The stock-market carnage came fast and furious, wrecking GameStop -like memes and get-rich-quick crypto schemes and cracking SPACs. The ringleader, Robinhood, fueled by stimulus checks, is a good proxy for the excess. Its stock is down almost 80% from its August peak. It is a fine time to ask: What is wealth? Is it Justin Bieber dropping $1.3 million on a Bored Ape Yacht Club nonfungible token? Ha! More important, how do you keep wealth?
How to create lasting wealth is surprisingly simple: Do more with less. Always has been true, always will. The Industrial Revolution resulted from applying knowledge to replace messy horses with steam power, lowering both the cost of comfortable clothing and global shipping. Computers, with information embedded in cheap silicon, still aren’t done displacing librarians, secretaries, doctors and more. These productivity gains are the engines of progress, much to the chagrin of degrowth, sustainability-soaked, divvy-up-pieces-of-the-pie anticapitalists.