With the extraordinary events that took place in Houston, southeast Texas, and Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Harvey I felt that it was much more relevant to discuss this catastrophe versus part two of demographics and interest rates emphasizing Japan.
Houston: Hurricane Harvey
An estimated 27 trillion gallons of water has blanketed southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana.
I have often made the case that apartments and home rentals are highly valuable because of the flexibility they provide people to move for whatever reason. Housing became way over-owned in the 2000s and this did great damage to our economy and society. I finally came across some interesting research that explored how damaging it was for underwater homeowners in terms of limiting their geographic flexibility to seek out employment and how this impacted their long-term earning power.
Income inequality has many economic and societal impacts. When more wealth is concentrated in fewer hands, this can negatively impact aggregate demand as a large percentage of marginal dollars earned are saved versus spent. And since one person’s spending is another person’s income, a growing pool of savings will lower aggregate demand unless one or more sectors of the economy spend more than it earns as output will go unsold and have to be marked down for it to clear.
The old adage is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. As Ben Graham said, it’s not the bad ideas that do you in, but the good ideas that go too far that can do the most damage. A perfect example of this was the drive for more Americans to own homes,
Network effects are extraordinarily powerful. The more people that join the network, the more valuable it becomes to be part of the network, which leads to more people joining. Entrenched, valuable networks are very hard to dislodge and offer great competitive advantages. Think of Facebook,
It is notoriously difficult to separate the signal from the noise when it comes to investing. What information is truly meaningful enough to take action that can lead to making money or avoiding loss versus useless information that leads to decisions which bluff us in or out and lead to lost opportunity or losing money?
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