Shifts & Narratives #20 - Stagflation and its roots in capital misallocation

In the ongoing regime shift, investors have to deal with significant legacies stemming from the previous ‘Volckerian’ regime, namely two forms of inflation: asset price inflation over the course of three decades and, more recently, inflation in the price of goods and services.

Underinvestment in the old economy fuelled, albeit with a lag, the return of good old inflation, while overinvestment in some areas of the socalled ‘new’ economy (the internet bubble in 1999, the tech hype between 2015 and 2021) financially inflated certain sectors.

These sharp discrepancies resulted from a combination of the demand for high returns on equity, which deterred real investment in most sectors, and the low cost of capital, which generated various forms of hubris, bubbles and leverage. Overinvested sectors in the ‘new economy’ may be a rising component of the landscape which lies ahead, yet some of these ‘tech dreams’ may be built on fragile ground. 

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