2016: What did we learn?

Nic Crowther
Fri 23 Dec

Well, thank GOD that’s over.

2016 was a shocker. It’s difficult to find anyone who’s not happy to hang a new calendar over the staff kitchen sink.

Here are the things we learned as we made our way through the last 12 months. I have no idea if these lessons will be of value, but with what looks to be in store, it’s anyone’s guess.


The markets have learned how to price-in randomness

In June, when rural Great Britain decided that the last 40 years of the metric system and an absence of world wars just wasn’t doing it for them anymore, they voted in favour of a Brexit.

The markets spun out of control as the vote came in from after midnight GMT. First in the US, then Asia and back into the UK the various indices tumbled. While most have recovered, the pound is still limping from its kicking.

 

 

But, guess what? When Donald Trump was voted the be the next President of the United States (words that still feel weird to type), the NYSE had an upswing. It seemed that in the weeks leading up to the calamity, they’d figured it was a chance anyway, and the result simply offered surety and a clear direction ahead.


 

Fake News and Post-Truth

This was the year that our lives became confused by rhetoric, half-truths and fake news.

Macedonian kids made a fortune from filling Facebook's advertising slots with outrageous stories that took advantage of the daily zeitgeist. It was a brilliant strategy that the social behemoth struggled to acknowledge – let alone manage.

 

 

However, this was just one example of established systems of trust being destroyed to achieve personal gain. Across the globe issues were conflated and skewed to the point that nobody knew who to believe anymore.

This is a problem for business. While consumers expect a few white lies through advertising and marketing, what happens to sales when faith in communications and media is destroyed.

One thing you can take as gospel is this: Fake news and issues of trust will be an issue well into 2017.


 

Everyone must die

David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. The music industry lost some talents this year – and at least one of them had released a decent album this millennium.

 

 

Lots of other people died too. Unfortunately, they remain nameless and, after 15 years of depressingly bad news about Afghanistan and Iraq, it was simply decided that the West no longer had the energy to give a shit about the Syrians.

It was too big, too complex and too horrible to contemplate. So, as an anecdote, have a listen to Bowie’s haunting final song – I Can’t Give Everything Away – and take a moment to remember Omran Dagneesh.

 

 

He is four years old.

 


 

On the brighter side...

It's Christmas! HOORAY!

Much like us, you're about to put your feet up for a couple of weeks to enjoy lazy mornings, barbeques, cricket and time with loved ones. Congratulations... you've earned it!

 

 

We'll be back in from Monday 9 January with a feature on the ACT Australian of the Year, Alan Tongue. if you thought the former Raider was just a footballer, you're definitely in for a treat.

Until then, relax... and be safe.

The Shaker