"Is there a better alternative to capitalism?" by: John Sample

   We are back within striking distance of record-high levels for the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 
   We are only 1% short of those previous levels. The return is credited to belief the China trade war can reach a positive conclusion. 
   I don’t see the Chinese agreeing to anything until after the election next year. 
   I don’t see the Administration giving in, since the U.S. economic climate is far better than predicted. 
   What many are realizing is that our trade partners are Mexico and Canada. Combined, these two countries far exceed China. 
   That is no reason to ignore the fastest-growing market in the world, but it does temper the fear.
   What will be interesting is the impact from Europe’s slowing economy. 
   There is little the Central Banks in Europe can do to stimulate the economy. 
   They are virtually at zero or negative rates, so there is nowhere to go. 
   This situation stunted growth in Japan for nearly two decades. This is why I hoped the Federal Reserve would ignore Wall Street and left rates where they were instead of lowering them. 
   We will need all the room we can get when the U.S. economy does turn negative. 
   While slowing, we are far from a recession in my opinion. We will get there, but I feel it will come after the election next year. 
   That is not stopping some of the richest people in the U.S. putting more of their investments on the cash side of the ledger to be safe.
   I will acknowledge that I have some of the highest levels of cash ever, due to selling real estate at high levels and finding little that looks like value. Patience, I keep telling myself.
   What is interesting this week is the competition growing over what people will stream into their homes or, more importantly, on their phones. 
   Last year, the market capitalization (number of shares times stock price) for Netflix was greater than Disney. Since the first of the year Netflix has dropped $100 in value to $264. 
   This fall can be traced back to Disney announcing it will stream its own content and compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. 
   I’m not sure I would want to compete against Disney, but that is what you love about capitalism. It is evolution at the highest level. The weak will be eaten and consumers will be the beneficiary.
   I bring this up as capitalism will be an election topic.
   I am a particular fan of capitalism, as it gives people opportunity to improve their lot in life. 
   It is not perfect and does not protect one from poor performance. It can also be manipulated and used against people. 
   There will be much talk about its unfairness and that everyone deserves all sorts of rights, including a proper standard of living. I look forward to the debate. Nothing is perfect and it can always be improved and should be scrutinized.
   Change is the only constant and I am against continuing down a path just because we have done that before. 
   I do believe that failure is a reality and can be beneficial as a learning tool. 
   The most important investment lessons you learn are the ones that cost you money. The hardest part is ensuring you don’t repeat those mistakes.

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