The Stuff Wars

Two men local to the area show tourists from larger centers in China around on traditional river rafts. One of them takes a break to make a call. Yangshuo, China. 2010.

Today is May 13th, 2019 and I have been wasting time watching the markets dip pretty hard. As I start this draft, the Dow is down 2.54% for the day while IEMG, an emerging market ETF denominated in US Dollars, is down 3.64%. By the time of pressing ‘publish’, it will probably be May 14th, and markets will have recovered a bit, as they overreact to their overreaction on May 13th.

And they did.

So why is this happening?

Well, the answer, of course, is easy: it is due to an overreaction by the markets to the re-escalation of the Stuff Wars between US and China in recent weeks, including a new set of retaliatory trade tariffs placed on US goods by China today. That is, tariffs placed on the obscene amount of things – stuff – that we ‘trade’ with each other have turned the markets from a state of greed to a state of fear – their two primary emotions.

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