Creative Capital

On the (Inevitable) Donald, Part IV

Let’s talk about discrimination. I had a friend, now deceased, we’ll call Millie. Millie grew up in a wealthy and influential family and graduated from law school in the 1930s—a real gender pioneer. But getting a law degree and getting a law job were two different things. Whenever Millie would show up for a job …

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On the (Inevitable) Donald, Part III

I’ll be talking about delicate issues in these posts, so let me be clear about what I’m saying—and what I’m not. Hundreds of years from now, when historians look back on our era—say, the period beginning just after World War II—the glory of our time won’t have anything to do with technology or arts or …

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On the (Inevitable) Donald, Part II

One reason I dislike Trump but also dislike his elite critics is because I have the misfortune to live in both camps. If you merely took a quick, casual glance at my vita you might conclude (as I try to trick everybody into concluding) that I am a card-carrying member of the elite American intelligentsia. …

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On the (Inevitable) Donald

Right-thinking person that I am, I’ve spent my adult life in broad agreement with elite American opinion on all the major issues and movements of the age: opposition to the War in Vietnam, support for the Civil Rights Movement, gender equity, reproductive rights, immigration reform, environmentalism, equality for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, etc., etc. Yet, …

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Contemporary Colonialism

“The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of … colonized people are made and implemented by the … rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis. Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonized population, the colonizers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule.” – Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: …

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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History, Part V

“The UK is a divided society where the richest receive the lion’s share, leaving crumbs for the rest.” – The Equality Trust I’ve argued that the Remain voters in Britain were mainly looking out for their own economic self-interest, without considering what might be good for the UK. Meanwhile, the supposed lunkheads – the Leave …

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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History, Part IV

“Brexit changed everything.” – Paul Singer, Elliott Management Corp. My thesis in this group of posts on Brexit is that Leave voters were concerned about four issues: the lack of democracy in the EU, the increasing financialization of the UK economy, the ever-growing mountain of debt that had resulted from globally coordinated central banker policies, and …

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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History, Part III

“If bankers are busy, something is wrong.” —Walter Bagehot I’ve argued that the Leave vote in the UK was driven by concern about four important issues facing the country: the lack of democracy in the EU, the increasing financialization of the UK economy, the ever-growing mountain of debt that had resulted from globally coordinated central …

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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History, Part II

The European political elite [has developed] a habit of profound disrespect for public opinion and democratic process – John Plender in the Financial Times In my last post, on Brexit, I argued that the so-called “enlightened” Remain voters in London were, in fact, blinded by their own economic self-interest, while it was the so-called “uneducated, …

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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History

On Friday morning, June 24, 2016, the entire Euro-American establishment woke up to find that, contrary to their strict instructions, the British had voted to leave the EU. In an effort to ensure that the “Remain” camp would prevail, the establishment had actually threatened voters. UK Chancellor Osborne menacingly warned that if the “Leave” camp …

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Getting Rich in a Poor Market, Part VI

In a low return environment, investors need to do things differently if we want to have any hope of growing our capital. Many of these different things – the ones I’ve already talked about – have to do with playing offense in a smarter way. We’ve examined using more aggressive asset allocations, taking greater advantage …

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Getting Rich In a Poor Market, Part V

In my recent posts we’ve looked at various strategies investors might turn to if we find ourselves mired in a long period of unacceptably low investment returns. We’ve evaluated higher equity allocations, taking better advantage of the return premium associated with illiquid investments, and departing from indexing to try to find more alpha among the …

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Getting Rich In a Poor Market, Part IV

We’ve looked at two options for our portfolios if, as seems likely, we are entering into a period of historically low returns: more aggressive allocations to equities, and taking better advantage of illiquid assets. We now turn to the question of alpha. “Alpha” is a measure of risk-adjusted performance. If a manager outperforms an appropriate …

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Brexit Grexit Nexit Kerflop

The EU’s leaders “cling to the decaying corpse of a European super nation-state with no clue as to what alternative other than breakup and secession there might be.– Philip Bobbitt, Stratfor I’m right in the middle of a series of posts on how best to navigate a new era of very low equity and fixed …

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Getting Rich In a Poor Market, Part III

We are speculating about possible strategies investors might use if, as seems likely, we find ourselves mired in a long period of unacceptably low investment returns. Last week we looked at the possibility of adopting much more aggressive equity allocations than most of us would normally be comfortable with. We found that a portfolio allocation …

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Getting Rich in a Poor Market, Part II

If we are, in fact, facing a prolonged period of subpar returns in both stocks and bonds, as seems likely, there are almost limitless ways this future could play out. We might, for example, simply experience long years of generally positive – but low – returns, interspersed with down years. At the end of the …

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Getting Rich In a Poor Market

Virtually every thoughtful observer of the stock and bond markets has concluded that investment returns in the future are likely to be well below recent returns and even well below long-term norms. This situation is reminiscent of the late 1990s. In 1999, following an almost uninterrupted 17-year bull market, investors on average expected future stock …

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Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy? Part III

I’m arguing that there are three main reasons why our faith in democracy has taken a hit in recent years. The first reason is the deadlock in Congress that has everybody so frustrated. But as I pointed out, this isn’t a US phenomenon, it’s a global phenomenon. And it’s persisted not because Congresspersons are idiots …

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Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy? Part II

Profound disagreements among the voting public have led, as noted in my last post, to profound disagreements in Congress. This has, naturally enough, led in its turn to a substantial decline in collegiality, willingness to compromise, and even civility in that not-so-august body. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that Congress has accomplished hardly anything …

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Why Are We So Afraid of Democracy?

Recently I debated Ben Bernanke about Fed policy since the Financial Crisis.(1) But even before the event I already knew how it would go. We’d all be very polite, very thoughtful, very respectful. Otherwise, we might be mistaken for The Donald. Some people would agree with me and some would agree with Ben. But even …

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