If you didn't see the dramatic escape of a North Korean soldier over the demilitarized zone a few days ago, you need to watch it now, it's monumentally powerful. If you have seen it, watch it again:
The flight of this refugee struck me pretty firmly. It made me think of Syrians, Afghans, Sudanese and others who have been displaced around the world. Right now, there are over 65 million people who have been displaced worldwide. Most of these people have not been able to resettle.
The North Korean who made it to South Korea carrying parasites and disease, received five bullet holes during the escape. He is only 24 years old. He's 5 foot, 5 inches, 132 pounds and very malnourished.
I thought about his size because I'm only about an inch taller and I have 40 spare pounds. There's no shortage of food on the planet, only a shortage of sharing it. What is going on in North Korea with starvation and oppression makes no sense.
I am no military strategist, though I did play one in college for a semester, so, I don't know what is and isn't possible for dealing with North Korea. I do know that North Korea would be much better off without Kim Jong Un.
What the future holds for North Korea is an open question. If this man's plight and health are any indication of conditions in that nation, and I think it is, then radical changes have to be sought. If there is a way for America to support an overthrow or oust Un ourselves, without causing a war with China, I think we free Americans need to support that effort.
I am very thankful for the freedom we have here in America.
I am going to talk a little about love because it is an important emotion, probably our most important emotion. Without love, frankly, I think society would be doomed. In fact, I think we humans would have been gone a long time ago without it.
Love is something that most of us seek. There is some which is natural, that we don't have to find. The first love from parents is the most natural. When that love is lost it can be devastating. And I am not just talking about when a parent dies, which is natural too, so while hard to deal with, can usually be worked through over time.
We have all known people whose parents were not very loving. Most of us know somebody who have a mother or father is just a shit head. We know that leaves a wound. I worry most about people in general who have not had loving parents.
I am lucky in the parents category. Mine are both alive, well and have been extremely loving and supportive of me. I know it wasn't easy, and probably still isn't, I've been a bit of a challenging personality from my teens on. We'll get into that some other day.
I am very thankful for my parents who gave me everything I need to make it in this world.
I am very thankful for my kids who are the lights of my life and have grown up as good as I could have imagined.
The kind of love we tend to think about is in the form of romantic relationships. Here I'll pause to mention the love of friends and other family. Those types of love are underrated in my opinion. That group of people around us, while maybe not the affectionate kind of love that we have with parents or a long-term lover (I get tired of all the different labels, so I use this one because it's appropriately descriptive in my opinion) is vitally important to our survival and happiness.
I am very thankful for my brothers, friends and extended family who have been my daily support and enjoyment.
Back to romantic love. This is pinnacle of what most of us seek. The feelings of comfort, support, closeness, fulfillment and completeness are just the start here. For some of us, this kind of love is hard. It has been for me after a divorce and a love who I had to walk away from because she wanted more children and I didn't think I could do that.
I see some of my friends struggle with finding romantic love too. I don't know why it is so hard sometimes. There are a whole host of social expectations that probably should be ignored. And we all have baggage we carry that should probably be set down and never picked up again - but that's hard too because people internalize problems more than happiness for some dumb reason.
I think I have gotten lucky again. After a high school friend kicked me in the butt a little this summer about finding somebody, I think maybe I did. I'm not really sure, we're both busy and have lots of getting to know each other to do. But, she makes me smile and feel good about myself, and I think I do the same for her. I respect her a lot. And we have fun. So, that's a start.
I can't say I'm in love yet, but I can say she makes me think it is possible. And that's a big deal. I almost didn't feel like I could fall in love again after a lot of dating that ended (not generally badly, just ended) without finding true love. When you're 'O' for a decade on trying to find love, you start to doubt.
