I've been talking about the knobs of society in my newsletters. Well one of the knobs we appear to have lost all fear of is the spending knob and we've decided we can pretty much turn it as high as we want without consequence. And yet everyone regardless of their economic ideology realizes that we can't turn it up forever. And the key problem is that people imagine that when the time comes when we need to moderate our spending that it will be easy to turn down. I very much doubt that.
I recently encountered the term Wizards and Prophets as a way of describing those who were, respectively, optimistic about technology or pessimistic about it. I think this is a good way of thinking about things, and as the context I encountered these terms ended up being a full-throated defense of wizardry, I thought it might be worthwhile to offer up a defence of Prophets. Those who contend that we are playing a dangerous game, one whose stakes Wizards may not entirely understand. The recent resurgence of the Wuhan lab-leak theory for the pandemic proved very timely.
Making any predictions about China is difficult, but that doesn't mean it's not important. It may in fact be one of the most important things we can do if we want to have some idea of what the future holds. And while predictions are difficult, it does seem like a worthwhile endeavor to look at potential inflection points. Points where we can definitely say that past here things are very different. In this episode I offer up some potential inflection points. I'm not sure that any of them will come to pass, to say nothing of all of them, but they provide a useful marker for where China is headed and what it might mean should it arrive there.