The Positive Spin Being Put On 'Green Shoots' and Other Things!

By: Ian Campbell | Tue, Oct 2, 2012
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Why read: To test the contemporaneous views I expressed four years ago, to observe similarities and differences then and now, and to determine if you agree with my current views.

Commentary then: On June 14, 2009 I commented as follows:

An article titled 'Retail Sales, Jobless Claims Quite Misleading: Commodities the One Bright Spot' says:

The article goes on to cite other 'positive reports' that when scrutinized are not really 'so positive'.

I agree with the author's assessment. About 4 weeks or so ago a commentator coined the phrase 'green shoots'. Everywhere you now look you can find the words 'green shoots', irrespective of what news source the commentator works for, or what country he/she works in. I find many article headlines to be 'attention seeking' rather than factual.

With respect to 'green shoots' I suggest like any plant the root structure and the type of soil the plant is growing in both are fundamentally more important than what one observes above the ground. It is obvious that 'seed cast on rocky ground' cannot have the same long-term impact as 'seed cast on rich earth where there is a long and growing season, a balanced amount of rain, and a farmer who weeds and otherwise cares for his crop prior to harvesting it'.

In my view this latter thought must bring into play the fact that the U.S. is the world's largest economy and that it currently continues to face ongoing job losses, increasing deficits, reduced retail sales. Moreover, the current Administration continues to talk (in mid-2009) about increasing Medicare and social services in a manner that to me suggests it is weighting those 'social benefits' to a greater degree than it should until the U.S. economy begins to grow out of its current economic malaise.

To take the analogy further, America is 'fertilizing its soil with 'bailout' and 'stimulus' packages. To me the important questions are:

Commentary now: Based on all that I currently speak to in this Newsletter, I would be hard-pressed to do other than confirm that what I said over three years ago is what I continue to believe today.

One has only to observe:

to reach one's own conclusion on what I said three years ago, and am re-confirming today.



Ian Campbell

Author: Ian Campbell

Ian R. Campbell, FCA, FCBV
Economic Straight Talk

Through the Economic Straight Talk Newsletter Ian R. Campbell shares his perspective on the world economy, the financial markets, and natural resources. A recognized business valuation authority, he founded Toronto based Campbell Valuation Partners (1976), Stock Research Portal (2007) a source of resource companies market data and analytic tools, and Economic Straight Talk (2012). The CICBV* annually funds business valuation research in his name**. Contact him at
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