PTSD replaced ‘shell shocked’ in the war-veterans lexicon.
What words, what acronym describes the average investor, manager, commodity trader, or news-anchor after the carnage of recent days?
On the rack?
Suffering from mental confusion – SFMC?
Yes, SFMC says it.
Some fear 30 million might die, some think that’s exaggerated – and I hope they are right. Some think 30 million is light, and that 300 million or more might be a more accurate estimate.
One would hope we’d be hearing facts, predictions, and strategy from infectious disease doctors, but instead, we are hearing from politicians – unqualified ones, and many with a reputation for side-stepping the truth.
No matter how many experts we listen to, no matter how many political and media mouths say calming words, nobody is calm. One must wonder if Saudi or Russian leaders are personally calm and not worried – since they’ve chosen this time-frame to open an oil-price war; it’s about cash, it’s about market share, and it’s about geopolitics – and for them, opportunism.
Most experts are cautiously urging action, disclosure, and funding while also calling for calm. But that’s hard if what you are seeing is panic, and it goes well beyond consumers filling back seats with toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and disinfectants.
Are any of the political talking heads making sense?
Of course not, because a medical crisis needs a real doctor, not a spin-doctor.
Warren Buffet’s famous quote, when investors are whipsawed: “When the tide goes out, you find out who has been swimming naked,” seems prophetic at times like these, especially when his company is sitting on hordes of cash waiting for opportunities.
Is this a time of opportunity? It seems a waste to miss taking advantage of a crisis that might be the worst thing in a long time – to be contrarian.
But how can we be contrarian to the contrarians without being dislodged from our moorings; is there a safe job, industry, or location that won’t be hit by economic impacts of a worldwide crisis of confidence?
Or is it that kind of emergency?
Is it a real crisis, or a news-media fueled faux-crisis where the big wins, and the most significant losses, will be investors and pension annuitants, oil companies, or governments? All of the above will be rocked, shocked, and whip-sawed financially and emotionally. Or not.
But what about the human health side of this.
A lot of people die every day, every year, which is life and reality – so is it catastrophic that for a while, some are dying of a newly identified cause?
The air, the weather, a mobile population, and rotation of the earth is bringing this to everyone’s doorstep at some point; we can run, but we cannot hide.