Is Convenience an acceptable Value for Society?

Monthly Market Commentary: July 1, 2018

At the end of the 19th century, British scientist Thomas Henry Huxley opined that , "The most obvious and the most distinctive features of the History of Civilisation, during the last fifty years, is the wonderful increase of industrial production by the application of machinery, the improvement of old technical processes and the invention of new ones, accompanied by an even more remarkable development of old and new means of locomotion and intercommunication. By this rapid and vast multiplication of the commodities and conveniences of existence, the general standard of comfort has been raised, the ravages of pestilence and famine have been checked, and the natural obstacles, which time and space offer to mutual intercourse, have been reduced in a manner, and to an extent, unknown to former ages."  

Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia, recently penned an essay entitled The Tyranny of Convenience in which he argues that, "In the developed nations of the 21st century, convenience - that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks - has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies….Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us."            

Concerning my negative views about equities I would like to add that an important technical signal has turned down badly: the Smart Money Flow Indicator (SMART Index), which is calculated according to a special formula.          
The broader point I want to make is that we can see an increasing number of signs and indicators that point to a major slowdown in the global economy and to disappointing corporate earnings. Therefore, I reiterate my previous recommendation that investors who are overweight equities should really reduce their heavy exposure.  

With kind regards  
Yours sincerely  
Marc Faber 

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