Spectacle!

In America we love spectacle. We love a parade. Especially when someone else is paying for it.

Today all sets will be tuned to the Royal Wedding. Also Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and blog entries. I counted over 100 Apple App Store applications dedicated to the event, and who knows how many online news stories.

There’s something deeply satisfying about a grand celebration. From graduations to weddings to funerals, they all have similar characteristics: an introductory procession, a series of speeches, and a party (or parties) afterwards. There’s been a lot of nonsense about how the spending will stimulate the English economy, and I suppose it will, temporarily. But as I mentioned when stimulus spending was discussed back in 2009, if you want permanent changes to the economy, you need permanent changes to infrastructure. A once-every-30-year party won’t do that.

But there are some lessons to be learned from the celebration. One has to do with institutional stability. England has had a reigning monarch for the last 1500 years or so, excepting Cromwell’s 10-year Protectorate. Institutions that have been around a long time tend to stay around a long time. The same goes for technologies; and professions.

The celebration tends to validate the event. Here’s hoping it works for William and Kate.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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