“We’re recovering, but to a different economy,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday during a virtual panel discussion at the European Central Bank’s Forum on Central Banking. He went on:
Even after the unemployment rate goes down and there is a vaccine, there is going to be, probably, a substantial group of workers who are going to need support as they find their way in the post-pandemic economy, because it is going to be different in some fundamental ways.
While Chairman Powell is being surprisingly clear here, let me further translate his comments into something that I know Smart Money readers will understand:
The Technochasm is real.
While we’re well on the road to recovery from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, Chairman Powell is saying, is splitting into two.
As we’ve been discussing here for months, while anyone can “get” the coronavirus, how it’s hitting us varies widely among income levels.
Indeed, instead of being an “equalizer,” COVID-19 keeps hitting people on the wrong side of the wealth gap especially hard.
High-income white-collar folks are working from home with little more than a laptop and an internet connection. And they’re hiring tutors to teach their kids individually or in small pods.
Working-class truck drivers, nurses and health aides, and grocery store and warehouse clerks, on the other hand, are front-line troops in the war against COVID-19.
Tech companies, grocery stores, and home-improvement chains are rising. Restaurants, hotels, and airlines are basically collapsing.
In other words, the pandemic is only accelerating the widening of a wealth gap that has been growing for decades.
In 1980, the richest 1% of Americans owned about 30% of all household wealth in the country … and the bottom 90% owned about 24% of all household wealth.
But by 2012, the share of all household financial wealth owned by the top 1% had skyrocketed to more than 60% … and the share owned by the bottom 90% had plummeted below 10%.
In other words, the middle class is shrinking as rich families and big businesses accumulate fortunes and others sink below the poverty line.
And recent data is showing that gap … that Technochasm … is getting wider.
Now, it’s important that Fed Chair Powell is recognizing that the Technochasm exists.
Once the new administration takes office, another round of trillion-dollar stimulus would certainly help jobless workers and boost the economy.
There’s hope there at least. “My sense is that we will need to do more and that Congress will need to do more,” Powell said on Thursday.
And the news of a COVID-19 vaccine is undoubtedly good news.
But will all that help close the Technochasm at all?
Here’s what I think …
A Tale of Two Economies
If you just look at the S&P 500, it may look like we’re in a V-shaped economic recovery.
Yet … since the pandemic began, more than 100,000 small businesses have closed.
During the worst part of the pandemic, low-wage employment was down 15%, and around 1 in 10 Americans were drawing unemployment payments
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 13 million families are behind on their rent.
In other words, while Wall Street and Silicon Valley were (and still are) doing great, small businesses and Main Street were (and still are) treading water at best. Tens of millions of Americans are falling behind.
As Chairman Powell just came out and said, the Technochasm is here to stay.
Maybe in his first 100 days, the newly elected president will set in motion policies that will slow the pandemic… fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure … and put millions of Americans back to work.
And maybe those moves will “save” folks caught on the wrong side of the Technochasm.
But I doubt it. I long ago gave up on believing that any politician can stop the Technochasm from growing.
There’s only one way anyone can make sure they don’t get left behind as Big Tech roars ahead.
How to Capitalize on the Technochasm
Many companies will prepare for the next global pandemic by shifting more of their processes to automation, robots, and/or artificial intelligence, rather than human beings.
In other words, as people keep losing their jobs due to technology … that technology in and of itself will work to make the wealth gap bigger.
That, again, is the Technochasm.
However, you can act now to make sure you and your portfolio are on the right side of the Technochasm.
Several cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, and the Internet of Things, all enabled by the coming 5G revolution, will produce trillions of dollars’ worth of commercial activity over the coming decade. That will enrich both entrepreneurs and investors along the way.
But as we’ve been discussing, powerful technology trends like these are not new news. For many years already, sweeping technological innovation, proceeding at an exponential pace, has been creating a long list of economic winners … and losers.
And the stock market clearly reflects this phenomenon.
During the last eight years, for example, the S&P 500 Information Technology Index has delivered a total return of more than 400%. That is double the gains of the entire S&P 500 over the same time frame.
In fact, the technology sector’s outperformance over this time frame was much better than just a double. Excluding tech stocks, the S&P 500 Index produced a gain of just 117% during the last eight years — or barely one quarter the gains of the S&P’s tech stocks.
Thanks in large part to this overperformance by tech companies, the economy is recovering, and the stock market keeps rising.
Yet … the net worth of America’s lower and middle classes keeps plummeting.
I wish I could tell you this situation will be resolved soon.
But it won’t.
That’s why I filmed the original Technochasm video … and it’s why I’ve been educating you folks about it for the past few months.
I’ve shown folks how to make sure they’re on the right side of the Technochasm.
In my upcoming event with Louis Navellier — reserve your spot by clicking here — I’m going to take it a step further. That event is on Thursday, November 19, at 7 p.m. Eastern.
In my first Technochasm video, my emphasis was on gaining knowledge.
In the upcoming event, I’m going to reveal how you can capitalize on the Technochasm … and make well over $100,000 in the next 12 months, from a niche group of stocks.
I’ll also reveal a free pick with 10X potential.
On the date of publication, Eric Fry did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Eric Fry is an award-winning stock picker with numerous “10-bagger” calls — in good markets AND bad. How? By finding potent global megatrends … before they take off. And when it comes to bear markets, you’ll want to have his “blueprint” in hand before stocks go south.