By Their Belt-Straps

By | 2018-05-08T07:04:28+00:00 May 8th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is the Belt-Road Initiative? Illustration: Lommes. Source: Wikimedia In 2013, China’s President Xi Jinping announced plans to connect East Asia and Europe via a network of rail, road, and sea routes to facilitate trade, cultural exchange, and open flows of capital and people. Shortly thereafter, China announced that over $160 billion of infrastructure projects were in planning or construction along the way, projects like a 700 MW hydropower station near Islamabad, Pakistan, or extending the current Eurasian Landbridge – a 7,000 mile rail [...]


By | 2018-05-07T06:47:47+00:00 May 7th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is a capital-intensive business? Illustration: Charles Graham, Harper’s Weekly. Source: Wikimedia Capital is what makes things. Factories and design studios and drilling rigs and construction equipment. To build the Panama Canal, the managing engineers employed thousands of steam-powered excavating machines, rather than millions of workers with shovels. Today, our economy runs on ideas, rather than steam-power. It needs people who are creative, who can pull innovations and material and suppliers and delivery together on a mobile platform that is elegant and easy to [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 5): A New Direction

By | 2018-05-04T06:00:58+00:00 May 4th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do you deal with a rising Great Power? Photo: Victor Hancek. Source: Picjumbo For decades, the US held a policy of “constructive engagement” towards China. By giving China “Most Favored Nation” status, encouraging trade and cultural exchange, Washington hoped to draw China into – if not the West – at least the broader family of nations. We would look the other way with human rights abuses, and try to avoid major trade disputes. Now, four decades of constructive engagement led to a massive [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 4)

By | 2018-05-03T06:24:57+00:00 May 3rd, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can China build a great economy? Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong skyline. Photo: Samuel Louie. Source: Wikimedia In some ways, this seems like a foolish question. China’s economy is already huge. They’re the second largest economy in the world: $10 trillion, about half the size of the US. They’re a major player in trade, manufacturing, consumer goods, and the internet. But their stock market is tiny. They’re only 3% of global equity markets – about the size of France. And their bond market is [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 3)

By | 2018-05-02T09:32:52+00:00 May 2nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

What makes a leader great? George Washington c. 1772. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia A great leader has the vision and drive to want to take their organization to a new level, and the skills and charisma to inspire followers who can make that happen. America has been blessed by many great leaders over the years: Washington, Lincoln, FDR. They established and fundamentally transformed our country. Washington was truly an American Cincinnatus. He accepted the role of a military commander-in-chief when the new nation needed [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 2)

By | 2018-05-01T07:55:02+00:00 May 1st, 2018|Global Market Update|

What makes a country great? UN Security Council Meeting. Photo: White House. Source: Wikimedia The term “Great Power” was first used to describe the major nations in the Congress of Vienna – Austria, Prussia, Russia, England, and France. The members met periodically to settle disputes and to maintain the balance of power. Later, the Great Powers formed competing alliances among themselves, which were tested and broken during World Wars I and II. The legacy of the Great Powers was enshrined in the permanent members [...]

Visions of Greatness (Part 1)

By | 2018-04-30T16:42:52+00:00 April 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Visions of Greatness (Part 1) What makes for greatness? Photo: Ronnie Macdonald. Source: Wikimedia There’s a telling exchange in the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” where King Faisal tells British Lieutenant Lawrence that the medieval Arab city of Cordova had two miles of public lighting while London was still a village. “You were great then,” Lawrence replies. “Time to be great again, my Lord.” When Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, people were curious. He was largely an unknown quantity. Would he [...]

A Better Idea?

By | 2018-04-27T06:55:26+00:00 April 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

There really are no sacred cows. Model T Roadster, 1910. Source: Wikimedia That’s what I thought when I read that Ford was pretty much abandoning auto production in the US. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. My first thought was, “Is this really happening? Is this ‘fake news’? Did some random feed take over my search engine?” But it’s true: Ford will stop producing most sedans by 2022 – the Fiesta, Fusion, Taurus, and crossover C-Max. They didn’t announce plans for the Lincoln Continental or [...]

The Power of Presence

By | 2018-04-26T06:44:26+00:00 April 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Why is economic growth so geographically clustered? Economic map of the US. Source:, Bureau of Economic Analysis Almost 20% of the US economy is concentrated in the Boston-Washington corridor. Another 10% comes from California, between San Francisco and San Diego. In an era of teleconferencing and Skype, where almost everyone has continual access to web-based presentations, virtual reality, and equivalent of the Library of Alexandria, why is economic growth so clustered? One explanation is the power of presence and the importance of capital. [...]

Our Fashion, Our Selves

By | 2018-04-25T05:52:18+00:00 April 25th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do clothes affect how we think? Photo: Ahman Ardity. Source: Pixabay A recent study supports this notion. It has long been known that what goes on with your body affects how your mind works. If we force ourselves to smile, we get jokes more easily; if we flex our muscles, we brace ourselves to resist temptation or tackle a difficult task. Stretching and relaxing our bodies relaxes our thinking. Having a mind-body link is one thing; but it looks like there’s a mind-clothes link, [...]