Everything is awesome, and no one is happy.
France, for the first time in decades, has one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and unemployment in France is near a 40-year low. Macron was re-elected with a 17 point margin of victory, yet the only thing the press can talk about is “discontent.”
Unemployment in the USA is near a 50-year low, the number of jobs created in the past 12 months is the highest in decades, home prices are at record-highs, and wages are rising. Yet, the defining narrative is inflation and lack of supply, as if those two were not integrally connected.
Ukraine has valiantly repelled the Russian advance. The Russian military has been exposed as poorly trained and poorly equipped. It isn’t over by any means, but the media stubbornly sticks to a narrative that Russian victory is “inevitable”–even if that means moving the goalposts to Donbas and Crimea–areas the Russians already controlled before the war began.
Yes, there is discontent in the world. The working class is angry because the price of everything is going up, other people are getting rich, and they are not. Business owners are angry because the cost of raw materials and labor are increasing. I am hacked off because the service from my suppliers has become terrible–deliveries are consistently late, everyone is raising prices, and it is impossible to get anyone to answer the phone.
Why is this a problem? Because business is booming. Businesses can’t get truck drivers, there is a shortage of pallets, wine producers can’t get bottles or corks. Wood, steel, computer chips, and all kinds of other materials are in short supply. Commodity plastics which used to be in stock at any distributor now have a 14-week lead time. There has never been a boom like this in my life–it crosses every sector and spans the world. Over the past few weeks I’ve spoken to people in France, Portugal, Kansas, Arizona, Philadelphia, and Germany. Buying a house anywhere is difficult. Properties are sold within days, if not hours. Prices are extremely high. All-cash offers are common.
I guess after the tech bubble and the housing bubble we’ve been conditioned to believe that it can only end badly. Every boom is a bubble that can only end in a bust. However, what I also learned from those bubbles is that conditions can persist for several years beyond when you think they will end. Greenspan said “irrational exuberance” 3 years before the tech bubble burst. There were plenty of people warning about the housing bubble in 2004-2005, but it didn’t end until 2007-2008.
So, I’m going to ride this thing as long as it lasts. I refuse to engage in “discontent.” I look around and truly believe things have never been this good. How does it end? I don’t know and I’m not going to worry about it.