The Beauty of Simplicity

By |2018-01-29T13:14:48-04:00January 29th, 2018|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Simple rules beat complex algorithms. “Sunrise Over the Eastern Sea” by Fujishima Takeji. Source: Google Cultural Institute There’s something deeply relaxing about great art. It draws us into the artist’s vision, and communicates a world view without tying us up in endless speculations. The greatest works of art seem to accomplish this effortlessly: the Mona Lisa’s inscrutable smile; the Sistine Chapel’s celebration of the classical beauty of our human frame; Monet’s lilies in their reflecting pool. They [...]

The (Greater) Wealth of Nations (Part 2)

By |2017-08-21T12:49:16-04:00August 18th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Is trade enough? Source: Brookings Institute In order to understand the effect of trade on the global economy, it’s not enough to map out gross flows from one economy to another. Countries and companies are enmeshed in a complex web of relationships – called the Global Value Chain. Cars aren’t just built in Japan from Japanese steel and glass and plastic and then shipped to the US or Europe anymore. They might have Chinese steel and Mexican [...]

Attention Deficits

By |2017-05-19T10:17:06-04:00May 15th, 2017|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

“You just don’t understand.” Photo: Jeremy P Gray. Source: Jeremy P Gray Photogrophy When a spouse or close friend tells you this, pay attention. Chances are there’s something important going on. But when you’re looking at an investment and the seller says this, grab your wallet. Either they’re pulling one over on you, or the investment idea is too complicated for its own good. Over the past decade dozens of companies have maintained that their business was [...]

Good, Bad, or Indifferent

By |2016-11-17T15:53:24-04:00April 14th, 2016|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , , |

Are you a good person? Photo: Joe Murphy. Source: Pixabay Most folks think they are. In fact, ask a group to raise their hands if they’re more ethical than average, and almost all the hands will shoot up. Part of this is personal bias—we think we’re better than average at most things. But ethics is particularly important: so much of our economy depends on trust. From Enron to Bernie Madoff to the Panama Papers, that trust has [...]

Irreducible Complexity

By |2016-11-17T16:49:22-04:00October 30th, 2013|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Is investing today too complicated?Hedge funds, ETFs, high-speed trading, flash crashes—is the market today too multifaceted and treacherous for the average investor to even understand, much less profit from?It certainly can seem that way. Because computerized exchanges have largely replaced the physical hustle and bustle of the trading floor, the market now handles far more volume at far higher speeds than it ever could before. This has opened the way for a lot of new products, some [...]

57,000 Questions

By |2014-12-22T15:57:15-04:00November 18th, 2011|Categories: Global Market Update|Tags: , , |

Something is wrong.Something is wrong when GE employs an army of accountants to file a 57,000 page tax return in order to pay no taxes. Something is wrong when our 35% marginal corporate tax rate nets a 20% effective tax rate. Something is wrong when a country like Finland–with a 26% marginal rate–collects […]