Home > Fisher Investments Analyst Views, Fisher Investments Forbes > 48 Things That Mattered – September 2, 2011 Edition

48 Things That Mattered – September 2, 2011 Edition

Finance, Economics, Science, and the Thinking Life

Hello! My job requires a lot of reading (I mean, a lot), and in no particular order, here are the things that stood out last week. I hope you enjoy!
1.     Dollar’s decline? Sure, but it depends who you ask. Some popular measures of tracking dollar moves haven’t been updated in 12 years. More…

2.     Japan’s new Prime Minister is a hawk, and a “man of mediocrity”. But mediocrity’s been the hallmark of Japanese leadership for some time. US Rolls Eyes at Japan’s PM Revolving Door. More…

3.     That the IASB should tell banks how to set the future value of their assets is perhaps dubious. But it’s clear Greece has plenty more trouble ahead.  More…

4.     Comments on blogs are too often vitriolic, rude, and ignorant. We wonder: if the web weren’t anonymous, would there be so much animus? More…

5.     “Green shoots?” That was two years ago. But the global economy is still showing signs of life despite the recent gloom. Consumers Ramp Up Spending. Ten Reasons for Investors to Look on the Bright Side.

6.     Mimicry is a form of flattery. But what about outright intellectual property theft? China’s a wild west. How Beijing is Stifling Chinese Innovation.

7.     Obama’s new economic aide, Krueger, seems as old-hat, old-academic as it gets. Will he bring fresh thinking to the administration’s policies? More…

8.     Judging “reasonable” health insurance rates is a slippery slope. What happens when costs overwhelm the ability to competitively set prices? More…

9.     China’s capital markets are nothing like what we know in the US. So, to ensure a “soft landing”, monetary tightening tactics can delve into the bizarre: China Central Bank Moves in Secret to Curb Lending.

10.  Angela Merkel’s power is disintegrating before her very eyes. Even her most stalwart supporters are wobbling. Can she get the votes she needs to keep the eurozone bailout afloat? German Debate on Bailout Fund is Test for Merkel.

11.  More than a few nations (mostly developing ones) are holding or reversing monetary tightening plans. Even the hawkish ECB. Europeans Appear Set to Pause Rate Rises.

12.  Say what you will about artificially low rates, the US yield curve’s current steepness has basically never portended imminent recession. More…

13.  Collegiate? Forthcoming? Open? Sure. But publically bifurcated sentiment at the Fed isn’t instilling confidence in anyone. Economy Deeply Divides Fed.

14.  The death of PCs? Many analysts say so. Let’s just say, instead, Steve Jobs revolutionized the way we do our computing. Steve Jobs and the Death of the Personal Computer.

15.  Who Would Bail Out the European Central Bank? Well, maybe the Fed will print its way into oblivion. Either way, options are few and if it comes to that, trouble will have already hit markets.

16.  A spate of books and research recently have made the notion of living forever, or at least to 150, all the rage. What happens to social security then? More…

17.  The Panama Canal opened trade in the world like few other events. Upgrades continue to matter to trade’s proliferation—particularly to the US eastern seaboard. More…

18.  “Pro sports teams don’t operate in a free market, the way real businesses do. Their employees are 25 years old and make millions of dollars a year. Their customers are obsessively loyal and emotionally engaged in their fortunes to the point that — were the business in question, say, discount retailing or lawn products — it would be considered psychologically unhealthy.” So says Malcolm Gladwell.  More…

19.  A piece of Texas found in Antarctica? Wow! But it’s not the manifest destiny you might think…Piece of Crust Stolen from Texas Found in Antarctica.

20.  Office life has always been a battleground. Now we need perpetual “war rooms” for productivity? More…

21.  Forecasting of yore meant symbology, intuition, and interpreting bizarre pictures. Doesn’t sound so different than economics to me. The Querent.

22.  Dante’s walk from hell to heaven was a doozy. But you don’t have to walk that far to get the benefits. Maybe Mrs. Dalloway is more your style. More…

23.  Thomas Sowell says, “Government intervention may look good to the media but its actual track record — both today and in the 1930s — is far worse than the track record of letting the economy recover on its own.” An Unusual Economy?

24.  Robber Barons, Texans, and rants by Upton Sinclair make the popular history of US oil. But the real history is even more interesting. Vindicating Capitalism: The Real History of the Standard Oil Company (Part I: The Fallacious Textbook Story).

25.  Want a less populous earth? Try making everyone richer. Trading Fertility for Prosperity.

26.  Education today is a web of interconnectivity. Should we all just forget the notion of focused attention? Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age.

27.  Nearly any which way you measure it, stocks are darn cheap. Compared to treasury bonds? Gonzo! Stocks Undervalued by 65%.

28.  High volatility and big downturns get stomachs churning, and government officials into protection mode. But to some, Banning Risk Is Our Biggest Risk.

29.  If we’ve learned anything from neuroscience, it’s that we’re at the tip of the iceberg. Policy based on psychological theory is dangerous. Wall Street Wants to Train Your Brain. More…

30.  GDP is useful because it allows at least some tacitly common way to see what the economy is doing. But, dig in to the calculation and you’ll see many flaws. What GDP Doesn’t Say.

31.  Investor sentiment ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Fisher Investments’ Forbes contributor  Lara Hoffmans. Consumer Confidence and Funny Feelings.

32.  Batman and Superman to meet for the first time…again? DC comics has had some dumb ideas, but starting the whole superhero universe over again might just take the cake. More…

33.  Steven Hawking says philosophy is dead. Hardly. Philosophy Rules.

34.  Free market capitalism: making folks nicer and nicer. So says Matt Ridley. So says Matt Ridley.

35.  Willpower: is there anything more powerful to human achievement? And for that matter, interesting to study? The Will in the World.

36.  All cultures and peoples have a narrative. Latin America’s of the last 100 years has been epic. More…
37.  Need self confidence? Try saying “I” less. The Power of Pronouns.
38.  The euro debt crisis will ultimately be solved—at least in part—by some bizarre accounting. Count on it. Euro Crisis Requires Market Solution.

39.  Greece isn’t the only PIIGs country with ills. Will forced austerity bring Italy and Portugal’s economies down too? Portugal Promises Biggest Cuts in Decades. Italian Austerity-Plan Drama.

40.  Tech revolution? In Israel, it’s cultural as well as economic. More…

41.  The next great fossil fuel frontier might just be the top of the world. Arctic Riches Lure Explorers.
42.  Germany’s economy is slowing, but holding up. The eurozone better hope it stays that way. Germany’s Resiliency Buoys Europe.

43.  What is Debt? Whatever it is, it’s become a moral issue through time.
44.  US productivity is a key economic stat. That it’s been falling for a few months might be less about efficiency and more about increasing headcount. Only time will tell. Then again, we could all use a little respite, no? More… More…

45.  A contrary view on anti-trust law. AT&T/T-Mobile Blocked: A Case For Anti Trust Repeal.
46.  Transparency is a good thing. Fudging the rules of accounting is not. More…

47.  New IMF chief Lagarde is marking her territory, certainly. But Will the IMF Stand Up to Europe?

48.  “Although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed. The vast majority of goods and services sold in the United States is produced here. In 2010, imports were about 16% of U.S. GDP. Imports from China amounted to 2.5% of GDP.” The U.S. Content of “Made in China”.

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