The average American is gripped by fear.
That’s the takeaway for Byron Wien, Blackstone’s vice chairman and investing guru, who spent the summer hosting lunches with power players, according to his latest market commentary.
Wien believes wages, business sentiment and technology are breeding an insecure population in the US.
Here is Wien (emphasis added):
“Everyone acknowledged that millions of manufacturing jobs had been eliminated through robotics and other forms of technology. The employee attrition problem was likely to get worse as artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent as a tool in the white collar workplace, eliminating jobs in law firms, healthcare and elsewhere. Where will these displaced workers go?
“Those worried about productivity and inequality were perhaps not recognising changes in the “quality” of life. Technology had definitely made our lives easier even if this isn’t reflected in the productivity numbers. Also, someone living in “poverty” in the United States probably has a residence, a refrigerator, television and other amenities not enjoyed by those in poverty in other countries. While this may be true, I do believe that a substantial portion of Americans go to sleep scared every night. They don’t have a job; they have one but it doesn’t cover all their bills; they have a good job but they are worried that business conditions or technology will cause them to lose it. Sanders, Trump and populism generally are products of an insecure population. They feel that their government’s policies have let them down.”
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