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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Truth hurts

The non-pc editorial from the Boston Globe on how to improve return on social programs: cut out the bottom decile.

Free Trade

I am glad I waited a day to post on the Blinder article on the front page WSJ. Mankiw's response sums up my feelings. But the comments should be read as well. As it is often said "reasonable people can disagree" are American jobs more important than foreign jobs?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perma bear

One of these years Steve Roach will be right again.

American Foreign Policy After Iraq

Nye, like Brzezinski, sees the world in a more complex way than the administration, congress or pundits. Power is the ability to get the outcome one wants. The distribution is three dimensional: military relations (unipolar, economic relations (multipolar) and transnational issues (climate change, pandemics, terrorism) where power is chaotically distributed. Clearly most see only the first and misunderstand the latter two

Friday, March 16, 2007

Second Chance

I remember wondering while reading Zbigniew Brzezinski's " The Fragile Blosom:crisis and change in Japan", how Brzezinski could have so many insights about an area which is admittedly not part of his expertise. He was able to do this because of his sophisticated and complete world view. It remains to me one of the best books on Japan's role in the world and has stood the test of time.

His new book the Second Chance confirms his place as one of the best thinkers on foreign policy that we have. He sees the biggest danger now is that America has a notion that we are the forcesof good against evil and our moral superiority justifies immoral acts. Bush has squandered credibility, legitimacy and respect for our power.

It also confirms John Stewart's place as one of the more insightful book reviewers that we have.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Harvard

Some self promotion by Mohamed El-Erian in the NYT and FT adds little to insights given during private talks. But he has a different attitude towards market timing than either Meyer or Swenson: he thinks he has an edge.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Learning from history

A great article about trade and baseball, Japan and China.

Sub prime

NEW lost financing today. Interested to see the impact on MS earnings. Lots of views on the subprime: bearish from CS and more sanguine from of course the WSJ.

FT on Yen Carry Trade

The FT supports my view that the yen carry trade is not all that important except to pundits.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond in Gun Germs and Steel writes to a more popular audience than Karl A. Wittfogel did in Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power but comes to the same conclusions. Environment makes societies. Jared says that the availability of crops and animals and the orientation of the continent (east west versus north south) led to development of some cultures faster than others. I didn't buy the environment idea when I read Wittfogel and I don't buy it in the infinitely more entertaining Diamond. There is more to the development of cultures than the accident of geography. People and peoples make choices and individuals do matter.

Chinese Herbal Medicines

Will the FDA change its approach to herbal medicines? It has established a botanical review team and is looking at 250 drugs in clinical trials.

The end of the Beginning?

Mortgage market has made the front page of the NYT. Will Time and Newsweek be far behind? Is that a sign of the end of the selloff? There are signs that there will be pain in the higher end as well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Causation

Did a sell off in China cause the correction last week. If so, why did a bigger sell off in February not cause the market to sell off then? And who has the yen carry trade on hedge funds or Japanese individuals?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The politics of Alternative Energy

The simplest answer to reducing the use of oil is a straight forward tax on oil. Which is why it will never happen.

New Data Feeds

Always looking for new sources of data. One like this Dow Jones offering which has news has been on my request list for a long time.It is called Dow Jones Elementized News Feed" today. The feed delivers news items, such as economic indicators and corporate earnings

Friday, March 02, 2007