Email of the day (1)
Comment of the Day

October 21 2011

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day (1)

On the Contrary Opinion Forum, 'Rollerball' and the US economy:
As we settle into the Contrary Opinion Forum Heidi and I look forward each year to seeing you and Graham. There are people we meet who we feel comfortable around. You and Graham have that knack of relaxing others.

I enjoyed your presentation and found it well rounded and internally cohesive. The idea of investing in the Autonomies is particularly intriguing. Mobile principalities with their own royalty. I think back to the movie "Roller Ball" with James Caan. Basically, a corporate controlled society.

There seemed to be consensus.
The theme from everyone was one of slow growth going forward because of debt and demographics. Neither debt nor demographics is going to change. However, I would present a contrary idea to the slow grow because of demographics which points the way to grow out of debt. Instead of the aging demographic profile like Japan that everyone is focused on, look to the immigrant population. I remember a COF presentation in 2008 about immigration in the US and the large, young, Hispanic population. The theme of that presentation, which still appears to be true, is the young immigrants, if made stake holders in society, would provide the taxes necessary to pay social security and Medicare for the aging baby boomers and the economic and consumer growth to pay down the debt. The Hispanic population here has a language issue and race issue but, being Catholic, not really a cultural issue anymore than the Irish or Italians of the last century.

With turmoil in the Middle East, that will only get worse, Europe should expect more immigrants. However, from what I have read it is a difficult integration. Never the less, the young population would provide the households necessary to invigorate and replace the aging existing population. There are still the language and race problems in addition there is a religious friction. To be stake holders they will have to be integrated into the European society meaning everyone will have to be more relaxed about things like burka's. Wasn't there a negative reaction to yamaka's many years ago that has mostly fallen away? What about all the young girls that wear crosses? Prohibit that too?

If the politicians on both continents can give up their fear mongering tactics and see the positive economic benefits immigration could resolve many of the financial problems we face now.

In many of the developing economies like South America, Africa and parts of Asia the young population is motivated to achieve a better standard of living. They have the demographics and economic cycle on their side.

The Chinese, while having a young population, face a demographic problem of their our making with the one child policy. Not enough girls and not enough children to support the two aging parents. And an interior population that is feeling exploited by corrupt officials that does not have the economic base to support a consumer economy. Many rule of law problems for them. Not the rosy scenario so many paint.

My conclusion is as the Kondratieff wave/ business cycle/ deleveraging/ secular valuation contraction pays out and all point to a similar time frame (2017) the recovery might be stronger than expected unlike the long Japanese experience.

A book I would recommend is "The Next100 Years" by George Freidman

David Fuller's view It was great to see you both, and thank you for this thoughtful email and your interesting comments on the economic outlook.

In the rush to catch up after two weeks away, I have not commented on this year's Forum until today but we enjoyed it more than ever. So many familiar faces and Alex Seagle pointed out that approximately a third of this year's attendees were Fullermoney subscribers. Seeing so many old friends and making new ones while relaxing with people previously only known to me from emails was a treat. Among so many enjoyable contacts I shared lunch and a breakfast with three generations of adult subscribers from one remarkable family. These opportunities make the Forum much more of a civilized reunion than a business trip.

I can also say with no false modesty that in addition to the ambience which makes the Forum so special for me, I know that the greater wisdom and experience is in the audience. Consequently, the highlights for me each year are the congenial conversations during the shared meals and the two evening receptions.

Contrary Opinion Forum organisers Alex Seagle, Len Davenport and Randa Jane Becker deserve the credit for creating this very special event. The beautiful Basin Harbor Club and its good food adds to the enjoyment. All that was missing was the usual autumnal foliage, do to the late frosts this year.

I think Rollerball (1975) is a good pop culture film, prescient even given the corporate excesses which followed. However, I do not see the success of the Autonomies leading to a corporate-controlled society. Instead, they go where they see growth, and why not. They are global players.

Like you, Fullermoney does not share the view that the US is in perpetual decline although the current debt deleveraging process is painful and will take a number of years to complete. My latest thoughts on this subject were in Wednesday's leader, as you may have seen. I agree with your point on demographics. The US will also enjoy the blessing of energy self-sufficiency in the next decade, provided the political environment allows the development of both conventional and non conventional oil and gas reserves. I appreciate that this is not without risk given the CO2 emissions and other forms of pollution when extracting natural resources but these too can be controlled more effectively as new technologies are developed.

Thanks also for the book recommendation. Alas, so much to read and so little free time. In a similar futuristic vein, I wonder if any of you have read Future Files by Richard Watson?

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