here were only two things that occupied the news this week – and both were largely insignificant but important nonetheless. The Mueller report was already headed to the garbage can even before it was released and that’s where it ended up with all the red-acted pages. The Notre Dame fire, while unfortunate, showcased human behavior, albeit one that is misplaced but very real.
Let’s take a deeper look at these two events that caused stock markets to pause but not blink. Robert Mueller had the worst job and did what anyone with that much attention would do – he punted the responsibility to Barr and the Congress. Barr, punted and earned a lot of criticism but held onto his job – which is saying a lot in this administration. Now, the Congress has to figure it out and they will in their own esoteric way that will eventually amount to nothing.
The Notre Dame fire was so capturing that begged the question – why was the reconstruction delayed so long that the cathedral became so fragile. The answer was that no one was willing to fund the improvements. In many ways, the fire has become a boon for the caretakers – Louis Vitton, Apple, L’Oreal and Total have all pledged millions of dollars. And just like that, in a few hours, 650 million euros was donated to rebuild Notre Dame, while no one chose to offer any significant amount in the reconstruction prior to the fire. The budget for improvements and restoration was 60 million euros before the fire started.
Future Wealth’s View
There is something fundamentally wrong with human behavior when it comes to few things that these two events have highlighted. The Mueller report showcases how no one wants to take responsibility – kick the can down the road and let everyone else deal with it. Why is that such a primitive element in human behavior? Blaming others or not taking responsibility is just easier when eventually, it is not wise for one’s own development. The real question is “How does one live with making that decision and go about their life without any guilt?” or maybe, the guilt just does not matter either.
The Notre Dame fire is a classic example of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – the social need to seek recognition in disaster when one had no desire to assist otherwise. This is another human behavior quirk – Apple would have never ever ventured to help rebuild the Notre Dame until the fire took down the spire. Why do people feel they want to help only when disaster strikes? The “Go Fund Me” movement is filled with stories of people who suddenly feel the need to help the same people who they simply ignored the day before.
What has any of these events have to do with investments? Well, who we are is what our investment strategy represents. Are you looking at your net worth everyday and blaming others or are you taking the long term view and remain content in your life and where your investments stand? Do you seek recognition in others sorrow or do you help the needy everyday through charitable contributions? Only you can answer these questions.