What We’re Reading
Since 1972, the survey has asked respondents the following question: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days–would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” Typically, the people who say they’re very happy outnumber the not too happy crowd by about three-to-one. Indeed those numbers have been fairly constant for half a century.
But in 2021 that all changed. The very-happies plummeted from 31 percent of the population in 2018 down to 19, while the not-too-happies surged by a nearly identical amount, from 13 to 24 percent.
I love going to the American Museum of Natural History, and I’ve been three times since I moved to New York in 2009. If that rate continues, I’ll step into the museum 12 more times. For an activity I think of as “something I like to do,” that number seems shockingly low. I also love going to the movies, but ever since it became effortless to stream everything at home, I’ve been averaging one or two movie theater trips a year. In my head, I’ll go out for hundreds more movies in my life, but the real amount is probably some weirdly small number like 53.
“Half a trillion dollars was more or less set on fire, as producers chased more production, and in the process depressed the global price of oil. They never really made much money out of it,” said Rory Johnston, a commodities economist at the investment firm Price Street. “Any profits you could get out of shale producers were filed back into more investment, which is ultimately kind of self-defeating.”
Tesla’s original California factory has achieved a brag-worthy title: the most productive auto plant in North America.
Last year Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, produced an average of 8,550 cars a week. That’s more than Toyota Motor Corp.’s juggernaut in Georgetown, Kentucky (8,427 cars a week), BMW AG’s Spartanburg hub in South Carolina (8,343) or Ford Motor Co.’s iconic truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan (5,564), according to a Bloomberg analysis of production data from more than 70 manufacturing facilities.
Question:** Do the great tech giant franchises of our day, specifically Microsoft, Apple, and Alphabet, have the same long-term durability that Coca-Cola had 30 to 40 years ago?**
Charlie Munger: It’s a lot easier to predict who flourished in the past because we know what happened in the past. But now I want to compare what’s gonna happen in the future. Of course, that’s harder.
It’s very hard for me to imagine—that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen—but I would expect Microsoft, Apple, and Alphabet to be strong 50 years from now—really strong, still strong. But if you’d asked me when I was young what was gonna happen to the department stores that went broke or the newspapers which were broke, and so on, I wouldn’t have predicted that either. I think it’s hard to predict how your world is going to change if you’re going to talk about 70, 80, 90 years.
Just imagine, they wiped out the shareholders of General Motors, they wiped out the shareholders at Kodak. Who in the hell would have predicted that? This technological change can destroy a lot of people. It’s hard to predict for sure in advance.
Have a good weekend.