May you have ten minutes in heaven before the devil knows you have gone.

That is how I feel about Brexit and the stock markets. It would be marvellous to have a period of time without this avalanche of informed opinions, false news and continued market volatility. Time to gather one’s senses. Mind you at the moment, holding such a large percentage of my portfolios in cash, a major bear market would come in very handy. Clear the air and make a nice start again time.

I accept that the finance industry advocates of “hold and grit your teeth” might be taking a different view. Still this is the advice they give to you about what to do with your money. I wonder what they do with their own? We will never know!

I see that our government, amongst others, are requiring that all cars on our roads should be electric by 2050. This sounds a long way away, and one can imagine that our car manufacturers left to their own devices (fat chance) would manage to convert their manufacturing processes to achieve this target. I could also imagine that governments after many cock-ups, overspends and false dawns might have a system in place to satisfy recharge demand. What I struggle with is where the power, the electricity, is going to come from?

It is said that in the UK, we will have to generate an additional 30% more juice just to keep these cars moving. It also assumes that the public will have enough income to finance this change to their vehicles. These are both big questions with “nebulous” solutions. Tidal, solar, and wind will not cut the mustard. It makes no sense to increase coal and oil generation as that defeats the green objective. So for today, and for the near future, that leaves us I believe with nuclear, but possibly not as we know it.

In the late sixties Gordon Moore stated ‘the number of transistors in a chip will approximately double every 24 months’. We now have many other areas of technology that are being subjected to such expansion of knowledge and practical development. One of which is energy generation in all its forms but particularly solar. So perhaps electric cars by 2050 may not be so far-fetched. Desalination plants which run for free would also be a fairly attractive proposition.

Around the same time as the introduction of Moore’s Law, the Kardashev scale was formulated. This is a new name to me – I had thought that this was a measure that American women used when discussing the size of their bottoms!

Apparently not, Nikolai Kardashev was a Russian astrophysicist who developed the scale as a way of measuring a civilization’s technological advancement based upon how much usable energy it has at its disposal.

  • A type 1 civilisation can use and store all of the energy available on its planet – this would give us more than 100,000 times the amount that we currently produce.
  • A type 2 civilisation is able to harness all the energy from its closest star, and this does mean “all” the energy that the star produces.
  • A type 3 civilisation can harness the power of the entire galaxy.

This really is Dan Dare and Mekon stuff and would almost certainly make Elon Musk cough, but who knows what the next centuries will bring when you look at the progress of the last fifty years.

It does leave me very confident that technology companies and funds will still be a strong source of growth and income in the years to come, when the present upsets have passed through the system. For sure, there will be recoveries in the UK, China and the Emerging Markets, and other sectors to take advantage of, as and when they happen, but technology should surely be the “banker”.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2019.

Douglas.