That "failure bias" is hard to overcome, but I'm a pretty confident guy (some would use other descriptive words). I know for a lot of folks it's harder. But, it shouldn't be. Trust me on this one, just for fun, walk up to somebody you find attractive or interesting at the grocery store who is picking out bananas and ask if she (or he) likes the green ones or yellow ones better. If you get an answer instead of a weird look, or even an answer with a weird look, talk about how green bananas are young and full of potential, how yellow bananas are probably just right, but that the older ones might be the sweetest. You'll have to do it a few times probably, unless you're super smooth and lucky, but I know "the banana conversation" has worked at least once.
I am very thankful I have met a special person who makes me think that love is possible for me.
I have talked about personal and emotional issues in my and all of our lives a few times now. I have to think my journeys through love and other emotions are fairly universal, so I share them.
But, why do I share them on an investing site? That is a pretty good question. I talk about emotions because in my opinion, emotional investing is the number one reason that people trail or fail as investors.
If you go through articles on Seeking Alpha, you will find emotional argument after emotional argument in the comments sections. Sometimes, the emotional argument is the article, how does that pass for analysis?
The most emotional investment ideas seem to stem from ideology and politics. I can't count the number of times I've heard people argue that oil is forever with some silly un-fact-checked argument about how solar or electric vehicles will never be worthwhile. It's like they forget technology keeps getting better because it supports their politics of the moment.
I also read all the time from the people who think they have a limited edition of the Bible of Capitalism that nobody else knows about. Somehow they can take some partial interpretation of something and slap down anything else, all while thumping their chests and type at the same time.
Man, I've read Keynes, Smith, Hayek, Friedman, Marx, von Mises, Stiglitz and a whole bunch of others. There is no Bible of Capitalism or of Economics. The closest in my opinion is Keynes' "General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" which I've read three times now and still understand it about as well as the Old Testament after 9 years of Catholic schooling. Oh, those Chicago School kids are pretty smart too.
See, I just got emotional there didn't I. Can't have that when investing. You'll screw up. You must have an on/off switch for emotions when doing analysis. Just remember to turn it back on later when you're looking for love - right.
Somebody recently told me that I've been prolific the past few years with my writing. I don't know about that. I plan to crank out a lot more the next few years. Why? Because I believe we are about to enter another period of volatility.
Volatility will scare most people. Not me. It is going to be a bigger opportunity that investing cash into stocks in the spring of 2009 and then fishing for 8+ years.
If we can finesse the coming volatility and build positions in the companies that will save the world in the 2020s, we can not only get rich, but we can do a lot of good things with the extra money we'll have.
Save the world?
Yes, save the world. I don't care if you believe in climate change. If you don't, it's an ideological argument you are clinging to. Discard it.
The biggest opportunities coming are in smart everything. IoT, AI, AR, VR and alternative energy with a smart grid that powers smart electric vehicles. We're even going to see a tech based solution to methane and CO2 that churns out plastics without using petroleum. What's coming is amazing and it's only a few years away.
Companies from one end of the spectrum to the other will make fortunes taking the world into another age of prosperity in coming decades. If governments have any sense, they'll make sure those fortunes aren't hoarded by less than 1% of the population.
In December, I will lay out a long-term game plan by focusing first on the short and intermediate terms. I see profit growth flattening, liquidity tightening, asset valuations correcting, stagflation, the potential collapse of Japan, stagflation and eventually helicopter money.
I also see a world coming that feeds more people, brings cheap electricity to most, cleans the environment, improves healthcare, raises standards of living and ends a lot of conflicts that are frighteningly coming to heads now.
I truly believe the world is getting better, even though we have some tall hurdles to clear. And, I believe there is a lot of money to be made as it all happens. Just make sure to have love in your life to make it worthwhile.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: I own a Registered Investment Advisor (https://BluemoundAssetManagement.com), however, publish separately from that entity for self-directed investors. Any information, opinions, research or thoughts presented are not specific advice as I do not have full knowledge of your circumstances. All investors ought to take special care to consider risk, as all investments carry the potential for loss. Consulting an investment advisor might be in your best interest before proceeding on any trade or investment.