Creative Capital

China is Destined to Fall Behind

Whatever happens with my proposal that the West launch Cold War II, the next three decades will be far less friendly to the Chinese economy than the past three decades have been. There are three reasons for this. First, there is what we might call “the law of large economies.” It’s relatively easy for a …

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Containing China Economically

Assuming that we can summon the courage to contain Beijing militarily, the next leg of the containment stool is to restrain China economically. Military containment will prevent China from overrunning other lands and peoples, but only economic containment can bring the Chinese Communist Party to its knees (or its senses). In Cold War I, it was …

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The Argument for Containing China

“In the Indo-Pacific region, China wants complete dominance; it wants to force the United States out and become the region’s unchallenged political, economic, and military hegemon. And globally … it wants to be powerful enough to counter Washington when needed.” –Oriana Skylar Mastro, Foreign Affairs We are talking about how a cold war between China and …

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U.S & China: Setting the Record Straight

In April of 2017, as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping were preparing to meet, a group of academics, policy wonks and former diplomats took out a full-page ad in the New York Times. The wonks warned the U.S. against falling into the “Thucydides Trap.” The ad explained the Thucydides Trap as arising when a dominant power …

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Fed Cred: The Quailing Central Bank and What it Means

It’s been a long time since I berated my friends at the Fed, and my typing fingers are getting itchy. So I’m interrupting my Cold War II series for a little pleasant Fed-bashing. Part of the reason for my (uncharacteristic) forbearance is that I thought Jay Powell was mostly doing the right things. He’d been …

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Why China Is Ready to Fall Apart

In the 1980s, almost four decades into Cold War I, President Reagan dramatically ratcheted up the pressure on the Soviet Union by expanding and modernizing the U.S. military and launching his famous “Star Wars” (Strategic Defense) Initiative. The policy apparatus in the West went berserk. Reagan was, they claimed, wildly escalating the Cold War. The …

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The Trouble with China

Virtually every American policymaker believed that the collapse of the USSR marked “the end of history.” Ever since the dawn of human civilization, hostile societies had vied for supremacy, resulting in war after war. But, it was thought, the break-up of the main sponsor of Communism demonstrated that there were simply no political ideas that …

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Outlasting the Russians

Within a period of four months in 1945, both Germany (in May) and Japan (in September) surrendered. At that time the Allies controlled most of the world, including Western Europe, while the Soviets controlled Eastern Europe. The USSR had been our “ally” during the war only in the narrowest sense of the word. Stalin had …

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Cold War II

Roughly five years ago, my book, “The Stewardship of Wealth,” was published in the U.S. Almost immediately, it was translated into Chinese and was being readied for publication by Tsinghua University Press in Beijing. But then one day—actually, it was nearly midnight—I received a frantic call. It seemed that there was a teensy-weensy problem: the Chinese …

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The Value of Living Separately

We’ve talked a lot about De Rarum Natura, but we haven’t actually experienced the poem in these pages. There’s a reason for that—poor Lucretius has been unlucky in his translators. The vast majority of the DRN translations have been made by Latin scholars. These renderings are technically accurate and have the merit of passing along …

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Time Warp with Lucretius

Lucretius lived and wrote a long time ago. Indeed, if we wanted to, we could calculate how much time has passed since De Rerum Natura was completed in 50 BCE—how many centuries, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. (But don’t bother. It was 20 centuries, 2,079 years, 24,948 months, 759,355 days, 18,224,520 hours, 1,093,471,200 minutes, and 65,608,272,000 seconds—i.e., a …

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On Lucretius, Part II: Why His Poem Was so Great

“The greatest poem by the greatest poet.” —Dryden on De Rerum Natura and Lucretius ”Carmina sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti / exitio terras cum dabit una dies.” —Ovid [“The verses of the sublime Lucretius/will perish only when a day will bring the end of the world.”] What exactly was it that made De Rerum Natura, or DRN, so remarkable? …

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On Lucretius: The Man Who Changed the World

One happy day in the year 1417, with the mind of Europe still firmly in the grip of the Dark Ages, a fellow named Poggio Bracciolini was mucking around in the Benedictine library at Fulda in present-day Germany. He reached out his hand and pulled off the musty shelves a volume which, to his astonishment, …

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We Are Forever Grateful for Your Sacrifices, Part II

Amazingly, I passed all my first year law school exams (okay, by the skin of my teeth), and that fall I was back in Cambridge ready to start my second year at Harvard Law. But they wouldn’t let me register for classes because I couldn’t pay the (staggering) tuition. When I’d started my first year …

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We Are Forever Grateful for Your Sacrifices

“Thank you to all of our alumni veterans for your service. We are forever grateful for your sacrifices.” – Email received on Veterans Day by Your Humble Blogger from Harvard Law School When that email landed in my inbox I was at first both surprised and pleased. After all, Harvard University has been, for half …

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Spitting Into the Wind, Part III

I’m perfectly well aware that Noel Coward once remarked that reading a footnote is like having to stop making love so you can go downstairs to answer the door. But what did he know? I love footnotes. In his (much over-praised) book, “Infinite Jest,” David Foster Wallace included almost 100 pages of footnotes, which was terrific. Unfortunately, he …

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Bloggy, Blog Blog…

We’re talking about my blog—blogging about blogging, talk about a navel-gazing exercise—and also about the book of blog posts that I just published. Selection criteria Since there exist, as of this moment, well over 300 of my blog posts, averaging 1,000 words each, I couldn’t simply publish all of them. That would result in a …

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Spitting Into the Wind

The first blogging software hit the market in 1999, but it was a technology in search of a use. I never even heard the word “blog” until the early 2000s, and didn’t focus on it until, in 2004, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary selected “blog” as the Word of the Year. (It’s a truncation of “web log.”) Even then …

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The Dear John Letter (to your Financial Advisor)

For many people, the worst part of the process of terminating an advisor happens at the very end, when you finally have to tell the guy the relationship is over. Think about that love affair that just wasn’t right. You knew that he/she was wrong for you, but actually breaking off the relationship filled you …

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Firing Your Financial Advisor, Part III

Now that we know why we’re going to fire our financial advisor, let’s talk about when to do it. Obviously, if any of the issues I detailed in my last post are operating, the time to fire your advisor is ASAP. But even if no hot-button issues have raised their ugly heads, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all is …

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Firing Your Financial Advisor, Part II

If you Google “Should I fire my financial advisor?” you will land on a lot of brain-dead articles. If any of the reasons listed in those articles apply to your financial advisor and you haven’t fired him, you’re probably hopeless. But in the interest of comprehensiveness, let’s take a quick look at reasons to fire your advisor right …

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Firing Your Financial Advisor

“You’re fired!” – Donald Trump. The incredible—and incredibly long—bull market in both stocks and bonds that has persisted since the end of the Global Financial Crisis is now teetering. Whether or not the market bloodbath that occurred in October continues, the bull will in fact come to an end one of these days. When that …

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