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Dear Reader,

You are probably still thinking through the implications of George
Gilder’s new theory of economics that I sent you yesterday. But
today, I have another treat for you—the third installment of the
five-part series on the individuals who have been influential in
shaping my worldview.

Before we dive in, if you missed part two, you can access it, here

Today, I am featuring Karen Harris, Managing Director of Bain &
Company's Macro Trends Group, and her pioneering work on the declining
cost of distance. This trend has wide-ranging implications for each
one of us.

While not widely recognized, the cost of distance—that is, the cost
of moving information, people, and goods—is a key driver of business
and individual decision-making. And thanks to technology, the cost of
distance is falling rapidly.

Investors listen up: that’s changing where and how businesses
operate. And that will affect their stock prices.

Further, the declining cost of distance is changing where you live and
work. That has massive implications for real estate prices, your
lifestyle, and cost of living. Why live in a city, when the declining
cost of distance is making it possible to live rurally and still earn
a city wage?

When I say this is one of the most critical concepts to grasp going
forward, I mean it.

Most people have never heard of this trend. That’s why, of all the
ideas I cover in this series, I’m most excited to hear your thoughts
and comments on this one.

I included an excerpt from the Karen Harris article, below. When you
click to read the full article, you can share your thoughts and
feedback at the bottom of that page.

John Mauldin

The Declining Cost of Distance is
Going to Change Everything

Almost daily, in the _WSJ_ or on _Bloomberg, _you’ll see an article
about automation and how it’s negatively impacting employment. At
the same time, major research institutions like McKinsey, Brookings,
and Pew are releasing studies on the topic.

Findings from these studies all draw the same conclusion: 30–40% of
US jobs will be lost to automation over the next 20 years. When I see
multiple forecasts, which arrive at the same conclusion, I get a
little nervous. Here are two reminders of just how wrong the consensus
can be.

Sources: The Economist, Forbes


March 1999: Oil was at $12, and the consensus said it was headed
lower. As we know now, that was pretty much the bottom for oil prices.

November 2007: Nokia had a 37% market share, and its stock price was
$39. Today, it has less than 2% of the market, and its stock price is
below $5.

While automation and technology are having a massive effect on
employment, when I see everyone falling into line with the consensus,
my “inner-contrarian” alarm bells go off. When this happens, it
tells me...

Click here to read the full article and
share your thoughts

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