By Gary Alexander

February 4, 2020

Many youths are making a big deal out of the mess that we elders have left their generation. Teenagers lecture us about climate change. There is a dismissive phrase among the youth, “OK, Boomer,” meant to interrupt or disparage anyone over 60 talking about “the way things were.” But the Greatest Generation (born 1911 to 1927) endured the Great Depression, won World War II on two fronts, and rebuilt America. Their members also created the Green Revolution to feed billions, and the Salk vaccine to save millions. Meanwhile, the Silent Generation (born 1928-45) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) helped end wars while creating technological breakthroughs that delivered the good life to our youthful complainers.

Not bad for a bunch of old fogies. Maybe we’ll leave finding a fossil fuel replacement to the young ‘uns.

Currently, I’m on vacation in the Caribbean on the Jazz Cruise, but I wanted to keep this column going with a long look at the markets, not tied to today’s news. Still, this subject is timely for stock markets as well, as the Dow grew slowly from 1901 to 1950 – when the Four Horsemen were armed, riding, and ready to annihilate us. In the second half of the 20th century, when we gradually brought these problems under control, the Dow exploded 17 times faster – so bringing peace and prosperity is good for stocks:

The Dow Grew 17 Times Faster 1950-2000 as it did 1900-1950

Dow Growth Over a Century Table

The Four Horsemen Rode for Centuries – Until Now

In the Book of Revelations (“Apocalypse” in Greek), the four legendary Horsemen ride in Chapter Six. Their meaning is fairly obvious in context. Their death toll reigned until 1950 – then we unhorsed them.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Image

The first (white) horse (at the right, above) is TOTALITARIAN RULE: “He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”

Monarchism and imperialism reigned from 1500 to 1900 as “crowns went out conquering.” Then, a pack of evil despots dominated the new nations of the 20th century: Benito Mussolini in Italy (1922 to 1943), then Joseph Stalin in the USSR (1928 to 1953), Adolf Hitler in Germany (1933 to 1945), and Mao Zedong in China (1950 to 1976). Since then we’ve only had tinpot dictators with no power to go out conquering, like Castro in Cuba, the Kim family in North Korea, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the Ayatollahs in Iran.

The end of the Cold War ended the totalitarian rule of the USSR and its satellite nations like Romania, ruled by the Ceaucescus. Closer to home, military juntas ruled 11 Latin American nations from 1964 to 1990. In 1977, all but four Latin American countries were dictatorships. In 1990, only Cuba remained.

In all, the number of world citizens living in democracies exploded after 1950 and again after 1980:

Number of World Citizens Living in Democracies Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

America unseated the white horse, ended the Cold War, and helped spread democracy around the world.

The second (red) horse is WAR “To him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”

World War I killed over 10 million combatants. In one battle (the Somme) there were more casualties in the first day than American deaths in the entire Vietnam War. World War II was a greater catastrophe, on a global scale. The Soviet Union alone lost 20 million, and Hitler’s holocaust killed six million innocent civilians. Then, the Cold war got hot in Korea and Vietnam, but the death toll since the Cold War ended in 1990, has been reduced significantly, in part due to the rebellion of U.S. Baby Boomers against Vietnam and the draft, resulting an all-volunteer armed force and skepticism about any larger war effort.

World-wide Battle Deaths Bar Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The third (black) horse is FAMINE: “He who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand [saying] ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius.’”

Books like “The Population Bomb” by Paul Ehrlich (1968) predicted global starvation due to too many people to feed. The book began: “In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” He said millions would starve in the U.S., with U.S. life span dipping to 42 by 1980. While Ehrlich’s book sold three million copies, Dr. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) was solving the problem, testing seeds in Mexico and India, creating the Green Revolution, which saved the lives of (and fed) billions of poorer world citizens. Cereal production more than tripled on just 10% more acreage. Now, most of the world is well fed, while rich nations must fight obesity and diabetes.

World-wide Cereal Grain Production Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

The fourth (ashen) horse is DISEASE: “Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.”

The fourth horse was riding strong a century ago when over 50 million succumbed to the “Spanish flu” (misnamed, as it was born in Fort Riley Kansas and our troops’ carried it into Europe). About 675,000 Americans died of this flu in 1918-19. Other diseases routinely crippled Americans – most of which no longer exist in meaningful numbers due to our medical science and Public Health system. Franklin D. Roosevelt was crippled by polio as an adult, but Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) solved that threat in 1953.

Recently, we’ve faced two or more public health scares per decade, but they failed to claim many lives in the U.S. due to our Public Health system. There was Mad Cow Disease in Britain and Avian (bird) flu in China in the 1990s, then SARS (2002-03) and Swine Flu (2009), both in China. Then came the Zika virus out of the Caribbean (2014) and two outbreaks of Ebola from Africa. Now we face coronavirus, but I’m confident we’ll defeat coronavirus with the same speed and efficiency we used to conquer other threats.

West Africa Ebola Epidemic Chart

Graphs are for illustrative and discussion purposes only. Please read important disclosures at the end of this commentary.

