‘What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
‘What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
‘What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
‘Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on’
‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, by John Keats
What a wonderful time to be alive!
Our Doom Index has just hit ‘8’…which is ‘Crash Alert’ level. Details tomorrow…
Meanwhile, the world is just chock-a-block with marvellous, magical, absurd, and absolutely ridiculous things. Like a city sewer in a flood, we are awash in things best not looked at too closely.
But since it’s Friday, let us at least take a look at something that happened last week.
3,519,252 financial advisors
As every sentient being on the planet knows, Elon Musk, the world’s richest — and clearly, cleverest — man decided to guide his financial life via a Twitter poll. That is, he asked the Twittersphere if he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].
This is obviously a novel way of making decisions. And perhaps better.
If two heads are better than one…surely, the 3,519,252 poll respondents, including the 2,037,647 who answered ‘Yay’, raise the quality of the decision at least to a C+.
What is most amazing about the whole thing is that 3,519,252 people…all supposedly compos mentis…probably adultish…presumably with real lives…actually found the time to weigh in on a financial question that didn’t concern them.
The decision would normally be of interest to only one, the very one person who — if results are anything to go on — is the most qualified human being to make the call.
After all, if the world’s most successful man can’t decide when to buy or sell his own stock, who can?
Have your say
And now that we see that there are so many people ready to help with our personal decision-making…perhaps we should make use of it.
Should we have a café latte this morning…or a cappuccino? You decide for us.
Where should we invest? In stocks? Bonds? Farmland in Argentina or Nicaragua (prices are low because they are…like…disaster areas)? Tell us, please.
Is it time to buy a new pair of blue jeans? Get a COVID booster shot? Wink at the pretty barista? We need guidance.
We invite replies and promise to abide by the results as faithfully as we would if they came from the US federal government or the Papal See.
They should have taken a flier on DWAC instead. Digital World Acquisition Corp is a SPAC…a special-purpose acquisition company. In this case, its special purpose was buying Donald Trump’s new company — Trump Media & Technology Group.
And when word of the purchase got out, DWAC shot up. Shares rose from US$10 to US$175.
As a general rule (in our rulebook, at least), all SPAC deals are bad deals. But who knows? There was no trace of it in the documents made available to the public, but DWAC might even eventually come up with a way to make money.
And in this wacky world, you don’t need to make money to get money. What money do the cryptos make? What money do the NFTs make?
What money has Elon Musk made? What money did Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell make? Between the two of them, they gained US$105 million in new wealth since 2004. Where did it come from?
Twitter says sell!
So, let’s return to the other curiosities surrounding this story.
And don’t worry if we get the facts wrong; they hardly matter. What matters is the cockeyed principle of the thing…which is what we’re trying to figure out.
In any event, Musk’s poll was taken. The twitterers rendered judgement. And it was in the affirmative.
This news then had a remarkable effect (but not at all unanticipated…at least, not by Elon Musk’s bro, Kimbal, who sold US$109 million worth of shares on Friday).
Earlier this week, Tesla stock fell, wiping out nearly US$235 billion from the value of the company.
That vanished US$235 billion represents more than the combined value of GM, BMW, and Ford. In other words…well…there really are no words that can do the situation justice.
Investors who judged the stock worth US$1,243 on Thursday of last week found it was worth only US$1,011 on Tuesday of this week.
Same company. Same products. Same earnings. Same markets. Same Joe Biden. Same Elon Musk. Same customers. Same problems. Same weather. Same COVID. Same everything. So why would a share be nearly 19% less valuable?
We hope you’re not expecting an answer from us.
As far as we can tell, Elon is sui generis…an economic law all of his own. God? Man? We can’t say. But when he pipes up…investors hear melodies so sweet, they can’t resist.
If he buys something, it goes up. If he mentions something, it goes up. Even if he mentions something else by mistake, it goes up too.
So far, the Elon effect is the most reliable indicator in modern finance.
Enrichment of Elon
And now, Elon is the richest biped ever to walk on the planet. That is odd too, considering that up ‘til now, his contribution in goods and services is worth (net) less than zero.
Add up all the money that has been invested in Elon’s projects. Subtract the value of all goods and services (mainly Tesla cars) rendered.
Do this for Edison, Ford, Rockefeller, Jobs, even Zuckerberg — almost any really rich person — and the sum will be hugely positive.
Their companies make profits by providing goods and/or services that are more valuable than the resources (including capital and labour) that go into them.
We’re not going to do the math for Elon. It’s too much work. But the result must be a staggeringly negative number. His businesses do not make money, they lose it. They destroy wealth, they don’t create it.
He is so rich because the Federal Reserve has falsified the value of capital…and rigged the auto market with carbon credits. There is also the mysterious Elon effect, for which we offer no explanation.
Enrichment of the elites
The enrichment of Elon, in other words, parallels the growing wealth of the entire elite caste.
It is not based on actual output — neither on sales nor on profits — but on fake money and fake interest rates.
It favours gamblers…showmen…
…geniuses, as well as grifters.
And as we saw last week, it goes as well as comes.
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PS: The Rum Rebellion is a fantastic place to start your investment journey. We talk about the big trends driving the Australian Economy. Learn all about it here.