Autocracy Is in Crisis

June 3, 2022
Leyendecker Executive Search

June 3, 2022

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.
William James

THOUGHTS FROM DOUG

All our general economic theory and domestic economic systems were set up to manage a mostly domestic economy, but we don’t have a mostly domestic economy anymore. Is Washington aware of this?

I may have seen the future of America yesterday morning. A young couple in their 20s with three little children arrived in the breakfast area of my hotel in Wichita, Kansas. The husband was tall, thin, with short cropped hair, dressed in military fatigues. The wife looked like the Kelly McGillis character in the original Top Gun. The couple left their very young kids, one in a stroller, at a table while they fetched food from the buffet. After everyone had food in front of them, the husband and wife lowered their heads and silently said grace.

Not long ago, oil and gas were considered a treasured resource. Our oil in particular may have been the reason we won WWII. Now, many consider oil and gas evil. What resource do we treasure today that tomorrow will be considered evil?

We are extremely concerned about things like climate change that negatively affect our physical environment. But what things are negatively affecting our mental and emotional environment?

This past winter, we got involved in a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. Then President Biden traveled to Southeast Asia and announced initiatives to counter China’s expanding influence. Are we setting the stage for war in Asia while we’re still trying to resolve a war in Europe?

Ninety-five percent of Baby Boomers identify as heterosexual. Ninety-four percent of Gen X do, too. Now only 77% of Gen Z identify as heterosexual. WTF has happened? Could it be a trend, fueled by social media and likely to recede at some point?

Is it time for everyone and everything to just slow down? Remember the saying “he’s over his skis”? Maybe we’ve been living “over our skis.” Maybe Covid and Ukraine are us “hitting trees.”

The old saying goes: birds of a feather flock together. If so, do bird’s together become of the same feather? Do we think and act like the people who surround us?

THE ECONOMIC VIEW

Employment grows by 390,000
Are we at peak jobs recovery?

Home listings spike
Sell before the market falls?
While prices up over 20%

Jamie Dimon says “brace yourself”
He sees economic storm on the horizon.

Ford is planning to spend billions
And hire many thousands.

THE INFLATION BOGEYMAN 

Lumber prices slump
Have we seen peak inflation?
While gasoline hits $8 in California

US export prices rise 18%
Looks like we’re exporting inflation.

Car insurance rates going up
Insurance companies passing on costs.

Burger prices are up
And likely to stay there.

THE LABOR VIEW

Recent job switchers are still looking
Do we have a bunch of spoiled workers?
While US hiring demand remains high

Remote work is no longer acceptable
Says Elon Musk.
Germany’s biggest union balks

Labor is still playing catch up
Inflation is eating labor’s lunch.
While robots pick up more factory work

Workers are tired of commuting
Who can blame them?

MEANWHILE IN EUROPE

Inflation going bonkers in Europe
It may not have yet peaked.

Turkey wants to be called Türkiey
Everyone gets to choose their identity today!

UK implements O&G windfall profits tax
Have banks ever enjoyed too much profit?

PLAYING WITH FIRE

Carving up $54B of US aid
Is the US pushing for a Russian default?
EU wants to confiscate more oligarch assets
Putin may be open to “talks”
Russia is using lots of illegal weapons
EU embargoes Russian oil, sort of
As the price of oil tops $120
Ukrainian grain stuck in Ukraine
China is Russia’s biggest export partner
Russia could cut more gas to Europe
Russia could cut more gas to Europe
Eurovision winner buys drones for country
OPEC may get rid of Russia
Is Europe growing skittish about support?
Is Russia still struggling with war execution?
Russia bombs toxic chemical plant
Hungary is a thorn in the EU’s side
Russia controls 20% of Ukraine
Poland wants to help with wheat harvest
But also wants new immigrants to get a job
6.8 million refugees have left Ukraine

GLOBAL

UN has new head of nuclear disarmament
And he is from North Korea.

Iranians seize Greek tankers
Were they full of Iranian oil?

Autocracy is in crisis
Autocrats’ troubles dwarf democracy’s.

THE FINANCE WORLD

PE liquidity events aren’t happening
How will this affect future fundraising?
Maybe a little, as wealthy investors pile into it
But is PE the defensive strategy some suggest it is?

Want to gamble on “anything”?
The “prediction market” makes it possible.

Companies with high ESG ratings
May be overvalued.
ESG is looking like a bust

THE CRYPTO MEME

Crypto—where nobody  learns
The same mistakes are being made again.

Why crypto crashed
So what’s next?

Are influencers gaming the crypto market?
Be careful whose opinion you follow.
There’s already insider trading in NFTs

TECHNOLOGY

Innovation isn’t improving productivity
But why?
Productivity just decreased by 7.3%

Moore’s Law is almost dead
But new chip designs may save it.

Here comes artificial touch
More effort to divorce us from reality.

THE NEXT NORMAL       

The kids are not alright
America, we have a problem.

Here come the summer blackouts
Are we overly dependent on renewables?

Buy now, pay later schemes
Are putting young folks in great debt.

THE WAR ON CARBON

Lithium waste is a big problem
How come we’re not reading about it?

There are not enough EV charging stations
‘Cause they may not really make money.

Bottlenecks push up gas prices
Let’s cancel more pipelines.

THE CHINA SYNDROME

Some China banks have a cash problem
So does the Chinese government
Are dominoes about to fall?

China slams US and New Zealand
For joint comments on human rights violations.

China fails to get Pacific Island deal
Has China’s power and influence peaked?
As they prepare new aircraft carrier

THE WASHING-TONE

White House interns to be paid
Why were they working for free before?

VP Harris no longer focused on immigration
Too tough an issue?

Voting software is hackable
But hacking supposedly hasn’t happened.

MAKING A BETTER YOU

The art of listening
Maybe we will hear more.

Slow down
Your brain would really like it.

Efficiency is the enemy
Do we all need more slack in our life?

HOW ABOUT A BREAK

The most beautiful place
In each state.

Wanna make super big bucks?
Become a lifeguard in LA

The life of a honeybee trucker
Everyone needs bees!

SONG OF THE WEEK

Running up That Hill”
Kate Bush song gets Stranger Things boost.
The actual Stranger Things scene
Lyrics

VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

The Last Guide
Thoughts from a fishing guide for over 70 years.

Want to work at McDonald’s?
Here’s what the work is like.

Life lessons from 100 year olds
‘Cause we need them.

CASTING AROUND THE PODS

The future of investing
From one of Warren Buffett’s top managers.

FROM THE HEADHUNTER’S KITCHEN

The Eclipse cocktail
Aperol paired with tequila.

Some food is steamed in hell
It’s a Japanese thing.

The big fake of fake meats
They are not that healthy.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The Leyendecker View: IRR Is a Vanity Metric
May 27, 2022

The Leyendecker View: The New King of Europe
May 20, 2022

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