Last night, a friend sent me this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlxHoboDz2k&feature=player_embedded with the subject line—“Bull market in tear gas. How do we get exposure…??” That got me thinking—I bet there is a raging bull market for the guys who produce this stuff.
As I watch the chaos in Egypt, Brazil, Greece, Turkey and other countries, I am reminded that even within the chaos, there are bull markets. Uncertainty and change create opportunity. As investors, we need to avoid the short term news and focus on finding these long-term bull markets. Tear gas—is there a play?
Honestly, I have no idea how to play tear gas. However, a very long-term macro trend is that far too many economies have been mismanaged to the point where their citizens are demanding change. The elites, who are in charge, certainly are not fans of change—so they’re fighting back with tear gas (or worse). It’s easy to extrapolate that this trend will accelerate as money printing and government interference continue to undermine economies and create more frustrated citizens.
In addition, the advent of social media provides a platform for unhappy people to communicate and organize. As the medium matures, it will be used in increasingly powerful ways to protest against inefficient governments. Social media might just be the catalyst for the bull market in tear gas, as there have always been corrupt and mismanaged governments. Now, it is simply easier to organize against them.
Unfortunately, there probably isn’t a play on tear gas—or at least I await a reader who shows me the pure-play. The point of this piece isn’t to find that one company that will benefit. The point is to remember to always be thinking outside the box—always be trying to see how news flow will change and affect various industries. The guys who spot these trends first, will win. Social unrest is just getting started—it’s a very long-term bull market.
In the end, tear gas itself will probably go into the “too hard” pile—however, every once in a while, something in the “too hard” pile comes to life because we find the way to play it. There is a way to play social unrest—we just need to find it. Over the next few years, you can pretty much guarantee that as a theme, social unrest will be in a bull market.