These are some of the negatives the older generation prevented. On the positive side, Baby Boomers like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates invented the devices and techniques we use daily for business and pleasure.

So, we’ll leave it to the next generation to find a substitute for fossil fuels. I’ll bet they succeed sometime in the 2020s. In the meantime, quit whining about what the elders haven’t done yet. We’ve done plenty.

All content above represents the opinion of Gary Alexander of Navellier & Associates, Inc.

Please see important disclosures below.

Also In This Issue

Global Mail by Ivan Martchev
A Viral Gift for the China Bears

Sector Spotlight by Jason Bodner
The Much-Awaited Pullback Has Arrived

View Full Archive
Read Past Issues Here

About The Author

Gary Alexander

Gary Alexander has been Senior Writer at Navellier since 2009.  He edits Navellier’s weekly Marketmail and writes a weekly Growth Mail column, in which he uses market history to support the case for growth stocks.  For the previous 20 years before joining Navellier, he was Senior Executive Editor at InvestorPlace Media (formerly Phillips Publishing), where he worked with several leading investment analysts, including Louis Navellier (since 1997), helping launch Louis Navellier’s Blue Chip Growth and Global Growth newsletters.

Prior to that, Gary edited Wealth Magazine and Gold Newsletter and wrote various investment research reports for Jefferson Financial in New Orleans in the 1980s.  He began his financial newsletter career with KCI Communications in 1980, where he served as consulting editor for Personal Finance newsletter while serving as general manager of KCI’s Alexandria House book division.  Before that, he covered the economics beat for news magazines. All content of “Growth Mail” represents the opinion of Gary Alexander

Important Disclosures:

Although information in these reports has been obtained from and is based upon sources that Navellier believes to be reliable, Navellier does not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed. All opinions and estimates constitute Navellier’s judgment as of the date the report was created and are subject to change without notice. These reports are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation for the purchase or sale of a security. Any decision to purchase securities mentioned in these reports must take into account existing public information on such securities or any registered prospectus.To the extent permitted by law, neither Navellier & Associates, Inc., nor any of its affiliates, agents, or service providers assumes any liability or responsibility nor owes any duty of care for any consequences of any person acting or refraining to act in reliance on the information contained in this communication or for any decision based on it.

Past performance is no indication of future results. Investment in securities involves significant risk and has the potential for partial or complete loss of funds invested. It should not be assumed that any securities recommendations made by Navellier. in the future will be profitable or equal the performance of securities made in this report. Dividend payments are not guaranteed. The amount of a dividend payment, if any, can vary over time and issuers may reduce dividends paid on securities in the event of a recession or adverse event affecting a specific industry or issuer.

None of the stock information, data, and company information presented herein constitutes a recommendation by Navellier or a solicitation to buy or sell any securities. Any specific securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. The holdings identified do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients and the reader should not assume that investments in the securities identified and discussed were or will be profitable.

Information presented is general information that does not take into account your individual circumstances, financial situation, or needs, nor does it present a personalized recommendation to you. Individual stocks presented may not be suitable for every investor. Investment in securities involves significant risk and has the potential for partial or complete loss of funds invested. Investment in fixed income securities has the potential for the investment return and principal value of an investment to fluctuate so that an investor’s holdings, when redeemed, may be worth less than their original cost.

One cannot invest directly in an index. Index is unmanaged and index performance does not reflect deduction of fees, expenses, or taxes. Presentation of Index data does not reflect a belief by Navellier that any stock index constitutes an investment alternative to any Navellier equity strategy or is necessarily comparable to such strategies. Among the most important differences between the Indices and Navellier strategies are that the Navellier equity strategies may (1) incur material management fees, (2) concentrate its investments in relatively few stocks, industries, or sectors, (3) have significantly greater trading activity and related costs, and (4) be significantly more or less volatile than the Indices.

ETF Risk: We may invest in exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) and some of our investment strategies are generally fully invested in ETFs. Like traditional mutual funds, ETFs charge asset-based fees, but they generally do not charge initial sales charges or redemption fees and investors typically pay only customary brokerage fees to buy and sell ETF shares. The fees and costs charged by ETFs held in client accounts will not be deducted from the compensation the client pays Navellier. ETF prices can fluctuate up or down, and a client account could lose money investing in an ETF if the prices of the securities owned by the ETF go down. ETFs are subject to additional risks:

  • ETF shares may trade above or below their net asset value;
  • An active trading market for an ETF’s shares may not develop or be maintained;
  • The value of an ETF may be more volatile than the underlying portfolio of securities the ETF is designed to track;
  • The cost of owning shares of the ETF may exceed those a client would incur by directly investing in the underlying securities; and
  • Trading of an ETF’s shares may be halted if the listing exchange’s officials deem it appropriate, the shares are delisted from the exchange, or the activation of market-wide “circuit breakers” (which are tied to large decreases in stock prices) halts stock trading generally.

