Another Black Swan?

By |2012-11-26T09:59:48+00:00November 26th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update|

Another Black Swan? – Is the world a fragile place?That’s what Nassim Taleb thinks. The former best-selling author and hedge fund manager has written a book in which he divides the world’s structures into three categories—the fragile, the robust, and the anti-fragile. Fragile items are those that are getting along, but break down in times of stress. Robust items can stand up to shocks and stresses without changing. Anti-fragile systems get stronger and more creative when they face new challenges. […]

Giving Thanks

By |2014-09-09T10:55:54+00:00November 21st, 2012|Global Market Update|

So what do you have to be thankful for? I thought about this question and a lot of things stand out: First, I’m thankful that the election is over. As a proud resident of a “battleground” state, my land-line phone rang nonstop during this election season. I’m thankful that our family can eat a meal in peace. I’m thankful that New Hampshire has no major-league sports teams: so we don’t have team-owners threatening to move their franchise if we don’t build them a new [...]

Down the Drain?

By |2014-09-09T10:55:03+00:00November 20th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Sometimes the end isn’t the end. With potential buyers lining up, Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain sent the baker’s union and management back to the negotiating table. The union thought that management’s threat to go to liquidation was a bluff, that there were would be a white knight behind them to rescue the company if they just held out long enough. But when they began to make liquidation plans in earnest, the union may have had second thoughts. So the Judge is giving them one [...]

Twinkie-Town

By |2014-09-09T10:53:48+00:00November 19th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Should you stock up on Ding-dongs? On Friday Hostess Brands’ baker’s union rejected a proposed set of wage and pension cuts, forcing management to move from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. Consumers went out and immediately stocked up on the four major food groups: fruit pies, Twinkies, Ho-hos, and Wonder Bread. But they needn’t worry: the iconic brands will be purchased by someone, and will be produced somewhere. But it’s unlikely that the new owners will hire the same [...]

Syrian Rebels

By |2014-09-09T10:51:53+00:00November 16th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Arabs, and Persians, and Turks. That’s the key to understanding what’s going on in Syria. The country has 22 million residents has been ruled by the Assad family for over 40 years. From the rise of Islam in the 7th century until the World War 1, the country has been ruled by the Arab, Persian, and Turkish empires, successively, with brief periods under Crusaders and Mongols. But now these powers are vying for control of Syria again. The Arabs of Saudi Arabia, the Persians [...]

Debt and Taxes

By |2014-09-09T10:50:25+00:00November 15th, 2012|Global Market Update|

Can we forgive our way back to prosperity? Imagine this: you’re underwater on your mortgage and out of a job. You’ve been struggling to make payments on your home, but you’re not sure you can make it. You’re considering a short-sale and other options. Then you get a notice from a group called “Rolling Jubilee” that they have purchased your mortgage and forgiven it. You’d be delirious, right? Well, maybe. Because that lovely act—debt forgiveness—is a taxable event. That is, forgiving a $200 thousand [...]

Un-Lockeing the Morality of Markets

By |2012-11-14T09:52:51+00:00November 14th, 2012|Global Market Update, Regulation|

Un-Lockeing the Morality of MarketsJohn Locke is usually remembered as a source for the Declaration of Independence. But in a small pamphlet written in 1660 he also displays a keen sense of economic justice.In 17th-century Europe the price of wheat would vary by town. What was available in one city might be scarce in another. Locke noted two towns—one where the price was five shillings a bushel, and another where the price was 20 shillings, where there practically a famine. If it costs me the [...]

Stormy Weather?

By |2014-09-09T10:45:59+00:00November 13th, 2012|Global Market Update|

What does Sandy mean for investors? Hurricane Sandy reeked devastation all along the East Coast. It’s impossible to see the destruction along the New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut shore and not be moved. Homes reduced to rubble; businesses flattened—it’s reasonable to wonder whether some investors might be hurt by the physical damage that the storm wrought. The most natural concern would be municipal bonds. For years analysts have warned about their credit quality, and New Jersey has been especially troubled, with accounting issues [...]

Un-Lockeing the Morality of Markets

By |2014-09-12T10:24:45+00:00November 12th, 2012|Global Market Update|

John Locke is usually remembered as a source for the Declaration of Independence. But in a small pamphlet written in 1660 he also displays a keen sense of economic justice. In 17th-century Europe the price of wheat would vary by town. What was available in one city might be scarce in another. Locke noted two towns—one where the price was five shillings a bushel, and another where the price was 20 shillings, where there practically a famine. If it costs me the same to [...]

Good Beginnings

By |2017-07-17T12:34:44+00:00November 9th, 2012|Global Market Update|

How do you start your day? Checking email? Catching up on office gossip? A leading business magazine asked several successful entrepreneurs what they do when they first get to their desks. The most surprising answer has to do with email. Many of them put off checking their email until 10 am, or even later. It’s a way to take charge of the day. If you let email decide what you do and when you do it, you end up feeling pushed around and unfocused. [...]