On Black Swans

A black swan swimming in a lake
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Low-Probability, High-Impact Events Have Defined the 21st Century.

In a February 4, article in The Wall Street Journal concerning the potential impact of the Coronavirus, the writer said, “So far, the 21st Century has been an age of Black Swans, from 9/11 to the election of President Trump to Brexit, low-probability, high-impact events have reshaped the world order. That age isn’t over, and of the black swans still, to arrive, the Coronavirus is unlikely to be the last to materialize out of China.”

In answering questions from brokerage firms over the years concerning the American housing market, the future of brokerage, and the valuations of brokerage firms, we’ve often said, ‘Absent a 9/11 event of some kind; the market looks good for some years ahead.’

We are hugely concerned about the Coronavirus, first for the human tragedy and the lives lost to it, and, secondly, for the impact it’s already having and that it might have on the economy of the world, and the United States. It could be that this is not just going to pass quickly. As of this writing, the confirmed cases are over 20,000, just in China. It could have a profound impact on everyone in the world.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter. It is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright © 2020. To read the rest of this issue & more, please visit our Real Trends page online.

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