Heavy Detroit Iron or a New Green Vision?
I dreamed of arriving at the pearly gates where a stern St. Peter reprimands me: “Ok. We’ll let you in, but first, go back and clean up the stuff you left behind. Toss out your hoard of clutter in the closets, attic, basement, garage, drawers, and medicine cabinet. That mess in the mini storage has to disappear before we let you back.”
It was a dream. But awake, to my surprise, in the Wall Street Journal an echo of St. Peter’s message “Put away your material goods .”I blinked my eyes.
What’s that again? Wall Street guys don’t love material assets” WSJ is the embodiment of material asset accumulation. So her’s the writer Mr. Greg Ip, spouting a minimalist echo of St. Peter. It was not exactly a sermon of monk-like vow of poverty. But he did observe:
“”A growing divergence, a shift in the economy. Value is derived from digital platforms, software, and other intangible investments, not physical assets”.
Mr. Ip states the Fat Cats” make more cash profit by avoiding material accumulation. He observes factories, inventory, and machinery don’t make winners. On the contrary, they impede financial success. Hard assets are so YESTERDAY.
Mr. Ip says companies grow faster without stuff, as the world’s largest hotel company Airbnb owns no rooms or buildings. The largest taxi company Uber has no cars or drivers. Newspapers, including the WSJ, are abandoning newsprint, ink, and presses in favor of virtual e-journals. Amazon, Google, and Netflix are the most valuable American companies and are asset-light.
Tesla has a fraction of General Motors’ Detroit iron assets. What Tesla does have is a green vision of the automobile’s future. Is the iron or the vision more valuable?
It’s not even close. Little Tesla is worth more than General Motors plus Ford and V.W. combined.
Before it’s too late, G.M., you and I should sit down with St. Pete. What is the value of hard asset accumulation versus ideas, vision, and purposefulness?