Last week we published the story of William Knox D’Arcy. He had more good fortune than a man deserves. But sometimes you make your own luck. And you can’t get lucky if you’re not trying. He tried twice in his life, taking a punt on highly risky, highly improbable ventures. It paid off for him in spectacular fashion. It’s a great story.
Australia must have been full of men and women like D’Arcy at an earlier point in its history. You don’t settle a continent and build a country from scratch by being afraid of work, risk, or uncertainty. Yet today, we get the sense – and this is true in America as well – that our ancestors would hardly recognise the tepid, fearful, and coddled people we’ve become today.
True, they might admire us for our expensive eyewear and cosmopolitan sophistication, but they probably wouldn’t want to homestead with us, or go in as partners in a gold mine. That takes fortitude, a sense of adventure and a willingness to back yourself.
Maybe the world was just perceived differently then. Frontier people are required to believe they can control their own destiny and improve their own lives. If you didn’t believe that deep down as a matter of personal character, you’d never be out on the edge, at the margins of life trying something different to finish life better than you started.
It’s not an American quality or an Australian quality. It’s a human quality that you see when people are out there on the frontier, not just thinking about the future but making it. For some reason, we live in an age where people are more fearful than positive, or maybe where people are just too lazy, complacent, and well off to take a real risk. Why bother?
But it’s a good thing D’Arcy didn’t think that way. And for what it’s worth, we reckon the status quo in the markets can’t prevail forever. True, there is no theoretical limit to a central bank’s ability to grow its balance sheet (and suppress bond yields while supporting stock prices). But even human credulity has a breaking point. Tomorrow, we’ll show you why people stop believing, and what happens when they do.
for Markets and Money
From the Archives…
William Knox D’Arcy: The Greatest Australian You’ve Never Heard Of
30-11-2012 – Callum Newman
Credit and Credibility
29-11-2012 – Greg Canavan
Nothing More than Feelings… For the Aussie Dollar
28-11-2012 – Dan Denning
The Thanksgiving Gift from the Feds
27-11-2012 – Bill Bonner
The Aussie Dollar Dilemma
16-11-2012 – Dan Denning