Grader Disclosures: Investment in equity strategies involves substantial risk and has the potential for partial or complete loss of funds invested. The sample portfolio and any accompanying charts are for informational purposes only and are not to be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any financial instrument and should not be relied upon as the sole factor in an investment making decision. As a matter of normal and important disclosures to you, as a potential investor, please consider the following: The performance presented is not based on any actual securities trading, portfolio, or accounts, and the reported performance of the A, B, C, D, and F portfolios (collectively the “model portfolios”) should be considered mere “paper” or pro forma performance results based on Navellier’s research.

Investors evaluating any of Navellier & Associates, Inc.’s, (or its affiliates’) Investment Products must not use any information presented here, including the performance figures of the model portfolios, in their evaluation of any Navellier Investment Products. Navellier Investment Products include the firm’s mutual funds and managed accounts. The model portfolios, charts, and other information presented do not represent actual funded trades and are not actual funded portfolios. There are material differences between Navellier Investment Products’ portfolios and the model portfolios, research, and performance figures presented here. The model portfolios and the research results (1) may contain stocks or ETFs that are illiquid and difficult to trade; (2) may contain stock or ETF holdings materially different from actual funded Navellier Investment Product portfolios; (3) include the reinvestment of all dividends and other earnings, estimated trading costs, commissions, or management fees; and, (4) may not reflect prices obtained in an actual funded Navellier Investment Product portfolio. For these and other reasons, the reported performances of model portfolios do not reflect the performance results of Navellier’s actually funded and traded Investment Products. In most cases, Navellier’s Investment Products have materially lower performance results than the performances of the model portfolios presented.

This report contains statements that are, or may be considered to be, forward-looking statements. All statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs or expectations, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by such forward-looking terminology as “expect,” “estimate,” “plan,” “intend,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “continue,” “project,” or similar statements or variations of such terms. Our forward-looking statements are based on a series of expectations, assumptions, and projections, are not guarantees of future results or performance, and involve substantial risks and uncertainty as described in Form ADV Part 2A of our filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is available at or by requesting a copy by emailing All of our forward-looking statements are as of the date of this report only. We can give no assurance that such expectations or forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Actual results may differ materially. You are urged to carefully consider all such factors.

FEDERAL TAX ADVICE DISCLAIMER: As required by U.S. Treasury Regulations, you are informed that, to the extent this presentation includes any federal tax advice, the presentation is not written by Navellier to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties. Navellier does not advise on any income tax requirements or issues. Use of any information presented by Navellier is for general information only and does not represent tax advice either express or implied. You are encouraged to seek professional tax advice for income tax questions and assistance.

IMPORTANT NEWSLETTER DISCLOSURE:The hypothetical performance results for investment newsletters that are authored or edited by Louis Navellier, including Louis Navellier’s Growth Investor, Louis Navellier’s Breakthrough Stocks, Louis Navellier’s Accelerated Profits, and Louis Navellier’s Platinum Club, are not based on any actual securities trading, portfolio, or accounts, and the newsletters’ reported hypothetical performances should be considered mere “paper” or proforma hypothetical performance results and are not actual performance of real world trades.  Navellier & Associates, Inc. does not have any relation to or affiliation with the owner of these newsletters. There are material differences between Navellier Investment Products’ portfolios and the InvestorPlace Media, LLC newsletter portfolios authored by Louis Navellier. The InvestorPlace Media, LLC newsletters contain hypothetical performance that do not include transaction costs, advisory fees, or other fees a client might incur if actual investments and trades were being made by an investor. As a result, newsletter performance should not be used to evaluate Navellier Investment services which are separate and different from the newsletters. The owner of the newsletters is InvestorPlace Media, LLC and any questions concerning the newsletters, including any newsletter advertising or hypothetical Newsletter performance claims, (which are calculated solely by Investor Place Media and not Navellier) should be referred to InvestorPlace Media, LLC at (800) 718-8289.

Please note that Navellier & Associates and the Navellier Private Client Group are managed completely independent of the newsletters owned and published by InvestorPlace Media, LLC and written and edited by Louis Navellier, and investment performance of the newsletters should in no way be considered indicative of potential future investment performance for any Navellier & Associates separately managed account portfolio. Potential investors should consult with their financial advisor before investing in any Navellier Investment Product.

Navellier claims compliance with Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS). To receive a complete list and descriptions of Navellier’s composites and/or a presentation that adheres to the GIPS standards, please contact Navellier or click here. It should not be assumed that any securities recommendations made by Navellier & Associates, Inc. in the future will be profitable or equal the performance of securities made in this report.

FactSet Disclosure: Navellier does not independently calculate the statistical information included in the attached report. The calculation and the information are provided by FactSet, a company not related to Navellier. Although information contained in the report has been obtained from FactSet and is based on sources Navellier believes to be reliable, Navellier does not guarantee its accuracy, and it may be incomplete or condensed. The report and the related FactSet sourced information are provided on an “as is” basis. The user assumes the entire risk of any use made of this information. Investors should consider the report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. The report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of a security. FactSet sourced information is the exclusive property of FactSet. Without prior written permission of FactSet, this information may not be reproduced, disseminated or used to create any financial products. All indices are unmanaged and performance of the indices include reinvestment of dividends and interest income, unless otherwise noted, are not illustrative of any particular investment and an investment cannot be made in any index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.