Friday, 11 November 2016


The really big news of the moment is that lots of rain is falling all over the country. It will take a while until we see what ultimate benefit there is to the various river systems and dams but it must be substantial. The insurers though may not be quite so happy as it seems that a lot of damage has been caused by the downpour in some areas, but overall the spirit and mood of the country must improve. We may almost soon be ready to forget the hateful, hurtful and racist yet unchallenged rant from an elected MP encouraging genocide and theft. It would however be nice to see him handed a painfully large fine – payable immediately to a charity chosen by the targeted parties.
Well isn’t this democracy stuff astonishing? You give people a choice and they choose. Just as amazing has been the over the top panic reactions to the news that a man with no political experience or background will now become President of the USA. But that’s the point. Trump’s victory suggests that the electorate have grown weary and wary of the same old Washington insiders and dynasties wielding the power and milking the systems. Much the same reaction emerged in our own elections in August and the British referendum a couple of months before that. More and more of us want less government in our lives.
Apparently, the most terrifying thing about the President Elect is that he is aware that debt is the country’s big problem and that the best way to solve this is to reduce government spending. And reduce borrowing – which is probably why interest rates are ticking up. Many of his ideas about how to achieve these changes threaten the way of life of various communities who have become used to being recipients of state hand-outs.  Some Americans have taken to the streets to register their disappointment by burning stuff. A familiar reaction to us down here.
There is an unproven notion that people who have more wealth than they deserve should have it confiscated by government who will spend it more wisely than they would do. The popularity of finding ways to minimise tax suggest that this notion is detested. The latest shot in this skirmish comes from the government of India who this week declared that the two largest denomination bank notes in that country would henceforth be valueless. Holders of these notes may take them along for exchange into smaller denominations but must explain why they hold so much cash. The answer “to avoid the banking and tax system” apparently will not do! Think about what might happen if they tried that here.
A bank’s Market Update letter to clients for 9th November was headlined “The US elect Mr Trump as its next President”. If this was news to any of that bank’s customers, well, it’s just as well someone else is looking after their money. The heading also carried a warning in red capitals that the document – delivered by email -- was not for distribution in the US. This was the first warning sign that foolishness was present. Further reading revealed that four of the report’s six pages were devoted to disclaimers in small print, the gist of which was: “It is very likely that parts of this document are rubbish, so don’t make decisions based on it and if you do, don’t blame us if you lose money”. This nonsense is the work of Compliance – a wealth destroying department in most businesses – made necessary by governments that have encouraged social and commercial environments in which an unsatisfactory outcome is some else’s fault. Hopefully Trump will inject some realism here as well.
It’s one of those weekends when the Springbok teams of all three major sports take to their respective fields [Yes I know the government says that two of them can’t be Springboks – but they are!] The soccer team has a new cap in the form of Lars Veldwijk, a Hollander, the rugby lads are up against their opposition’s (England) nearly unhinged coach and the fellows in white should enjoy themselves in the picturesque if rather damp Hobart. And there is the (Several) Million Dollar golf at Sun City and a GP in Brazil. Busy busy.
James Greener
Armistice Day 2016