Weekly Geopolitical Report – Meet Boris Johnson (August 26, 2019)

by Patrick Fearon-Hernandez, CFA

(Due to the Labor Day holiday, our next report will be published on September 9.)

 The great forest fires that consumed swaths of the West in recent years have finally revealed the danger from a century of excessive fire suppression.  Humanity’s natural drive to control the environment has left forests overgrown with impenetrable underbrush and littered with brittle deadwood.

Often, it’s only after the conflagration that the true contour of the land is visible again and the forest floor is bathed anew in the light needed for growth.  Only then can green shoots poke up through the blackened soil on their way to becoming the mighty, majestic new redwoods and ponderosa pines and Douglas firs that will dominate the rejuvenated forest.

Just so, the Global Financial Crisis a decade ago consumed what was in many ways an overgrown, sclerotic, and brittle economic system within the developed countries of the world, revealing for all – both the elites and the non-elites who bore the brunt of the crisis – the true contours and contradictions of the modern economic landscape.  The conflagration destroyed many traditional politicians identified with the previous highly globalized economy, and it encouraged disruptive, populist leaders to put down roots and begin reaching for their place in the sun.  These new populist leaders, who took advantage of the destruction, include such luminaries as U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.  On July 24, another disruptor, Boris Johnson, was named prime minister of the United Kingdom. In this report, we dissect who Johnson is and how he rose to power.  More importantly, we discuss what he is likely to do and accomplish as the leader of his country, and the likely ramifications for investors.

View the full report