The Grind

The concept is so much a fundamental part of nature that it is found in almost all scientific disciplines. Yet there is only one place that it is a common term.

The definition of “grind” is “to wear down, smooth, or sharpen by abrasion or friction; to reduce to fine particles, as by pounding, crushing or pulverizing.” But it is also used to describe a “dreary, monotonous, or difficult labor, study, or routine.”

It is the process by which every object in space that circles another is subject to either a decaying or expanding orbit which will eventually see that object crash into the center or hurtle itself outward unless some external force intervenes.

Over time even a trickle of a stream—let alone a large river—can carve through rock and soil creating massive canyons. A tree’s roots continue to grow outward even for several thousand years, displacing everything in their path. “The Grind” is like a supernatural force that cannot be stopped and will conquer over time.

The one common usage of the term is known well by casinos and should be familiar to all gamblers if they want to win. The House always wins, and the reason is “The Grind.”

A single-deck blackjack will have a house edge of roughly 1.5 percent. Depending on the type of dice game you are playing, the house edge will be 1.4 percent. If you are looking for a high chance of winning, play video poker. The house edge can be as low as 0.5 percent. But even if the odds at 99.9 percent in your favor, the house will still win because of the grind.

If you play long enough, even that 0.5 percent will take your bank account to zero in the long run. The city of Ephesus—mentioned in the Bible—was a seaport dating back to 6,000 years before Christ. Ephesus was completely abandoned by the 15th century after Christ.

Its importance as a commercial center declined as the Küçük Menderes River slowly silted up the harbor. This major sea trading city is now 6 kilometers from the sea. The grind will always get you.

I have lived on this planet for a relatively long time and I have never experienced a “grind” like we are going through now. The closest situation in memory—although most that lived through it as adults are dead—was World War II. Day after day of turmoil and never knowing when it was going to end. Even rebuilding after historic natural and man-made disasters have an end in sight.

We will see some major adjustments that will probably last at least through my lifetime. For example:

February 5, 2021: “Long-Haul Travel May Not Get Going Until 2023. A rebound in passenger air traffic ‘is probably a 2022 thing,’ according to Joshua Ng, director at Alton Aviation Consultancy.” That was the forecast until the Covid hit the fan in the past two months. Mr. Ng has not commented recently.

Yet we continue to see forward momentum on the completion of hotels designed for international travelers. Too much money has already been invested—sunk costs—and cannot rationally be stopped. But will we see in two or three years a portion of those resorts converted to condo-hotels?

Are we coming to the end of “mall-building” as home delivery becomes more popular? Technology and service will continue to improve, perhaps moving away in the Philippines from men and women on motorcycles to “pick-up collection points” rather than massive malls?

The only way to beat The Grind is to adjust. Forgive me but “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

E-mail me at mangun@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter @mangunonmarkets. PSE stock-market information and technical analysis provided by AAA Southeast Equities Inc.

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