You’re ignorant? Your fault

Column box-John Mangun-Outside the Box

“WE are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” The fact that you can find this attributed to American writer and diplomat Benjamin Franklin all over the Internet and especially on social media proves that whoever first said it was a genius.

We are all born as a blank piece of paper with little information about the world. Yet we now have at our disposal the greatest repository of human knowledge since the libraries of the ancient world in the Middle East and China.

At the start of 2023, some 5.16 billion people are using the Internet, equivalent to 64.4 percent of the total population. Global social media users now total 4.76 billion, equal to 59.4 percent of all the people on Earth. SocMed users are currently growing at a rate of 4.3 new users every single second.

Pretty good information, isn’t it? All from the Internet.

We are told that one of the greatest problems facing the world is all manner of ‘Fake News’ that changes the will of the people to elect the wrong leaders, to deny “consensus science” (as opposed to proven science), and makes people behave in a manner detrimental to the greater good, like not wanting to eat insects as a protein source.

Perhaps, though, the greatest problem is any combination of lethargic minds, feeding on distorted information and/or flawed analysis, fueled by a wholly self-serving agenda.

Back in October, Representative Sandro Marcos stated that the “peso is not weak because the peso is weak; the peso is weak because the (United States) dollar is strong.” The comments that referenced Marcos’s statement were unfortunately not from “parody” accounts. Example: “If the dollar is outpacing the peso, that does not only mean the dollar is strong. It means the peso is weak since it’s not able to keep up with the dollar” and “kayo talaga hindi niyo na naman na gets.”

On October 11, the peso/dollar exchange rate closed at 58.81 in the international market. The US Dollar Index closed at 113.22. As of the end of business last Friday, the peso closed at 53.65 having appreciated against the USD by 8.77 percent since October 11. The USDX closed last Friday at 113.22 having depreciated against the basket of global currencies by 9.01 percent since October 1.

It has nothing to do with the fact that Rep. Marcos’s analysis of how foreign exchange rate functions is correct, particularly with a relatively insignificant currency (trading 0.1 percent of total daily global volume, less than the Hungarian forint). It is that mass quantities of people speak without knowing even the slightest idea of what they are talking about. Even more distressing than these people babbling their plant-based quality ignorance is that probably 0.01 percent ever bothered to learn how exchange rates work.

If part of our future will be in the hands of these people, we’re doomed.

We accept ideas that are just plain wrong. Pre-Covid, the stock market gurus—who apparently closed down like the massage parlors—preached for years that everyone should invest in the stock market. No, everyone should not invest in the stock market. That requires knowledge that requires time and effort to gain.

If you want to invest easily and safely without any effort, buy into a mutual fund, which in a good year performs better than a bank deposit and in a bad year might perform better than buying Lotto tickets.

It is each individual’s responsibility to not be ignorant, unless of course you prefer to be the bait when the zombie economic apocalypse comes. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

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


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