Treece: Amid turmoil, pessimists miss out on profitsWritten by Dock David Treece | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must really be kicking himself. It now seems that the (notably demented) President of Iran might be the latest victim of the law of unintended consequences.
Some may recall that several weeks ago Ahmadinejad threw his support behind the protesters in Egypt, thinking their uprising against then-President Hosni Mubarak would be a great step for Islam. He must have been surprised when, just days after Mubarak stepped down, Tehran became one of several Middle Eastern capitals crowded with protesters of their own.
What Iran’s president failed to realize is that neither the revolt in Egypt, nor the ensuing uprisings in Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia and his own country were about the spread of Islam but the end of “oppressive dictatorships.”
In the end, Ahmadinejad’s backing of the protesters in Egypt may prove to be his undoing.
Aside from the implications in global politics, there are two interesting aspects to these revolts. First, except in Libya, they’ve been nearly bloodless, especially compared to previous conflicts. Consider that during the American Revolution there were roughly 25,000 Americans killed.
The second fact worth noting about these revolts is that they were organized largely using new technology including social media. It seems to be increasingly apparent to regimes that it is extremely difficult to maintain control of their subjects, given the rapid availability of information in today’s modern world. The dumbest thing the Chinese government has done in the past several decades may have been to open up its country to the Internet. In the long run, doing so will almost surely keep the government from maintaining control of its citizens under its current political system. That bell can’t be un-rung.
Aside from the $4/gallon gasoline that may result from the turmoil in the Middle East, things continue to look up for the American economy. Manufacturing indices continue to show signs of improvement and employment appears to have stabilized, even recovering mildly. Several weeks ago we noted Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 best companies” to work for in 2011.
At the time it was published, roughly 80 of the companies on the top 100 list were hiring. In fact, 25 of the 100 had at least 700 openings each. Almost 137,000 jobs were open in those 25 companies alone. Unfortunately, far too many people are still holding tightly to the cynicism that has plagued them for the past several years. Despite the signs of improvement and continued recovery, many continue to wait for the world to fall apart.
It seems that the average American investors can’t catch a break. They get overly optimistic when times are good, then get slaughtered when events like 2008 come along. Or they get overly pessimistic and miss out on tremendous opportunities during the recovery.
In the same vein, all too often people get excited about the prospects of new political leaders (e.g. Obama) and the “Change” they’ll bring. Very rarely do they get anything done — or in this case: what little change takes place will likely be repealed. Then, just when people get sluggish or lose interest in politics, there are a half-dozen revolts simultaneously across some of the world’s largest oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa.
Given today’s circumstances we see far more reason to be optimistic than pessimistic. Certainly there are times when the future looks less bright, but there’s always opportunity somewhere, some cause for optimism. One of our clients summed it up: “Negative people never make money.” Truer words have never been spoken.
Dock David Treece is a discretionary money manager with Treece Investment Advisory Corp. and a stockbroker licensed with FINRA.