2021 saw more than its share of major headlines. I’ve read probably 10 “Best of 2021" headline lists, and I’d like to add my own effort – with a little different spin. Here are a seven 2021 headline highlights that shouldn’t have been…
A mob stormed the capitol to overturn a presidential election, but had little effect on either the election or our institutions (except maybe to prepare them for a less peaceful transition of power in the future).
A small army of mostly young and mostly male day traders, armed with the wallstreetbets subreddit and a new trading platform – RobinHood – attempted a “short-squeeze” in heavily shorted stocks like Gamestop and AMC. The Meme-Stock Craze created a lot of volatility and risk for a few large hedge funds and most of the later entrants to the meme trades themselves.
The COVID pandemic pushed everyone to upgrade their home computers and electronic entertainment, sopping up the market’s excess semi-conductor availability. At the same time, the closure of many plants in the East reduced the manufacturing supply of new chips. When the global economy reopened, there were not enough chips to go around. Companies (esp. car companies) warned the global semi-conductor shortage would cut billions from their earnings.
The artist Mike Winklemann, better known as Beeple, created a digital collage of all his work from the previous 5000 days. Everydays was purchased for $69 Million through Christie’s auction house. My personal take is that someone simply had more money than they knew what to do with. Everydays was the beginning of a fascination with an art form tied to the blockchain – non-fungible tokens (NFT).
The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most important water ways. Nearly one third of all shipping containers pass through the canal. On March 23rd, 2021 The Ever Given (1,300 feet long; 200,000 metric tons) ran its bulbous bow into the east bank of the canal and its stern drifted towards the west bank until the Ever Given blocked the entire width of the Suez Canal. The 7-day pause cost the global shipping industry nearly $70 billion in wait times. Our Cat, Posey, had to wait an additional week for her favorite kibble.
The blockchain, cryptocurrency world has been part of my daily reading for a few years now. So, new coins are nothing new. But the Crypto Craze took a turn for the worse with the entrance of the Dogecoin “Hustle” (How Elon Musk unironically refers to it). Dogecoin started, literally, as a joke when a couple of friends put a logo of a Shiba Inu on a picture of a coin onto simple website landing page in 2013. A single Dogecoin started 2021 worth $.005686 (1/2 a cent), spiked to about $.73 and ended the year at $.17. Yes, a sizable gain. But, still no there, there.
My 17-year old son watched it and loved it. I didn’t want to see it. He called me a “boomer.” I relented (No GenXer likes to be called a Boomer). It does hold a certain morbid fascination, but it largely confirms my son’s suspicions that I am a TV watcher from a different era. Squid Game breaks records for TV viewership.
What were your favorite headlines of 2021? What other headlines do you recall that you think we would have been better off without?
All the best for a healthy and happy 2022.