Is the new world order a Trump Brexit opportunity, or a Trump Brexit threat?
In other words, should we regard President Trump, Brexit or any other game changing source of uncertainty as an opportunity or a threat?
It is absolutely clear now that everything that we thought was certain at the start of 2016 is no longer so. There has been so much soul searching over the past few months about the disaffected working class and Hard Brexit v Soft Brexit that there is very little left to add – except this.
The Brexit vote is a hard reality and there really is no point in protesting against it, even if you were dead set against it. Even if the government takes a hard line and the rest of Europe reacts badly and Brexit is hard, it will still just be a new reality we have to deal with.
The same is true of the Trump presidency – no matter what it brings, or how we feel about it, we will just have to deal with it.
Try reading this:
What does this say to you? Does it say ‘opportunity is nowhere, or ‘opportunity is now here‘? The difference may well be whether you are a natural optimist or pessimist, but just as in the glass half full or half empty metaphore, the answer is in just how you view it.
The Eye of The Beholder
Consider this headline in The Times business section this morning:
“Brexit vote drives firms to ditch £65bn of investment”
This article covers a survey by the Centre for Economic and Business Research that found that nearly half of large companies surveyed had cancelled investment plans since July. A gloomy statistic for sure, until you read it again to find that more than half of large companies surveyed had NOT cancelled investment plans since July.
You could also view it as: if £65bn has not been ‘invested’, might it be available for something else like additional advertising, or other operational expenditure?
Change always brings opportunities aswell as threats. The fall in the pound’s value since the Brexit vote has been hugely helpful to exporters some of whom can scarcely cope with the new and unexpected demand.
The Distortion Opportunity
It may be that the Trump presidency will bring new distortions to the market presenting new opportunities for all. Producers of wall and fence building materials may be especially well placed as will be European armaments manufacturers.
We may even find that gold coloured bath fittings and door handles become fashionable again and hairdressers can make hay with new hairstyles that look like, well … hay.
Perhaps more seriously, Donald Trump’s recent investments in Scotland reveal an affection for the old country that could prove to be productive. Not so much a special relationship, as a productive and mutually beneficial one.
Also Trump’s view of Vladimir Putin and Putin’s view of him, could bring about a new accord in the Middle East and perhaps some reduced sabre rattling. Trump may also be able to open up the Chinese market for everyone, not just the USA.
So what next? Well, Marine Le Pen is already predicting she will be the new President of France by May of 2017 which could well be followed by Frexit (or possibly Frortie?). In which case the current situation will look pretty good in comparison.
There is of course no right, or wrong in any of this just the reality that businesses have to deal with and find ways to reduce uncertainty and increase opportunity.
There is no doubt that the changing world order brings threats, but there will undoubtedly be a Trump Brexit opportunity over the next four years and it is time to seize it.