Money

How Private Capital Made America the Greatest Society

Last week we discussed Fundamental Law of Private Capital #1 — that private capital is the secret weapon that allows some economies to out-​compete others. This week we’ll turn to Fundamental Laws #2 and #3.

Three Fundamental Laws of Private Capital

A few years after “Capital in the Twenty-​First Century” exploded on the scene, the University of Chicago surveyed 36 well-​known economists, asking if they agreed with Piketty. The results? One yes and 35 no’s.

The Rich Will Lose Their Money Soon Enough

We are talking about Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-​First Century,” including its extraordinary publishing history and its subsequent fade from grace. I reviewed the various problems with Pikkety’s theses as they have been noted in the economics literature, and I also proposed my own view of the book’s central…

On r > g, Part II

Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-​First Century” exploded on the scene in mid-​2013, but it’s impact faded quickly. I reviewed last week the widely discussed reasons why Piketty’s book fell from grace, but I also proposed a reason of my own: that Piketty is a naïf.

The Trouble with “Capital”

In the summer of 2013 a remarkable event occurred in the publishing industry. A challenging, 685-​page economic text written by an obscure French economist and published by an academic press became an overnight best seller.

Examples of What to Say

Even small children love to hear simple stories about their ancestors, and as children grow into teenagers and then young adults the stories can become more complex and serious. For example, consider Great-​Grandpa Henry Knox’s many shortcomings as a rancher. Or the general klutziness of the Knox men, who are…

Tell the Right Stories to your Children

In the last few posts I’ve spent a lot of time talking about kids who grow up in wealthy families and the issues they face, as well as talking about how virtually all American kids are raised these days. I’ve devoted so much time to these subjects because I want…

Trust Fund Baby Syndrome: An Interesting Case

In the fall of 1997 I found myself in the spacious, many-​windowed living room of a large home in a southern state I’ll call Florida, although that’s not where it was. I have also slightly modified some of the details of the family to protect their privacy.

A Pampered Generation

The typical trust fund baby is well-​known to all of us: a life devoted to spending down the family’s capital on themselves, not working, having difficulty maintaining relationships, living empty lives. The fear that people will be ruined by money is so pervasive that, following the French Revolution, trusts were…

Poor Parenting Saps the Wealthy

We are talking in a roundabout way that has taken us back to first principles about the human maturation process and how it interacts with the fear of affluent parents that money will ruin their children. There are several characteristic ways that affluent families go wrong, launching the shirtsleeves-​to-​shirtsleeves phenomenon…

Understanding the Trust Fund Baby

We are talking about the complex process through which infants and children are transformed from little beasts into responsible adults. More particularly, we are talking about how that process often goes wrong and never goes perfectly.

Make your Plan Now (While You’re Calm)

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.” –Janet Yellen. Last week I suggested six steps we could take to prepare ourselves for the next market crisis — which, Janet Yellen notwithstanding,…

What Will You Do in the Crisis? Part II

“I’m less interested in the return on my money than in the return of my money.” –Mark Twain

What Will You Do in the Crisis?

“The world is in the throes of a Bull Market in everything.” –The Economist. No, I am not — not, not, not — predicting a market crash. (On the other hand, if the market collapses just after I post this, I will naturally take credit for calling it.)

Investing in a Rigged Market, Part IV

If we care about the health of free market economies, then we need to care about how efficiently capital is allocated in those economies. And if we care about efficient capital allocation, then we need to care about the health and efficiency of capital markets, because those markets are the…
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