Tea leaves and the God of small things.

There is a whole industry of research. It is a hive of probing and prediction. It does not produce much except prophesy. It does have entertainment value of sorts. A lot of buzzing prophesies but not much honey. It is a land of hubris and self importance because nobody wants to listen to the meek and unsure. There is the ambition to understand trends and the impact of big decisions. What will happen if the Fed raises interest rates or Chinese growth falters? God must be smiling. Study the tea leaves and tell me about the next cup of tea and how it will be different this time. The problem is when you look backwards to question, God forbid. Did you ever ask these pundits why their predictions predictably fail? I did once. No intelligible answer. Now we have behavioural economics to explain how markets work. All I can say is good luck with predicting the emotional behaviour of humans. How does the very prediction affect behaviour and the outcome? Now the rational approach  is to understand the irrational. Even If these prophets could predict the event the outcome would be unknown. There is law of unintended consequences. Squinting at the horizon the Black Swans glides into our lake of tranquillity. We cannot control so why bother fussing about the big picture and listen to the buzzing in our ear. We might be far better spending time on small and real things. Things we can understand. Cultivating our own patch rather than grappling with agrarian policy. This is something we can control. Focus on the value in good solid things in safe and talented hands. You can also assume that if the herd is stampeding around something then you should stop and take a careful look at it. All these small things add up to a big thing. May be even a thriving economy?

My thought for the day is from the poet Maya Angelou and her perfect summary of a vocation. People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

The God of Small Things (1997) is the debut novel of Indian writer Arundhati Roy. It is a story about the childhood experiences of fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the “Love Laws” that lay down “who should be loved, and how. And how much.” The book explores how the small things affect people’s behavior and their lives. It won the Booker Prize in 1997.


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