Was This White Supremacism?

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by Portfolio Armor
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023 - 2:04
Trump Mural
An artist in Atlanta paints a mural of Trump's mug shot. 

Submitted via Portfolio Armor

Was This White Supremacism? 

When it comes to politics or investing (which are often related), I try to follow the truth wherever it leads. But following the truth can be costly. In my last post (A Preview Of Post-White America), I wrote that

The Trump arraignment in Fulton County, Georgia, the DOJ lawsuit against SpaceX, and the disastrous Lahaina wildfire in Maui County, Hawaii all offer previews of the government incompetence and injustice that will characterize a post-white America.

I confess I haven't read all of the 277 comments on that post, but the ones I did read tended to agree with my assessment. Nevertheless, that post cost me some business. On Substack, paid subscribers can leave feedback when they cancel. One here said he didn't appreciate my politics, and the other claimed my post was white supremacist. 

I disagree, but I think it's worth addressing his criticism. Plus, there was a big movement on Monday in the stock I mentioned in that post, so I should address that as well. 

The Point Of The Accusation

The point of accusing someone of being a white supremacist is the same as that of accusing them of being a racist: to shut down discussion of their arguments, instead of addressing them. But let's take the accusation literally for a moment. When I wrote that post-white America would be worse at providing competent governance and impartial justice, did that mean whites are invariable superior at both? To begin with, this is a generalization, and generalizations are never accurate in all instances. But the generalization itself depends which whites and which nonwhites we're talking about.

If we use the Corruption Perception Index as a proxy for providing impartial justice, we see that nonwhite countries such as Singapore and Japan score higher than the U.S. We also see that some white countries, such as the Ukraine, score much lower (no surprise there). The founding population of America wasn't from the Ukraine though, but Great Britain, which still scores higher than the U.S. And post-white America is not moving in the direction of Singapore. 

Safe Tap Water Supremacism

In America, it's politically correct to say all peoples and cultures are equal, but objectively, some have had more success in creating and maintaining first world infrastructure than others. Being able to provide tap water that's safe to drink is a reasonable metric for that. 


You may have noticed some overlap between the green areas on the map above, and some of the higher-ranked countries on the Corruption Perception Index: tap water is safe to drink in Japan and Singapore, but nowhere in Africa, according to the CDC, which produced this map. 

You may also recall that when residents of Jackson, Mississippi, which is 80% African American, turned on their faucets a year ago, they didn't get drinkable tap water. 

At the time, the dominant explanation for this infrastructure failure on Twitter was racism, but, as you might expect from an 80%-black city, the people in charge, if I recall correctly, were black. The mayor of Jackson at the time, for example, was the Honorable Chokwe Antar Lumumba, himself the son of a previous mayor, also named Chokwe Lumumba. 

Chokwe Lumumba
The Honorable Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, MS.

On its current path, post-white America is going to be more like Jackson, Mississippi than Singapore. 

Why This Matters 

This matters for obvious quality-of-life reasons: we all want water that's safe to drink, and competent officials who work to prevent disasters, and ameliorate them when they happen (instead of making them worse, as happened with the Lahaina wildfire on Maui). That brings us to the stock I mentioned in my previous post, Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE), the electric utility on Maui (and most of the rest of Hawaii). As you may recall, the county of Maui sued Hawaiian Electric for its alleged role in causing the fire; shares of HE spiked nearly 45% on Monday, after the company claimed it had shut off power for six hours before the disastrous "Afternoon Fire" broke out in Lahaina. 

Famed short seller Jim Chanos was skeptical that the utility was out of the woods: 

Chanos is probably right to be skeptical. Maui's attorneys will almost certainly point out the possibility that the second fire was started by a spark from the first fire, and fault Hawaiian Electric for insufficient preventative maintenance. Will a Hawaiian jury evaluate these questions dispassionately, or seek to punish the big corporation at the center of their state's worst-ever wildfire?

In the Portfolio Armor trading Substack, we're still bearish on Hawaiian Electric Industries, and we took advantage of Monday's bounce to add another bet against it. 


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