘here’ yet, but the enlightenment has given us all the tools and we have experimented so much while also seeing what happens when the enlightenment thinking takes a wrong turn, to reach the stage where there is no competition but economic competition at least among these two continents.
One such wrong turn of the enlightenment is Romanticism which is what Russia is currently practicing and is polluting China with.
The rest learned from Hitler just how much of a wrong turn it was, and thus there is no debate, in either Europe or America, about whether their way has any merit as no destructive ideology based on emotionalism, like blind love for some glorified and illusionary uberman nation, can have any merit.
This generation also saw a wrong turn in our own time, during the almost two decades of war that have now ended, but the ending of them perhaps proves our thesis.
That this generation sees liberalism as superior to alternatives, and thus there is no fundamental debate on governance, only tweakings. It has no tolerance towards wars and will use all means to end them, and perhaps also that all economic activity should focus on euro-merica et al (places that share that enlightenment framework), a single economic zone that facilitates innovation.
Things like production costs, in this perspective, need to take into account the unseen cost of lost innovation from production in areas where they do not facilitate innovation.
Something that re-writes the rules of globalization whereby areas are rewarded with investment only after they show they have a framework that facilitates innovation, rather than before hand in the hope that the investment itself leads to such framework.
Because the cost of the misallocation of production can be very high, both directly as we are seeing, but also indirectly in terms of the unseen, but very real, cost of lost accidental or research and development based innovation which tends to not be tolerated under frameworks other than liberalism.
With this view, if acted upon, both Europe and America should boom because there would be both the benefit of globalization, though with likeminded nations, and the benefit of innovation not being lost, in many cases to humanity as a whole because other governance frameworks very often tend to kill innovation completely rather than just stifle it.
And with innovation so being the fundamental growth engine of the economy, we should in the west be entering a new era of growth which should of course benefit cryptos as well as the wider economy.