A Few Things: The Brain Drain, The Future Of Work, What's Next According to GS, Breathing Right, ARK's Big Ideas, What To Watch In Crypto
January 29, 2022
“Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterward.”
“Success is not a gleaming shiny mountain. It is a pile of mistakes that you are standing on, instead of laying under…”
- Christy Wright
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
- Thomas A. Edison
A. A Few Things Worth Checking Out:
1. Parag Khanna had an interesting Time Magazine article: The Brain Drain That Is Killing America's Economy.
Some key bits:
Demographic forecasting is a generational exercise, and America’s shrinking youth base is the result not only of lower fertility and rising economic uncertainty, but also because the country has failed to maintain what used to be a huge edge in attracting young talent from around the world. America launched the “War on Terror” over twenty years ago, invading Afghanistan and soon after Iraq. Even as President Obama sought to rebuild America’s prestige, the annual inflow of Chinese and Indian students began to taper and decline during the latter years of his administration. Then came Donald Trump’s visa bans, border walls, and immigration restrictions. Taken together, as the startling data from the latest Census reveals, American immigration has plummeted to an all-time low of only 0.1% between mid-2020 and mid-2021, which amounts to barely 200,000 new migrants. At this rate, America’s population may well soon decline.
Now comes the remote revolution. COVID-19 has been a “great reset” in our lifestyles, workplace habits, and other aspects of social and professional life. It will be for global talent migration as well. According to research firm IDC, more than forty percent of the global workforce—at least 1.5 billion people—is “location independent.” The capacity for remote work has graduated from latent to actual. Professionals are moving as never before, both within and across borders—and this is only the immediate mid-pandemic phase. Now imagine the pace of relocation once borders have actually reopened and corporate culture fully adapts to digital platforms. At the moment, asynchronous collaboration is Google Docs and Slack, but soon enough it will be more Github and Metaverse.
We need to forecast scenarios for the future distribution of talent from the perspective of Gen-Y and Gen-Z. Hundreds of millions of young people are becoming geography-free. But where they physically go matters. America’s national debt has exploded (100 percent of GDP and climbing), and young workers and taxpayers are needed to power a real recovery beyond today’s artificial stimulus. An aging country with a declining population and crumbling infrastructure isn’t fit to prevail over China, much less outlast its 1.4 billion people in the long run.
Despite record-low unemployment, there are still millions of job vacancies. Even after stimulus cheques are spent and wages rise, people aren’t going to rush back into menial labor unless they have to. Furthermore, as hundreds of billions of dollars are deployed on infrastructure across the country, far more workers will be needed to get it all done in any meaningful timeframe. America will need an army of migrants to truly build back better. Demographic renewal requires vigorously competing to attract the next generation. Collecting people is collecting power.
The war on terror lasted twenty years. The war for talent should be America’s main mission for the next twenty.
On a related note:
2. My friend Dror Poleg wrote a great article titled:
Impossibly Useless. Welcome to the future: Work is leisure; communities are corporations, and every person is both an investor and a financial product.
In contrast to those whose leisure is productive are those whose actual work is unproductive. 21st Century offices and corporations are full of people that do nothing in particular. I am not talking about office-dwellers who are pretending to work or doing something else while at work. I am talking about people who are doing their actual job — a job that is, itself, useless.
Corporations and offices contribute to social stability by slowing down the best and brightest — pulling them into unnecessary meetings, forcing them into wasteful commutes, distracting them with chatty colleagues, or flooding them with notifications on Slack or Gmail. At the same time, these chats and notifications and meetings are keeping everyone else occupied— occupied but not working in the traditional sense of the word.
A minority of office dwellers invent and develop the products that most other office dwellers use and consume in their spare time. Corporations exist in order to ensure that consumers are paid enough to be able to afford the products developed by these same corporations. In that sense, many corporations are social welfare programs where the few are subsidising the many.
On the other side, new types of safety nets are emerging to keep people afloat in a world in which work itself is a bet — an opportunity to make millions but also a necessity to participate in a game in which they compete with millions of talented people from across the globe for the attention of billions of distracted customers. These safety nets include government-provided Universal Basic Income and new ways for groups and individuals to share risks and rewards — for people to invest in other people or to share the risk of their own career by letting other people invest in them.
To sum it up, we're heading to a world in which work is increasingly indistinguishable from leisure, corporations indistinguishable from communities (or group chats), production indistinguishable from consumption, and every person is both an investor and an investment.
In such a world, it is no longer possible to do nothing. Every activity —playing a game, watching a video, building a product, or even just staying alive — contributes directly to one endeavour or another. Every human activity an act of allocating capital. In such a world, "fun" will become a more productive activity in the narrow economic sense. But leisure itself will become obsolete. Simply being useless will no longer be possible.
C. Exchanges at Goldman had a good discussion on: As Rates Reprice and Stocks Sell Off, What’s Next?
Great discussion on the opportunity set from here. A good quote:
“There's no sense of urgency to act—which is interesting because if you went back to the start of the pandemic where we had a massive sell-off and then a recovery, a lot of people felt that they hadn't taken advantage of those opportunities quickly enough.”
Breathing right is one of the most important things you can do for your lifespan and health (apart from sleep).
Your breath is a key pillar in your health and wellness.
James Nestor’s great book - Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, is worth a read.
Thank you Kartik for sharing.
Here are three key ideas if you want to improve your breathing:
1. Nose breathing helps you stay in aerobic rather than anaerobic, which is 16x more effective. The body craves more carbon dioxide, not oxygen. It is the chief hormone if the entire body. Slow breathing, particularly exhalation, has tremendous positive benefits. People breathe too much, breathe less and deeply.
2. Lung capacity is most tightly correlated to longevity. Not blood pressure or HRV or anything else – lung capacity. There are many breathing and stretching videos you can check out at Nestor’s site.
3. Buteyko breathing and other practices that help you slow down your breathing and breathe less have shown remarkably effective in helping all sorts of diseases. Counterintuitively, you want to increase the carbon dioxide in your blood. Increase the time for exhalation, rest, inhalation – it is no wonder or surprise that slowing down your breathing and heart rate can help you live longer. The ideal is 5.5 inhales and exhales per minute
This Modern Wisdom podcast with James Nestor is great, so is this short interview he did on what he learned.
C. The Tech and Crypto Section:
1. I know it’s cool to dunk on ARK and Cathie Woods these days, but I always find their Big Ideas report useful.
Here are some key slides:
2. The Generalist had a great report on: What to Watch in Crypto in 2022. I spent over an hour going through all the links here. Crypto is developing so quickly.
DeSci as opposed to DeFi, has got me very excited.
See you in the Arena: