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Paris:  A Black Swan

Posted by kdadmin on November 14th, 2015.

Paris:  A Black Swan

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out the victims, and families, of last night’s terror campaign in Paris, France. I hope my friends are safe, including my new friend, Aunt Kay (from Rochester, New York), who was off two spend a few weeks in Champagne.

I’m not going to be so arrogant as to hypothesize, or proselytize, about motives, politics, immigration, historical struggles, and polarizing cultural mores. To me, it is a tragic loss of life, of security, and of peace, in a grand European city.

It is also a Black Swan …

As you recall, a Black Swan event is a surprise (impossible to predict), is rare (often the first instance of its kind), and has a major and lasting effect (often permanently changing the area in which it occurs). Unfortunately, Black Swan events are often inappropriately rationalized with 20/20 hindsight.

It’s this last part that is most concerning. What is the knee jerk reaction to an event like the Paris horror? Nationalism (spectators sang the French National Anthem while being evacuated from the Stade de France), Martial Law (France closed its borders and declared its first State of Emergency since 1962), and Vengeance (i.e., the USA killed ISIS mouthpiece Jihad John just 24 hours before). I understand that France will also now have its own vengeance, but Nationalism, Martial Law and Vengeance usually make up the unholy trinity of terror. The order varies, as doeswhich piece is which, depending upon your politics and interpretation of morality. One man’s horror is another man’s vengeance.

If you’ve ever been to France, you know they take their security seriously. Armed guards with automatic weapons patrol the city, the metros and the airports. Emergency services are swift and efficient. They are proud to be French.

So, what will this Black Swan bring? I mean, aside from a rise in security, militancy, and cultural distrust. Likely:

  1. We’ll see a drop in global markets. After hours Friday, and at about the time of the attacks, the S&P 500 and other major stock market indexes dropped precipitously.
  2. Tourism will decline. At least to Paris. (I’ll probably be divert my spring flight across the pond to an airport in a lower profile city.)
  3. Military contracts will see an uptick.
  4. European travel security, and customs checks will tighten. Being a pre-screened traveler will be even more of a huge time saver.
  5. Security pressure could dampen an already sputtering Eurozone economic landscape.

In other words, I’m still not going to be investing in Europe. Although this is nothing new. But, I will be seeking out humanitarian organizations that benefit the victims and making my year end charity contributions there.

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