Harry S. Dent | Monday, May 06, 2013 >>
Immediately after Demographics School, we host our Network Conference for our most prestigious members. This year we had a surprise speaker…
His grandfather, Jacques Cousteau – a name I’m sure you recognize – was instrumental in the development of the modern-day diving cylinder (a.k.a “tank” for those non-divers among us). He and Emile Gagnan co-invented the modern demand regulator and improved the autonomous diving suit, ultimately transforming how we interact with the oceans, seas and lakes.
In fact, Cousteau Sr. led the exploration of the oceans. He was the ultimate entrepreneur. One of the 0.1% to 1% that drives progress. His grandson follows in his footsteps.
But why would we bring an environmentalist to a conference that consists mostly of financial advisors and business owners?
The answer’s pretty simple…
Advisors Shares is an innovator in new exchange traded funds (ETFs). Together with Philippe they’ve created one called GIVE. The idea behind the ETF is to invest in “positive impact” stocks. Then a portion of the management fees (0.40%) goes to Philippe’s foundation for environmental causes.
Think of it as a green ETF that’s not limited to environmental stocks.
This fund is close to Philippe’s heart because of his passion for conservation… a passion instilled in him by two patriarchs. You see, the Cousteau family has been diving for decades, exploring the oceans around the world. As their adventures progressed, they came to an irrefutable conclusion: our oceans (and overall environment) have been degrading exponentially, with coral reefs among the worst affected.
Now, Jacques Cousteau didn’t start out as an environmental advocate. He was first just an ocean explorer. He and his family became environmental advocates as they witnessed the devastating changes in the oceans they were exploring. In the same way, I didn’t start out to be an economist. Who would want to do that? Economists have zero chance of ever having sex. But I fell into that world through business consulting analysis.
But back to the Cousteaus…
As they swam their way around the world, they saw more and more clearly how the rise in our standard of living, and the increasing CO2 and methane emissions from our wastes, caused an exponential rise in the pollution that today threatens our natural resources.
This is our most basic “capital,” yet the majority of people have turned a blind eye… ignoring its degradation and decline. That’s like economists ignoring debt growing at 2.7 times GDP from 1983 to 2008 and wondering why we’re in a debt crisis… which brings me to my point: how can you be a free market “capitalist” and disregard this environmental trend?
That’s what Philippe talked about on the first day of the Network Conference and his presentation was surprisingly well received by our more conservative audience. I believe that’s because of his free market response to dealing with rising pollution (and our mutual view of debt). It should not be about living today at the expense of the environment (or our finances) tomorrow (as those Tea Party whack-jobs would argue). It’s about making the hard choices today so we can have a better future.
I have said, over and over again to our readers and listeners, that we face deflation, despite the debt bubble of the recent decades and the unprecedented stimulus and money creation. Yet most people see money creation at these desperate levels and cry “inflation.”
They’re wrong. History tells us so… very clearly!
Deleveraging of debt, and the collapse of financial assets that result, create deflation. And despite the short-term pain, it has incredible long-term benefits like driving business efficiency dramatically higher… weeding out the weak and unnecessary flotsam.
Pollution is just like debt, only on a longer-term basis, and with much greater consequences. We can live better and cheaper today if we don’t recycle or deal with the costs of our wastes!
But what would our future look like?
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