What Did the Refrigerator Say to the Toaster?

I have no idea, but I think I’ll find out later this week at the sixth annual Irrational Economic Summit in Austin.

I’ll also get insight into the current geopolitical climate and learnrn more about how our population is changing. And with the recent market volatility we’ve seen, including today, I’m sure even more talking points will come up.

In short, it’s going to be a full schedule.

If you’re not going to be there in person, be sure to follow along on our livestream and here in Economy & Markets starting Wednesday night.

Kevin Ashton, one of our featured speakers, coined the term internrnet of things (IoT) and has written about technology and innovation for years.

As we just start to get internrnet-connected gadgets into our homes, we’re on the cusp of collecting data in ways that were once unimaginable. We’ve all seen the fridge on television that allows you to see what’s inside through your phone.

Just a note, my refrigerator is never that tidy. And I wonder what useable information one can get by looking at the outside of containers? If the eggs are in the carton how do you know how many are left? But this approach is just poking around the edges. For industrial uses, the sky is the limit.

Imagine a company that holds raw material in bins on scales. The firm could know in real time exactly how much of each material remained, and tie that information into its order system.

Or consider a company that relies on transportation within its facility. By connecting vehicles to its network, the firm can keep them on the road until maintenance is required instead of putting all of them on the same schedule, thereby squeezing more efficiency out of its fleet.

Back in the home, I’m just hoping for smoke detectors that ping my phone when the batteries run down instead of screeching, which always seems to happen in the middle of the night.

In addition to Kevin Ashton, we’ll also hear from George Freidman, a noted geopolitical analyst and foreign affairs expert. I’m interested to hear his take on our trade war with China.

It’s no secret that the Middle Kingdom has created two initiatives meant to cement their place in the world: the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBR); and the China 2025 push.

OBR is in the news for lending money to developing countries that can’t pay it back, making them debtor nations to China. This gives China strategic leverage and a foothold in many faraway places.

China 2025 calls for 40% to 70% of goods consumed in China to be made domestically, depending on the industry. The country is putting governrnment funds behind the effort.

Where does that leave China’s trading partners? And what about China asserting itself in the South China Sea? I’m looking to George for his analysis and views.

We’ll also hear from Neil Howe, a long-time favorite source of Dent Research. For decades Harry has pointed to The Fourth Turnrning by William Strauss and Howe as one of the premier works on changing demographics.

Howe coined the term Millennial Generation, and provides some of the foundation for our research on how consumers change their spending over time.

And, of course, Lacy Hunt will give us his current views on the U.S. and world economy, and where he thinks interest rates are headed next.

For anyone who’s had the pleasure of hearing Lacy speak, you know that his work is informative and powerful. He’s remained bullish on bonds for decades, pointing to economic problems that have never been resolved and the need for a global belt-tightening. And he’s been right.

With so much going on in the markets and in politics, I’ll be glad to take a few days to absorb some new ideas and hear some of the best research available! Harry’s said this is one of our best speaker lineups ever, and I agree.

I hope to see you there, but if not, you can see these presentations and more from the Dent Research team on our live stream.


Rodney Johnson

Rodney’s investment focus tends to be geared towards trends that have great disruptive potential but are only beginning to catch on to main-stream adapters. Trends that are likely to experience tipping points in the next 5 years. His work with Harry Dent – studying how people spend their money as they go through predictable stages of life and how that spending drives our economy – helps he and his subscribers to invest successfully in any market.