I had to cut my Caribbean vacation a little short, as they introduced new restrictions down there coming in effect end of the week. Specifically, mandatory covid testing before getting on the plane back home, and it costs $75, each attempt.
Now, this amount goes a long way in the south, plus the resort is half empty and I’m a good paying client, so it’s hard to see their incentive to let me out. I could be testing positive for weeks.
The curfew there starts at noon, so if you want to play golf, you have to wake up early and be fast.
I did catch one the last planes out, otherwise next time you’d see me I’d be really tanned.
Looking at the big picture worldwide, things seem a little liquid these days, and economic dysfunction will remain the driver of 2021 as it arises from a shift in the pattern of economic behaviour. People will limit spending and conserve cash, companies too.
Okay, nothing new, as the song by INXS goes – “the reasons why you live keep changing.”
It is important to remember that national power is not a matter of perception. It rests on the realities of geography, economics and military power. These are deeply grounded and minimally changed by internal social and political stresses.
The underlying power remains in place and a year is a short time in history - the system itself remains intact.
Washington is now engaged in a massive redefinition of its foreign policy, moving from global engagement to selective engagement in both - its military and economic actions. U.S. policy toward China and the Middle East reflects this. With the former, the U.S. is limiting its economic exposure; with the latter, it is limiting its military exposure. This will not change under Joe Biden.
However, given the dramatic actions around the election results and accusations of fraud, it will be important how and where the capital will move now. Will the Dow still rise, as the capital will park for safety? If you manage a trillion dollar fund, or even a half of it, you are sensitive to changes.
In Europe, the status quo will be as strong as ever, even though they’re moving towards socialism full speed. The bond market has been destroyed (ECB owns 40% of it, because there is no bid otherwise) and blue chips stock markets are increasingly owned by them too. Fissures within the EU were on full display in 2020, and yet institutionally the EU remained intact.
The covid scandal is just a sideshow, but it sure helped to quiet the nationalist movements on the continent.
The issue as I see it, is that there is a gap in the thinking process between the elites and the population and it is anyone’s guess how this is going to develop.
Most people know what to show and what to conceal, but only to a point. We had a saying back in the day – “never show your first emotions, because they’re real.”
Again – to a point. Conflicts start when people lose something.
Good thing is, the music is getting better and better. It was like this during the Vietnam war, the golden era of great bands and great songs, my opinion.
We lost the war, by the way.
So, play that funky music white boy. Play it 'til you die.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler