So You Want a Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world.____ The Beatles (1968)

Apparently not. Not any more. Not everyone wants to change the world. To the Beatles in 1968, when young people aged less than 30 added up to 52% of the US population, it might have looked like everyone wanted a revolution and that a nascent movement had a deep reserve of younger cohorts ready to push for change. But the percentage of the population aged less than 30 today is only 39% and falling. If 39% vs. 52% does not look like a big difference, consider that 13% of the US population is equivalent to 42 million additional young people who would be among us, if the percentage was the same as in 1968. A quarter to a third (10 to 14 million) would be in their 20s. Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Candidates, Demography, Economy, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Society, Turkey, United States | Leave a comment

Talking about populyst and the populyst Index

Aaron M. Renn, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal, invited founder Sami J. Karam to discuss populyst and the populyst index. Topics include the economies of America and China, Europe’s demographic stagnation and Africa’s population explosion.

TO HEAR THE PODCAST, CLICK HERE OR ON THE TIMELINE BELOW:

Posted in Africa, BRIC countries, China, Demography, Dependency Ratio, Economy, Emerging Markets, Europe, Germany, India, Innovation, Japan, Podcast, Society, Sub-Saharan, United States | Leave a comment

Learning from Medellín with Alejandro Echeverri

“I think, if you want to write a new narrative at some specific moment in the story of a city, it is important that you have to feel the transformation and see the transformation. So the physical transformation is important but always there is more a spiritual thing, as happens with emotional connections and inspirational things.” ______Architect Alejandro Echeverri.

EcheverriPhotoIf you have an interest in Latin America or in urban matters, you will have read by now that the city of Medellín, Colombia has undergone a startling transformation in the past fifteen years. In the 1980s and 1990s, the name of Medellín evoked fearsome drug cartels, violence and terrorism.

But in the 2000s, Medellín took a dramatic turn for the better. In 2012, it was selected from 200 contenders as Innovative City of the Year in a survey organized by the Wall Street Journal and the Urban Land Institute. Today, it features regularly among lists of forward-looking cities and must-see destinations. Continue reading

Posted in Cities, Colombia, Economy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Investment, Latin America, Medellin, Podcast, Society, Urban Planning, Urbanization | Leave a comment

Microsoft-LinkedIn: Little Room for Error

The price paid by Microsoft assumes a trebling of revenues and strong cash flow at LinkedIn.

12191610_10206791592941545_391417102854323559_n (2)Microsoft’s annual unlevered free cash flow is now around $20 billion, which means that its enterprise value of $300 billion is about 15x unlevered FCF. Because Microsoft’s revenues are not growing and LinkedIn’s are growing rapidly, let’s assume a 30x multiple to derive LinkedIn’s FCF as implied by the enterprise value paid by Microsoft in the takeover. With an EV of $26.2 billion, LinkedIn would need an FCF run rate of at least $870 million post deal to justify the price paid. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Innovation, Investment, Microsoft, Stock Market, United States, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Talking About Brexit with Andrew Stuttaford

“So far as the original founders are concerned, the journey [of European integration] continues. The problem is it is not what most British people thought they were signing up for.” ____Andrew Stuttaford.

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 6.15.53 AMAndrew Stuttaford is a British-born contributing editor at National Review and a frequent writer on British and European topics. In recent months, he has been an advocate of ‘Brexit’, the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. A few days before the June 23rd referendum, Stuttaford explains the factors that made him increasingly wary of further European integration. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, England, Europe, European Union, Podcast, Politics, Scotland, Society, United Kingdom | Leave a comment

Gold: The Barbarian Tries a Comeback

New doubts about the effectiveness of government are boosting the price of gold again.

Last fall, around the time we updated our comment on the ratio of Gold to the S&P 500, the price of gold fell to a six-year low of $1,049 per ounce, representing a decline of 45% from the September 2011 peak of $1,895. As is customary near the end of each year since 2011, there were at the time several bearish analyses, assuring us in this case that the next level would be below $1,000. But gold was recently near $1,300, having risen over 15% since January 1st. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Gold, Investment, US Economy | Leave a comment

The Way Forward for Hedge Funds – 2

In the first installment, I made a case that hedge funds can regain their popularity by reverting to their initial mandate which was to be hedged. I examine here how such a model hedge fund would have performed in the past 50 years if it had returned:

  • 0% in all years when the market was down.
  • 75% of the market gain in all years when the market was up.

In essence, this fund only has a chance of outperforming the S&P 500 in the long run if the market has a big down year (say 10%+) every few years.

So what do the past 50 years tell us? Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Hedge Funds, Innovation, Investment, Stock Market, United States, Wall Street | Leave a comment

The Way Forward for Hedge Funds – 1

Hedge funds should go back to hedging and also consider lower fees.

Equity hedge funds are under tremendous pressure, having underperformed their benchmark in nearly every year since 2008. But can it really be true that the average equity hedge fund is no better over the long run than granny’s passive indexed ETF or mutual fund that tracks the S&P 500?

On one side, hedge funds employ full-time cohorts of smart ambitious highly credentialed people who spend long hours and a lot of money visiting and analyzing companies to find the best opportunities. They sit in beautiful new offices and use the latest in real-time data feeds and state of the art technologies. Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Hedge Funds, Innovation, Investment, Stock Market, Taxation, United States, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Manhattan Ultra-Luxury ‘Battling the Serpent of Chaos’

The deceleration of China and resulting commodities crash have created a problem for developers of ultra luxury condominiums.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the sky was a solid dome, the belly of the goddess Nut who arched her body from one side of the horizon to the other. Every day, the sun god Ra emerged in the east and sailed in his boat across the sky until dusk when he disappeared in the west by dipping below the surface of Nun, the ocean upon which the whole flat earth floated. Continue reading

Posted in China, Commodities, Economy, Investment, New York, Offshore, Real Estate, Society, US Economy | Leave a comment

A Rough Estimate of GDP Growth in Africa and Asia

It is morally right that every child should be given the best chance to survive, eat well, stay healthy, and receive an education. Now we also know that it is among the best investments we can make. Healthy, well-educated kids grow into productive adults, capable of providing a better future for their own children, creating a virtuous circle that can help build a better, more prosperous world.   Bjorn Lomborg, Copenhagen Consensus.

In coming years, the global economy is going to need all the help that it can get. All countries of the West face a severe demographic challenge from the twin effect of an aging population and a large inflow of foreign migrants. Technology and innovation will continue to be powerful drivers of the economy but they will only partially offset the sluggish aggregate demand seen in richer countries. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, BRIC countries, Demography, Economy, Education, Emerging Markets, Infrastructure, Kenya, Society, Sub-Saharan | 1 Comment