Chapter 8The Time Constraint: When Preferences Run Down the Clock

“Falsehood flies, but truth comes limping after.”

Jonathan Swift

I wrote this book between January and April 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am glad that I chose to write a framework book and not a forecast one.

My view of the upcoming decade is clear from the first chapter, and COVID-19 has not altered it: I expect the world to continue deglobalizing. I expect laissez-faire to give way to dirigisme. I expect Europe to remain integrated and in fact accelerate the process. And I expect the US and China to remain at each other's throats – albeit constrained from full economic bifurcation by multipolarity.

The COVID-19 pandemic will likely only reinforce and accelerate these themes – particularly the move away from the Washington Consensus and toward the Buenos Aires Consensus, especially in the US and UK. By the time this manuscript hits the shelves, I suspect the move will be obvious. The time to forecast the apex of globalization, the end of laissez-faire, the Buenos Aires Consensus, and the US–China conflict was back in the early 2010s, not 2020.

Yet the COVID-19 crisis teaches a methodological lesson, particularly when it comes to the limitations of the constraint framework. Like many other investors, I initially underestimated the global impact of the virus: I advised clients to hold cash but not to outright short the market in February.

The constraint framework has a blind spot: the power ...

Get Geopolitical Alpha now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.