Inflation’s Real Lesson

In November 2017, Jeff Bezos became the first man whose fortune moved sustainably beyond the $100-billion mark. Six years later, every single one of the world’s ten richest people owns more than $100 billion worth of stuff, and the new king of the list, Elon Musk, is worth nearly two and a half times as much.

When my dad was in his 30s, no one could even have imagined a single company being worth more than a trillion dollars. Today, we have six of them, and the list will keep growing.

Numbers are an easy victim to pick because inflation alone makes them go up on autopilot to a certain degree, but the real lesson is neither that things will get better on their own nor that inflation is our friend — it’s that frontiers fall all the time, and just because we can’t imagine one breaking down doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

“The social democrats will never partner with the lefties,” politicians asserted in Germany not that long ago. Until, in one of the local state governments, they did. “Bitcoin will never go over $10,000.” But it did. “The US has never defaulted on its debt.” Well, one day, it might!

If one man can amass a $100 billion fortune, why can’t we imagine another man — or woman — amassing wealth worth $1 trillion? If a $1 trillion company can exist, why can’t a $10 trillion one? It’s just another zero, and new zeroes tend to eventually appear.

Don’t dismiss big thinking, even before it becomes big reality. Time might be relative, but history only moves forward. Get used to the new status quo before it walks around the corner, and life will rarely catch you off guard.