Don’t Be Evil

By | 2014-09-09T16:14:45+00:00 April 17th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Has Google become evil? In 2004 Google founder Sergey Brin included the slogan “Don’t Be Evil” in the prospectus it circulated prior to its initial public offering. “Don’t be evil,” he wrote. “We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” The idea behind the slogan was to create an ethical culture at Google and also take [...]

Design Failure

By | 2014-09-09T16:14:18+00:00 April 16th, 2012|Global Market Update|

100 years ago, the Titanic sank after striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. Have we learned anything? On the hundred-year anniversary of the disaster there has been lots of commentary about who and what were to blame for the tragedy. One entity that hasn’t been mentioned all that much was the British Board of Trade. Because of the nature of ships lost at that time, they expected that lifeboats mainly be used to ferry passengers to other ships. Had the Titanic sunk [...]

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By | 2014-09-09T16:13:31+00:00 April 13th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Why are we so cynical? It wasn’t all that long ago American banking leaders were civic leaders as well. Because of their institutions’ size, sophistication, and quality of management, they were respected within the corporate community and also by the country as a whole. They provided arduous and detailed training programs for future generations of managers, led by faculty from major universities. Public service was also seen as an essential part of their job description. But something happened. A series of recurring crises—the LDC [...]

Three Crises in One

By | 2014-09-09T16:13:04+00:00 April 12th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Do bad things come in threes? The European crisis isn’t just one crisis, but three interlocking ones. A banking crisis, a sovereign debt crisis, and a growth crisis all connect and make it difficult to find a comprehensive solution. The banking crisis is pretty straightforward: the major European banks are undercapitalized and face liquidity issues. This has been an issue for a long time, but it was worsened by our mortgage crisis. The losses that large European banks took on mortgage bonds that were [...]

Wheeling and Dealing

By | 2017-07-17T12:34:55+00:00 April 11th, 2012|Global Market Update|

What does the Tech M&A boom say about the future? Facebook and Instagram; Dell and Wyse; Microsoft and the AOL patents—what do these things have in common? They were all announced in the past two weeks and they all cost a billion dollars. The technology industry has lots of cash to deploy. But they also show us where tech is going. Sometimes the deals make sense: Facebook’s mobile app is lousy; the Instagram app has been growing, although lately it has lost a little [...]

Fair and Balanced

By | 2014-09-09T16:08:13+00:00 April 10th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Do politics make us stupid? Paul Krugman is a good writer. He often pens trenchant, insightful commentary. But I noticed something when President Obama was elected: he went from formulating well-reasoned arguments to shouting, from his op-ed pages, that the country is going to blazes and it’s all the Republicans’ fault. Now, I love Krugman’s writing. He can turn a phrase with the best of them. And when he gets “wonky,” I’m in heaven. But much of the time these days he writes like [...]

An Ordinary Upturn

By | 2014-09-09T16:06:12+00:00 April 9th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Is the sky falling? That’s what you might think from the reaction to the employment statistics released Friday. Instead of adding 200 thousand jobs as predicted, the economy only added 120 thousand jobs in March. Is this the first step towards a double dip? Certainly the risks of a slowdown have increased. Back six months ago many observers were quite loudly announcing that another recession was at hand. Job growth had slowed from over 200 thousand per month in the first quarter to less [...]

Oh The Places They’re Going!

By | 2017-07-17T12:34:55+00:00 April 6th, 2012|Global Market Update|

At first, I thought it was a prank. Yesterday I received an email announcing that Dartmouth had named its Medical School—one of the oldest med schools in the country—the Geisel Medical School. For many people that name means nothing. But most people around Hanover have heard that name before. Theodore Geisel, Dartmouth Class of 1925, was the real-life name for Dr. Seuss. Dartmouth just re-christened its graduate school in medicine, The Doctor Seuss Medical School. As I said, at first, I thought it was [...]

An Ordinary Downturn

By | 2014-09-09T16:05:24+00:00 April 5th, 2012|Global Market Update|

In many ways the recent recession has been extraordinary. But in some ways it’s been commonplace. One of those ways has been in the area of bond defaults. We’ve discussed before how Muni-geddon never happened. That is, the wave of 50-100 major municipal bankruptcies that would result in hundreds of billions in defaults wasn’t. And in the corporate world, defaults have trended down as well. In 2011, 53 global corporate issuers defaulted, down from 81 defaults in 2010 and 265 in 2009. Only one [...]

Storyland

By | 2017-07-17T12:34:55+00:00 April 4th, 2012|Global Market Update|

We’re a story-telling species. Here’s how it works: Every day we take in terabytes of data. What the weather is, how we’re feeling, what the coffee tastes like. But we simply can’t process all the information. Even with built-in DNA computers and quantum computations, our brains can only handle so much. So we construct narratives to put the information into context—to give it meaning—and to help us remember the details. The problem is, some of those stories are pure fiction. For example, early in [...]