by Joe Shea
June 24, 2016
DID IT REALLY MATTER?
BRADENTON, Fla., June 24, 2016 -- Britain's vote to exit the European Union has had enormous and sometimes catastrophic consequences in markets around the globe; for instance, the Dow's historic 610-point fall hardly compared to the 12 percent drop in the major Italian market.
Given these consequences, it was instructive to search the business pages of yesterday's New York Times today for some hint of things to come, but only one business story mentioned Brexit at all, and that was just in passing.
True, the Times had editorialized against Brexit (the campaign to leave the EU), but it seemed to have litle clue as to the practical effects of a "Leave" vote.
According to CNBC, wealthy investors like George Soros called the markets right and made hefty profits among the staggering losses suffered by some. But most investors saw their stocks drop like rocks.
I put great weight on whatever the Times says about anythingl it is always carefully thought, 99 percent accurate and most important of all, true. So why did the world's greatest newspaper miss the boat on Brexit? Did its own opinion hold so much sway over their editors and writers that they dismissed the likelihood of a "Leave" victory?
But what of the tens of millions of investors around the world who lost so much money today? Were they equally naive, or uninformed, or indifferent to the possibilities? Had they guesseed right, as George Soros did, they might have made, collectively, a vast fortune. Instead, they lost one. Why?
Universally it appears, the "elites" who own newspapers and television and radio stations, magazines and major Internet sites misled (again collectively) their audience on the likelihood of "Remain" losing to "Leave." To all appearances, the same elites lost as much or more than their customers.
Some people can see things coming, and some cannot.
My perspective is probably a little different than others'. I've watched the Dow fall many times, even if rarely in such broad company as it did today, and I've seen it recover just as often.
For me, it seems likely that history will repeat itself, and that our recovery will begin very soon. As a practical matter, Americans are largely unaffected by what happens to the European Union, to Great Britain, and to the rest of the world's markets.
There can be important consequences, such as on the price of cars and other imports - which well may fall, not rise - and for Americans bent on travel, most of Europe and the world will be a little cheaper this year.
Economists will argue that falling stock prices means less money available for for corporations to invest, and thus fewer jobs and perhaps even lower pay.
That is a proposition of marginal significance, in my view; 10 days from now, there will be hardly a trace of the presumed effects of today's global wipeout, I think, at least for Americans.
I like it that way.