Shouldn’t these inflationary pop stars stay at home tinkering with oars and fixing potholes like Rod Stewart? Photo/Getty Images
Unlike most pathological pessimists, Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore was endearing in his sadness, but it’s beginning to seem like the depressive donkey philosophy is the most adaptive one to cultivate these days.
Even if something great could
it seems, there is always a discouraging setback. Just ask the Swedes, who were so excited to see Beyoncé perform earlier this year that their exuberance fueled a significant increase in inflation. The joyful activity of attending a pop concert turns out to be financially damaging – on par with a war, a pandemic or a stock market crash.
Central bankers are still so concerned about Beyoncé’s liquidity effect, given persistent post-Covid inflation, that we cannot rule out the World Bank warning governments against issuing additional visas to the artist.
Eeyories will therefore greet with dismay the new Rolling Stones songs – generally received with enthusiasm. Will Mick’n’Keef be so socially irresponsible that he goes on tour, prolonging the cost of living crisis in the developed world? Shouldn’t these inflationary pop stars stay at home tinkering with oars and fixing potholes like Rod Stewart?
And let’s not overheat our economies with good news either. It’s all well and good to wait for the benefits of new anti-obesity drugs, but there will be suffering. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is among several listed companies already shaken by the realization that global demand for products such as sleep apnea equipment is likely to fall. With the kilos, sales will decrease and stock indices will shrink.
Newer medications regulate blood sugar levels to such an extent that their appetite decreases. Will no one think about the food manufacturers, the takeaway chains – not even the cake stalls at school fairs? Who will eat all the pies?
Then there is the increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), which foolish and unimaginative optimists claim will simply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Fine, if you like that sort of thing. If you are Minister of Finance, this is rather provocative. Countries like Singapore and soon Britain must tax electric vehicles because their replacement for polluting vehicles has caused serious domestic revenue shortfalls. The political cost of punishing virtuous EV drivers is high, so one alternative under consideration is to treat car trips like phone calls: log all the miles and charge accordingly. The technology is there and can be calibrated to favor electric vehicles and off-peak travel.
Naturally, pessimists counter this apparent solution with an even more repressive, but boring and convincing “Yes, but…”. The obvious being: why should a country shell out for a new car tracking system when the Chinese already have one that tracks us all? Think about the next Jeremiah: If we ask China nicely to share their data on us, they will launch into a rant against Five Eyes monitoring them, and a simple issue of domestic revenue will become a geopolitical rift.
Advertise with NZME.
Then there’s the fact that outside of Scandinavia and a few other territories, EV chargers are so rare that EVs can’t travel as far or as often as polluting cars, so there will be still a significant revenue deficit. The optimist foolish enough to chirp, “Well, let’s install more chargers,” will be wearily reminded that many countries cannot yet produce enough electricity to meet demand – certainly not without coal and gas. And anyway, as the pessimists claim, the world may be just one Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift tour away from a massive currency collapse.
Short of locking up any artist earning more than an Abba tribute act, the best antidote to the Moaning Minnies, when they seem so sadly right, is to reference the contrasting doctrine of Eeyore’s colleague, Tigger: ” It’s not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.