Monday, April 04, 2022 by Ramon Tomey
BlackRock President Rob Kapito remarked during a recent conference in Austin, Texas that the current inflation will teach very rude lessons to this generation of “entitled” consumers.
“For the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want. And we have a very entitled generation that has never had to sacrifice,” he said at the conference organized by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.
Kapito noted that the economy is dealing with “scarcity inflation” – shortages of commodities, housing and workers. Scarcity inflation also applies to agricultural supplies and oil in some areas. He said: “I would [advise to] put on your seat belts because this is something that we haven’t seen.”
The BlackRock president and co-founder’s comments come as inflation is at its highest in 40 years. Consumer prices are steadily rising at almost eight percent year-over-year, the fastest increase since the early 1980s. (Related: Inflation climbed to 6.8% in November – highest rate in nearly 40 years.)
Meanwhile, the 65-year-old Kapito made $22 million in 2021 as BlackRock president. The New York-based asset management firm has about $10 trillion of assets and investments that it manages for its clients worldwide.
Kapito’s comments did not sit well with several users on social media. One user tweeted: “Ah, yes. The entitled generation that has suffered through a global recession that saw entire countries default, wars, a pandemic and a ‘once in a lifetime’ climate catastrophe every three years. The generation [whose] wages stagnate [and] job security [goes] down, while [cost of living] goes up. That generation?”
Initially, supply chain disruptions that occurred during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic pushed prices up for vehicles, furniture and electronics. The price hikes then spread through other products as companies felt empowered to pass on higher costs to consumers. But as the threat of COVID-19 began to subside, another threat has taken its place: the Russia-Ukraine war.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink warned investors in a March 24 letter posted on the company’s website that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is likely to keep prices high in the near-term. According to the co-founder of the investment firm, central banks “face a dilemma they haven’t faced in decades, which has been worsened by geopolitical conflict and the resulting energy shocks.”
“Central banks must choose whether to live with higher inflation, or slow economic activity and employment to lower inflation quickly.”
Fink also pointed out that the Russia-Ukraine war marks the end of globalization, with many countries worldwide severing ties with Moscow over its aggression against Kyiv. He wrote: “Access to global capital enables companies to fund growth, countries to increase economic development and more people to experience financial well-being. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades.
“We had already seen connectivity between nations, companies and even people strained by two years of the pandemic. It has left many communities and people feeling isolated and looking inward. I believe this has exacerbated the polarization and extremist behavior we are seeing across society today.”
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