Investing in a World of Geopolitical Uncertainty
Americans think in decades, Europeans plan for centuries.
The return of war in Europe, a flare up of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, extreme polarization on both ends of the political spectrum taking hold in capitals across South America, the enduring reign of tribalism threatening economic stability in Sub-Saharan Africa and the unending dysfunction of the Middle East.
The fabric of economic globalization and the international structures of governance set up in the aftermath of the Second World War are being torn asunder. An increasingly volatile geopolitical schism is shifting the axises of power across the globe. The specter of hyper-inflation and recession lurks around every corner.
How should investors navigate the shifting sands of geopolitical realignment in a multipolar world?
Think like the multigenerational dynastic families of Europe.
“This type of wealth has survived not only business cycles but also war, invasion, the collapse of empires, revolution, and natural disaster. In order for family wealth to persist through so many centuries and through such adversity, something more is needed than ordinary investment skill. This rare kind of success in wealth preservation requires a longer view, infused with a sense of history and a keen appreciation for worst-case scenarios that too frequently become real.
When one inquires of family members and representatives as to what it takes to preserve wealth over centuries and not just cycles, the frequent reply is ‘a third, a third, and a third.’
This is shorthand for dividing one’s wealth into one-third land, one-third gold, and one-third fine art. Obviously some liquidity is needed for day-to-day expenses and some room can be made for a speculative portfolio, but the basic idea that land, gold, and art outlast and outperform riskier assets such as stocks, bonds, and cash seems sound when viewed from the perspective of centuries and not just years or decades.”
– James Rickards, a hedge fund manager in New York City, and author of Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis.
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