SPOTTING TRENDS
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international investment philosophy

International Investments Driven by Happy Endings
By Gary Scott

international investment philosophy

International investments can bring us wealth if we can spot trends. Sometimes the biggest trends first give us warnings in subtle little ways such as this early warning about the fading American Dream.

One way to see trends is to monitor bestseller book lists, in papers such as the New York Times and USA Today.

Merri and I read USA Today because it is the largest circulation paper in the US. I don't like the paper a lot but reading it helps me to know what the largest single block of Americans are reading. This gives us clues as to what this large block is thinking.

One phenomenon spotted in this effort has been the great interest in secrets and magic. The best sellers of Harry Potter and the unexpected response to the “Da Vinci Code” give clues. 

Perhaps Americans have become cynical about the system. They feel lied to and deceived by all of the institutions. Perhaps people feel that the education system, religion, government, law enforcement, athletics, big business, all have let us down.  Maybe Americans feel as if they are fed too much spin and to little truth.

Can you blame them?


So people want to know the secrets, the real truths, things that are so correct that they are magical….and this leads to this yearning for magic. I don’t know if this is correct but it’s one of the best shot theories I use in my guess work.

This may have been the force that led the book “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell” a book about the 1800s in England and the science of magic, to became a surprise best seller.

This of course put the book on my reading list. I picked it up for Merri last year in London and she has been urging me to read it every since.

Talk about hard, circuitous lessons. Though every review I have read about this book is a positive rave I had a hard time getting through it. Merri did too. We both had to take a break in the middle and leave it for a bit. The 800 page length has something to do with this, but not all. I had a problem with the book. Reading it solidified my thinking on a reason why the US economy has been so strong for 200 years and could be fading now.

The reason is a possible change in the American belief in happy endings.


I think that this book was written by an English writer. (The information on the author is very scanty just 2 lines really.) English novels, films, TV shows and such, unlike Americans, often lack two elements of the great American novel. They do not have sympathetic characters striving for worthwhile goals and they do not always have happy endings. The problems presented in the British stories do not always get resolved.

Belief in happy endings has made America different from so many other nations.Americans have not only wanted, but have really expected and believed in happy endings. Bless our rose colored souls, we have been so positive and upbeat and believed that if we strive and work hard we will be compensated for it!

This is not the philosophy of the old world country, and this is why so many millions left and came to the USA.

This feeling regrettably may be changing. The gold paving on America’s streets may be tarnishing, It seems to me that more best novels and films that sell well in the USA come out bad at the finish.

Am I mistaken? Or is this the beginning of a bad trend that reflects on more than how to sell books.  

Somehow I do not think the American Dream is dead yet. After all, breakfast business meetings in the US still exist! Let’s hope so for the whole world.

Having lived abroad for twenty years I know how irritating the boundless, upbeat, pushy, narrow-minded American attitude can be to other cultures.

Yet parts of me love this positive, upbeat framework of thought. It creates a great entrepreneurial energy.  Combined with America’s labor mobility, low cost labor from immigration and easy access to a huge one-language market, there is an ease and encouragement to do business that could help keep America (and in the process the global economy) moving.

For many years Merri and I have considered ourselves citizens of the world (or as Merri says “citizens of the universe”) rather than Americans, but I am hooked on happy endings and this is where I ran afoul of “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”. Neither Strange or Norell are sympathetic characters.  Nor are their goals especially worthwhile. I can see as the book progresses that there will not be a happy end.

Let’s hope that America’s belief in happiness remains. The US has been the engine that has pulled the global economy along. Americans have spent and spent and spent, far more than they should. Partly I think this is true because they still believe in happy endings. Somehow they feel they’ll resolve the debt.

The world does not have to have American growth to grow. Continued globalization of the economy will carry on and create more wealth. The emergence of China, India and other nations will have an incredible impact on this global community. Yet America’s steadfast belief in itself could also help this process…a lot.

As you observe the world, economies, markets and currencies to see which way economic winds are blowing, keep this lesson in find. Happy endings are good for business but belief in them is even better.

The Happy Ending is dead. Long Live the Happy Ending!

Until next message, I hope all your business and investing has a happy ending!

Gary

international investment philosophy   international investment philosophy

 

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