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Anecdotal Socioeconomics

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Money is the key to end all your woes
Your ups and your downs, your highs and your lows
Won't you tell me last time that love bought you clothes?
It's like that, and that's the way it is


(Run-DMC)


It was unseasonably warm in the big city last night as Minyan Sean Mueller and I enjoyed a leisurely downtown dinner. The food was fantastic and the conversation lively as we kicked back to chew and chat. After the frustrating week that was, I welcomed the respite and the opportunity to see some old friends (it's good for the soul). As I turned to shake a hand, I returned my gaze to our table to find that someone had swiped my phone. Yes, just like that, light fingers Louie had violated my space and taken my T-Mobile.

Why do I share this tale (other than to vent)? It's symptomatic of an emerging undercurrent in the societal class wars. While crime is nothing new in Manhattan, there seems to be a latent and unspoken desperation as the dichotomy between the "haves" and "have nots" evolves. Indeed, as Succo and I trekked to our Wednesday 'fest, we couldn't help but notice the homeless folks as they're seemingly spawning by the day.

While in Ojai, I touched on the steady erosion of the middle class as we balance the lifestyles of the rich with a struggle to exist. Almost 40% of all US wealth is in the hands of the top 1% of the population, compared to 13% 25 years ago. That condition seems more acute these days, particularly in the context of the recent natural disasters. We all see the images from the Gulf Coast, portraits of families displaced and material possessions forever lost. And as Halliburton and Bechtel win billion dollar rebuilding contracts, a growing number of Americans are looking for their next meal.

Perhaps this is an inevitable progression, the revenge of a business cycle that wasn't allowed to follow its natural course. I was talking about this evolution with the incomparable Steve Shobin at our recent group hug. I opined that the deep-rooted imbalances must eventually come home to roost but, as a function of eminent domain, the new bankruptcy laws and the social security and pension program mess, we could very well see a wish-bone depression. The upper crust will likely keep a stiff upper lip while the other side of the trade will be dark and desperate.

I know this discussion is Debbie Downer but I pride myself on being honest and this is what I'm seeing. There will be opportunities to prosper on this prolonged path and that, my friends, is why we built the 'Ville. My goal, so you know, is to help all of us find our way to the right side of the wishbone so we can be in a position to help those who don't make the cut. It's not gonna be easy-it already isn't-but surrounding yourself with a trusted network of human capital is a strong step on what promises to be a long journey.

Good luck today.


R.P.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at todd@minyanville.com.

The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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