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Pragmatic Capitalism

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Brexit and the Failure of Democracy

opinion

I want to go off topic here today because the recent Brexit vote exposed the extraordinary failure and danger of pure democracy.  People in the USA often refer to the USA as a “democracy”. But this is wrong. The Founding Fathers were terrified of a pure democracy. They intentionally designed the United States so that… Read More

Brexit is Here – Bremain Brational

macro

The UK has decided to leave the EU. It’s a strange vote given how little support there was from reputable economic experts.  The estimates of the economic impact of Brexit were virtually all negative. This makes sense given that leaving the EU only makes trade more difficult, labor less mobile and most things more costly. It’s actually… Read More

Confessions of a Recovering Alpha Junky

macro

For most of the last 20 years I’ve been an alpha junky. That means I was obsessed with trying to “beat the market” and generate excess return. And I was pretty good at it. At one point I was on a 10 year streak with no negative calendar year returns. Between 2005-2012 I ran an… Read More

Is Secular Stagnation Really a Thing?

macro

Did you know that world growth rates have actually picked up since 1980?  Did you know that emerging market growth rates have averaged 4.5% since 1980? You might not know it from the media’s coverage of “secular stagnation”, but global growth isn’t slowing. Secular stagnation is only a thing in the advanced economies of the… Read More

The Three Types of Financial Forecasters

strategy

I just finished reading an excellent book called “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner. The authors do a wonderful job of putting our reality in the proper perspective and then helping us understand that reality so we can process potential future outcomes in a manner that will have high probability… Read More

Macro Minute – 3 Market Thoughts

macro

After approaching all-time highs just a few weeks ago the US markets suddenly seem to be in turmoil. Maybe not a proper “Markets in Turmoil” situation, but the fear appears palpable again. Here are some random thoughts that may or may not help you navigate some of the craziness: 1 – Brexit Won’t Alter the Valuation… Read More

Life – The Ultimate Intertemporal Conundrum

life

This was a tough week for the human race. Between the Orlando mass shooting(s), the murder of a British lawmaker and all the usual murders (that don’t get so much attention, but are equally important) we didn’t do very well. It was all compounded for me as two people very close to me died of… Read More

Winning by Playing Small Ball

strategy

Ichiro Suzuki is about to break Pete Rose’s all-time hits record of 4,256.¹ To understand how incredible this record is, just think that Derek Jeter is the only player in the last 20 years to come close to approaching the record. And he finished almost 800 hits shy! The admirable thing about Ichiro is his… Read More

John Oliver: Warning Signs of a Bad Financial Advisor

strategy

John Oliver had a wonderful segment last night about the deceptive and damaging practices of some financial advisors and financial firms. I’ve spent much of my career with a front row seat at this table having started in the insurance business, then moving on to the largest stock brokerage firm, managing a small private partnership and finally… Read More

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