Jeremy Grantham posted an analysis last week that purported to show commodities in a permanent new relevant range as a virtuous rising trend. A couple of days later I met with an investment advisor who discussed commodities and investment opportunities in a market which is clearly trying to find direction. A day later, I had a conversation with another money manager who talked about the absolute grim news which everyone seems to be dispensing at the moment. There was talk of default on government debt and the disconnect between the economy, the market and quantitative easing.
Then on Monday night a documentary (part 1) shown on BBC2 came up with a bold new theory. We can lay all the problems of the last few decades at the feet of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism that supposedly permeated Silicon Valley and included Alan Greenspan as a supporter. The philosophy of individualism and self interest clearly failed.
Surely I am not the only one observing such a mix of signals in this world. I am sitting here on the shores of Coniston Water and across from the village of circa 1000 people. If I am hearing this, what of the souls elsewhere, in booming boroughs and cities, and in Japan a couple hours north of Tokyo, and in the American midwest and in Afghanistan and in Egypt, Syria and Libya.
The truth is that we live in a vast common. We share the common of earth, air, and water. We are so interconnected that whatever we do, whatever action we take, will surely filter through to either the betterment or destruction of that common of earth, air and water.
This week we’re seeing the aftermath of terrible tornadoes in Missouri and the Icelandic ash cloud is once again grounding flights in Northern European air space. Tomorrow there will be another hit to the common, we just don’t know where.
We don’t like our lives being disrupted. We have agendas. We are after all living in a world of self interest, say the objectivists. Ah, there is a missing ingredient here. Each person’s own self interest, being interconnected, is actually dependent on everyone else.
We depend on the farmer to do his job and to be successful. When he is successful, we can buy his produce and eat better food. We depend on weavers who depend on industry and farmers to produce the materials they weave. We depend on designers and engineers to produce solutions to the problems of this world and to produce products that make our lives better. We rely on doctors and nurses to be properly trained and to do their jobs well. Their success means our success. We rely on good teachers to teach our children so that mankind has a future on this earth. Their success means the success of our children and the success of mankind.
It is ridiculous to discount the triumph of the human spirit and the great ingenuity and power of human capital. But there is only one way we will find our way through. We have to tap into the divine power that put us and this planet together.
Have you never wondered at the ingenuity of our programming? Is it not awesome that a seed, with a little sunshine, earth and water, manages to produce a tall towering beech tree? Are we even remotely necessary to this process? This earth and the devices taken for granted by man, run on principles which have been sewn into the heavens. Meditate on this for a time, and you’ll surely find the source of power which drives and will continue to drive everything in the known and unknown world for all time.