Dividends and Aloha Rodeo

Today is Valentine’s Day and in the northeast we are thinking of warmth for it is the middle of February. One way to do this is go south or look at travel pictures of warm climates or read books that have settings in warm climates, while you are indoors. A book that helps with the warmer climates is Aloha Rodeo written by David Wolman and Julian Smith published by William Morrow, NY, 2019.

If all you know about Hawaii is from the TV show Hawaii Five-0, then you are similar to me. The book is about Hawaiian Cowboys. Most of the action of the TV show happens around Honolulu which is on the island of Oahu. The biggest of the Hawaiian Islands is the island of Hawaii which includes the volcano Mauna Keo and the town of Hilo. It happens this weekend the Pana’ewa Stampede Rodeo is taking place in HIlo.

Why the Rodeo? In February 1793, Captain George Vancouver of the British Navy brought 10 black longhorn cattle from Southern California. The gift was for the King and for the first few years before they started to reproduce, the cattle were the King’s property or everyone left them alone. In time, with few predators, the cattle multiplied and if you ever looked at Texas longhorns, you would likely leave them alone.

In terms of trade, Hawaiians sold sandalwood, the Hawaiians used the fragrant wood to scent their homes and kill lice. In China, the wood was used for incense, carving and traditional medicine. By 1830, the trees not being replanted were mostly gone so the trade collapsed.

If you think about the world in the 1800’s in order to read indoors, you needed light. The light came from whale oil, and the American whaling industry was the 5th largest sector of the US economy. Eventually whale oil was replace by kerosene and electrical bulbs. The whaling industry was headquarters in the New England area but following the whales meant going around the world. In the Pacific Ocean, the stopping point for repairs and resupply became the Hawaiian Island. Part of the resupply became fresh water and salt beef. Those 10 cattle became by 1860, 25,000 wild cattle and 10,000 domesticated or ranches. Hide and tallow became the kingdom’s top export commodities.

The history of Hawaiian Islands has moved from a King and ownership of land by the natives to a system of private land. For the cattle ranches the need to domestic the cattle means fences. For merchants it was own the land they were using. The history of Honolulu was used by the Navy of the US and as it became more permanent and entrenched, the idea that Hawaii should belong to the US took fold.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, no matter what you read as long as your are curious you can learn something. Sometimes it was how the world evolved, sometimes it is how an industry works or does not work, if you are in the industry you can see opportunities. It is true very often the broad themes are in play no matter what industry you examine. Why is it there? What are the supply lines? Who makes money? The themes allow you to see better and sometimes even understand to take advantage of opportunities.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.