Two compelling views on the 'state of nations' today

As we reflect  on what has been an incredible week on so many levels, we present here  the reflections of two contributors, both from hugely differing backgrounds, one South American, the other Northern European,  one older, one younger, but both with an overwhelming interest in the  rights of the individual and against the slow but seemingly steady  decline in personal decency, the creep of privacy erosion and  proliferation of governmental and corporate malfeasance.

View 1 - Stay liquid! Timing is everything

"It goes without saying how incredibly scary highly contagious  diseases are, but, I would like to invite you to focus on another aspect  of this pandemic outbreak in our modernized world.

With the globally instant access to information that we have, it becomes the responsibility of our media outlets to inform without triggering the  panic and hysteria that can cause further harm to our society and  systems. Such responsible behaviour has been far from what our western  media has been doing in recent years, and that, in turn, has opened the  figurative doors of doom.

While dealing with  financial markets I understand that some big movements are, most of the  time, coupled with impactful world events. They have a tendency to ride a trend, news or event to its utmost extreme, so people in a comfortable position on the ladder can manipulate the hands of those less able to  handle crises.

The crisis that we are living right now, the coronavirus pandemic, is just such a scenario.

When  facing a disease that can lockdown an entire country, as is happening  with Italy right now and Denmark and Spain, one doesn't know for sure if  one will be able to make money, to survive, as the country's economy  stumbles into a forced halt.

Even if you are an  employed person and can work at home, what guarantees do you have that  the company you work for will be able to fund pay for its employees? How  long will this lockdown last? How can people even know if the company  has the financial reserves to handle a short lockdown?

All  these questions tend to lead to one concern...liquidity. When the  general population needs liquidity, all financial sectors take the hit,  but imagine what would happen if someone, or a group, predicting this  oncoming need for liquidity were to liquidate a huge amount of their  assets and tumble the market before the realization and panic could  spread?

The magnifying effect would be tremendous  and the panic selling would lead to an even bigger hit. Those who were  on the fence would jump onto the downward trend, and those who were  feeling safe, would be left wondering when will be too late for them to  make a decision.

Meanwhile, the people who  started the mass selling will be watching as their buy-in point improves  by the minute. With mass hysteria spreading within the markets, they  will be enjoying themselves in their exclusive clubs while the regular Joes and Janes of the world, people just trying to live their lives, to  get ahead, to play by the rules, despair over their decision, fearful  that the decisions that they have been railroaded into making could  leave their families starving in a soon to come bleak future.

This  kind of time and this induced mentality are the perfect environment for  anyone to make the wrong decisions and every wrong decision you make is  an extra number in someone else's portfolio. In the financial markets  we can't all gain, some people need to lose so others can win. Keeping a  cool head and not forgetting your goals is the best way to avoid this  trap-riddled moment in the financial markets.

But  while there is blood in the water and the sharks are all around us,  never forget that whales bleed too. No-one is immune, no-one owns the  rules and karma is real!"

SG March 2020

Our second part talks to the human condition and how we need to respond at times like these.

View 2 - The need for hope

"I reached out to my tribes the other know...those groups  of people all around you, some distinct, some near, some far, some  connected, some overlapping, to just convey a sense of the calm we all  need to exhibit and live right now.

"I don't intend to play camp counselor here, but I am sensing some despondency around. It is  important we all remain positive, this time will pass, but three things  we need, above all, are to retain a sense of purpose, of humour and of  perspective. Reach out and help/support one another. We will get through  this, people"

These are extraordinary times. And  one of the most difficult aspects of everything that is going on is the  uncertainty of it all. We none of us know how this is going to develop,  can predict with any certainty what is going to happen or fully comprehend the full range of possible outcomes of it all.

I was raised to believe that charity begins at home and I was trained to  find the evidence when for looking for cause and effect. This may sound  strange but at this precise moment in time, these two tenets seem to be  conspiring to combine and collide.

Whilst it is  unfortunate and disappointing that sporting events are being cancelled left, right and center, it is not terminal. It is frustrating that our freedom to travel and associate is being restricted, it is important  that we work together to restrict the ability of the virus to spread.  Sure we're being asked to re-examine and reinforce our personal health  regimes but that's a small price to pay.

However, what is truly disappointing is the actions and reactions of  governments, companies, groups and even individuals to propagate,  prolong and worsens the impacts by exploiting the situation to their own  advantage.

Companies gauging prices on essentials, dismissing staff on low or zero benefits or severance,  people panic buying and hoarding, governments promoting xenophobia for  point scoring and popular acclaim, industry groups crashing energy  prices to crush the competition and gain long term market position, people manipulating buy & sell positions to make paper gains  regardless of the long term impacts on the viability, desirability and  value of emergent technologies & financial systems...sadly, the list  goes on and will likely get longer and we've all seen it.

There is something so fundamentally wrong with so much that is going on in the world right now and there has been for a while.

And despite our best intentions, we have to accept that we can't save the  world all by ourselves. We maybe can if we work together.

I guess the basic messages here are that if you can help, you should.  Don't over extend yourself, you are no use to anyone if you burn out or  bankrupt yourself. Learn to share again (whilst observing your 'social  distancing' guidance), take pleasure in the small things around you and  try to always remember to say thank you and to appreciate people once  again.

Reach out to those around you, friends,  family, associates, colleagues, your tribes, look inward to help and to  ask for help. Be humble, be realistic, become a listener, learn to say  no and make the hard decisions. Educate yourself to cope with less and  to learn from these lean times.

Avoid being smug,  hold back on the 'I told you sos', it's not helpful and this is not the  time for blame and recrimination, we need unity not division at this  time, there will be plenty of opportunities to review events but if we  don't hold it together now, there will be no social structure to  preserve and rebuild upon.

Listen to the real  experts, not the 'false prophets', it never fails to amaze me that in the face of a drama, crisis or full blown disaster how many 'experts' there suddenly are, how many people feel the need to portray themselves  as the victims, don't be these people, the real victims are all around  us and seldom get the coverage and exposure they need and deserve but  you can find them if you open your eyes.

As I said to my tribes, we need to retain three things going forwards.  Firstly, a sense of purpose, we cannot get despondent, it helps no-one  and whilst it may seem nothing is going right or improving, it sure as  hell won't if we all sit around wallowing in it! So get out there (figuratively, if necessary) and do things, do something to help, work, whatever but stay focused and productive.

Secondly,  retain your sense of is not the end of the world even  if it seems that way. Humankind has been through worse and we have come  so far as a species, maybe this is the cosmic wakeup call we've been  needing for a while. Health is wealth so no matter how matter bitcoin  you have or how many followers on Insty, it all means very little if you  die...keep that in mind and take care of the important, not so much the  supposedly urgent or outright frivolous.

Finally,  retain a sense of absolute essential, it lifts your spirits  and those around you, it feeds the sense of general well-being, it  relieves stress and it builds mental immunity...laughter is often  referred to as the 'best medicine' and not without good reason.

When all is said and done, I guess it all comes down to the simplest 'life hack' I was ever admonished with as a younger man

"Treat others as you would wish to be treated" really is that simple, folks!"

OSL March 2020

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