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Do you see what I see?
Inflation & Markets that always go up
Instead of the usual novel idea drop, I’m going to ask a sincere question:
Do you see what I see?
This is a question that we should be asking more regularly at every opportunity. Finding common observation is how we build a scaffold for the world around us. Much of the division that’s come of the last few years stems from numerous poles subscribing to opposite forms of reality. The current paradigm is one where each side of an issue comes to conclusions in echo chambers. When we come to conclusions in echo chambers, ideas aren’t annealed outside of our own conformation bias. This is the problem, the solution is only to ask again and again, “Do you see what I see?”
I’m becoming more and more skeptical at every additional assurance that we are not amid a serious inflation cycle. Mainstream reports I’m reading that claim ‘soaring’ single digit percentages don’t reflect the reality that I am seeing in my corner of the world. I don’t say this to promote fear, rather that we can’t solve a problem that we won’t look in the eye. At the moment, I believe we’re turning our gaze away from the real problem of inflation.
I've been doing a live in renovation of a multi-family for a while now, but over the last year especially have noticed a dramatic increase in costs of materials I've been buying for some time. The one that sticks out because I'm in a buying cycle right now has been Primed Nickel Gap Shiplap which is an interior wall material. Less than a year ago, one board cost $7.68, making a pallet of 216 boards ~$1,700.
Right now, this material is $12.57 per board or over $2,700. Nearly double, and ~20% more than what it was just a month ago at $10.98.
I’ve mentioned in past posts that I own and operate a cleaning app called WAND. Recently, a long time customer reached out to me personally because our prices in app have doubled over the last few months.
What I had to then explain was that in our app we have a basic surge pricing calculation that sets the price for instant requests based on rates being booked across our providers in a given market. Since we are just a broker to the marketplace of providers on our platform, the takeaway here is that in St. Louis, services that when we started were only being booked for $65, are now being booked as high as $150. With nearly 180 cleaners across 3 markets, this can be taken or left as a general assumption for the market.
A Market that Always Goes Up
The current and past administration have both been promoting the performance of the market as a positive indicator of our economy’s strength throughout the pandemic and amid the recovery. I believe that in both cases, the foundation of that claim has been grounded in optics rather than reality.
If you have 9 minutes, I recommend this video from Libertarian Candidate and Podcaster Larry Sharpe who we had on The Vance Crowe Podcast a few weeks ago. Within the first 12 seconds, Vance kicks off the riff by talking about how with interest rates being so low, it’s ‘as if the middle class have a gun to their head to place money in the stock market.’
If you have only 2 minutes, I recommend this video from Jonathan Wilson. Wilson draws a striking comparison between our US market and Zimbabwe to get the same idea across.
If you leave this week’s article with one idea, let it be to ask ‘Do you see what I see?’ more often. Regarding the inflation perspective, my question was genuine. You can answer if you’d like to by commenting on this article or write me on Twitter.
Next week, I’m going to talk about how to improve the way your brain renders the world around you.
See you later.