The world’s problems remain the same as ever. Which also means the best investments are likely to remain the same. You just have to figure out where in the cycle you are. Here’s our quick summary of what’s going on that’s so familiar.
In Odessa, the Jewish community is preparing armed guards and busses to evacuate their children ‘when there is shooting in the streets’. There’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the ‘History of Jews in the Ukraine’. It should be called ‘the history of Jews being killed and thrown out of Ukraine’. The worry is that the right wing nationalists installed by American and European money will perform some of the traditional cleansing. Someone posted a $10,000 reward on a British journalist’s head, accusing him of being a Russian spy.
Apparently, Ukrainian soldiers aren’t being paid. Well, not after the money passes through the same corrupt hands that people rose up against President Yanukovic for. The soldiers have done what any self-respecting young person in their situation does these days. They’ve asked for donations on Facebook. Families answered their call with food and groceries — probably not what they had in mind. They’d asked for knee pads and intercoms.
The Ukraine is heading towards a civil war and breakup. As Seinfeld’s friend Kramer once put it while playing Risk on the subway, ‘the Ukraine is weak’. A Ukrainian bystander reacted in much the same way as Ukrainians are today on the streets. He gave the Risk board a smack — something most family living rooms have seen.
Of course, the best thing to do would be to split the country in half. And then do it again. And again until you get a country for each and every person in the Ukraine. That way, nobody can boss anybody else about under the guise of ‘majority rules’ (democracy), ‘the fatherland’ (nationalism) or ‘the people’ (communism). Everyone would be too busy trying to make a living if nobody could live off other people’s taxes.
Anyway, it’s not just the Ukraine going through the motions of history. Over in American airspace, a U2 plane shut down airport computer systems in LA by accident. And American, British and Dutch fighter jets intercepted Russian strategic bombers in Guam, the UK and Holland. Cold War anyone?
Then there’s another scandal in French politics. It turns out the author of the economics book sweeping the world, Thomas Piketty, may have abused his former girlfriend Aurelie Filippetti, who is now the culture minister of France. Not worth covering in the Markets and Money, you might think. And we wouldn’t if it weren’t for this sidenote in the Australian Financial Review:
‘Ms Filippetti was then a spokeswoman for the then-opposition Socialist Party. Mr Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, was advising the party. Both were close to Segolene Royal, its presidential candidate in 2007 and the mother of President Francois Hollande’s children.’
French politics seems as incestuous as ever. Which tells you that something other than economics will determine French economic policy.
It’s no coincidence all the speakers at our World War D conference have a keen understanding of history. To find out what the world’s top investment thinkers recommend you do about all the turmoil around the world and the optimism in Australia, click here.
for The Markets and Money Australia