The Myth of “New”
We’ve never seen this before!
Meerkat. Source: Animal Photos
That’s what people say when they run into a novel situation. Whether it’s Brexit or Venezuela’s economic meltdown or Puerto Rico’s default, people want to marvel at their situation’s unique status.
But there’s nothing really new under the sun. The writer Malcom Muggeridge once observed that there’s no new news, just old news happening to new people. Take the immigration crisis in Europe. While millions of people coming into Europe from Syria is a new development, wars have always generated refugees. It’s partly why so many people moved to the United States in the late 19th century. Our economy boomed—the additional labor helped run factories in the cities and settle the frontier.
Source: Eurostat, Wikipedia
While the latest developments may be new to many news reporter, they’re unlikely to be truly unique. History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. So don’t let alarmist headlines freak you out. As Calvin Coolidge once said, if you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer