Localism in the 2020s – It All Starts With You

Localism in the 2020s – It All Starts With You by Michael Krieger for Liberty Blitzkrieg

And it was in the midst of shouts rolling against the terrace wall in massive waves that waxed in volume and duration, while cataracts of colored fire fell thicker through the darkness, that Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice ad outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in times of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

– Albert Camus, The Plague

It’s likely the past few weeks have been some of the most surreal you’ve ever experienced; I know it’s been the case for me. The largest cities in the U.S. are essentially on lockdown, the stock market is in free fall and grocery stores are being stripped bare. It feels like a very dark moment, but in such darkness I see the light of a new beginning. A new beginning that starts with each and every one of us.

One of the things that helped me navigate the last couple of months in a state of relative calm is a longstanding understanding that something of this sort was inevitable. Not a pandemic necessarily, but something was bound to come along and slam us unexpectedly, and that when it did, the impact would be shockingly disruptive given how completely brittle and phony our economies and societies have become.

It’s this deep-seated recognition that the world paradigm we reside in isn’t long for the ages which allowed me to stay focused and relatively unemotional as this pandemic unfolded. I’m also extremely lucky to have a wife who showed tremendous resolve and decisiveness by immediately taking preparations for our family all the way back in January, before even I was ready to act in a meaningful way. While people called what we were doing panicking, it was just thoughtful and reasonable preparation. Preparation that allowed us to remain calm in early March as things started shutting down, and as many found themselves flatfooted and confused.

As a result of our being emotionally robust as things unfolded, we were able to help friends and family in some small, but important ways. In one case, I was able to successfully help nudge a friend into convincing his wife not to fly overseas to a wedding just a few days ago. I was also able to share resources with a friend in Seattle early on, which made him more aware of the severity of the crisis and prompted him to get groceries before the crowds descended. Most importantly, I connected with a close friend who’s a doctor in a hospital in NYC, and was able to get key thoughts and information into his hands well before many people in his profession were taking it seriously. Knowing I was able to make a material difference in certain people’s lives, which they in turn were able to do for others in their own circles, has been a tremendous blessing.

I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn. Regular readers know I rarely discuss my personal life on these pages, but the reason I mention this now is to demonstrate that anyone can do what I did and have a meaningful impact. I didn’t need a blog or a big platform to have important discussions with friends. I was able to calmly take action and reach out to them because we had already prepared and accepted what was likely coming. Anyone can do this.

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Michael Krieger

As far as my academic and professional background, I attended college at Duke University where I earned a double major in Economics and Spanish. After completing my studies in 2000, I took a job at Lehman Brothers where I worked with the Oil analyst in the Equity Research Department. In 2005, I joined Sanford C. Bernstein where I served as the Commodities Analyst on the trading floor. About halfway through my time there, I started to branch out and write opinions on bigger picture “macro” topics that no one else at the firm was covering. These opinion pieces were extremely popular throughout the global investment community, and I traveled extensively providing advice to some of the largest mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds in the world. I loved my job, but as time passed I started to educate myself about how the monetary and financial system functions and what I discovered disgusted me. I no longer felt satisfied working within the industry, and I resigned in January 2010. At that point, I started a family investment office and continued to write macro pieces on economic, social and geopolitical topics. That summer, I drove cross country for six weeks and ultimately decided to leave the crowded streets of Manhattan for the open spaces of Boulder, Colorado, where I currently reside.