The Bear’s Lair

The Bear’s Lair: Emerging markets in an autarkic world

Five years ago, the future for emerging markets seemed set fair. Globalization was driving much of the world’s manufacturing to them, as Western companies sought optimal global supply chains. All they needed to do was avoid selecting lunatic Marxist or Islamist dictators as leaders. Yet the future has changed; globalization is in retreat, though it’s […]

The Bear’s Lair: Merkel-Macron Axis lacks a majority

Following the G7 meeting last week, Angela Merkel declared that the EU would need to deepen, and should cease relying on the U.S. and Britain. Judging by his macho “handshake” of Donald Trump, a man 31 years older, Emmanuel Macron agrees. Their dream has two problems: it would lead Europe into poverty and it almost […]

The Bear’s Lair: Information wants to enslave us

When James Thomson wrote “Britons never, never, never will be slaves”, the concluding chorus line of “Rule Britannia” in 1740 he did not envisage the Information Age. Today the accumulation of Big Data on every transaction, even every word uttered electronically, gives governments, notably that of Britain’s Theresa May, powers of enslavement they are likely […]

The Bear’s Lair: Good policy favors the small property-owner

The Financial Times and the Economist have recently taken to issuing fatwas against the Trump Administration’s economic policy, indulging in repeated bouts of “Two Minutes Hate” against the man himself, combined with denunciations of “populism.” Yet “populism” is a term that covers a multitude of sins. In pandering to the prejudices of their journalists and […]

The Bear’s Lair: Buffett rings the bell for the market

Warren Buffett this week announced he had more than doubled his stake in Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) and apologized to investors for missing out on Amazon (Nasdaq:AMZN) and Alphabet/Google (Nasdaq:GOOG). Presumably, had he been around in July 1720 (he wasn’t quite) he would also have apologized to investors for missing out on the bonanza of the South […]

The Bear’s Lair: Why wait 30 years for robot CEOs?

Jack Ma, Chief Executive Officer of the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, opined last week that in 30 years even CEO jobs would be outsourced to robots. His observation caused qualms in the overstuffed hearts of the cognitive elite, who had thought themselves immune to such vulgarities as replacement through automation. My question is: given the […]

The Bear’s Lair: May playing Russian Roulette with Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May last week called an election for June 8, to get herself a larger majority and more time with which to negotiate a Brexit (British exit from the EU) deal. (This must be completed by March 2019 but may involve some interim arrangements.) Since her Conservatives are 20 points ahead of […]

The Bear’s Lair: The most precious thing is patient cash

Hundreds of billions in private equity and hedge fund money has been raised, and is bursting to be deployed in the market. Companies like Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) with multiple billions of liquidity feel the need to find a home for it – in Apple’s case, possibly buying Disney (NYSE:DIS). Yet interest rates are too low, the […]

The Bear’s Lair: How do we fix finance?

National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, formerly President of Goldman Sachs, startled markets last week by suggesting that the United States should re-impose the Glass-Steagall division between commercial and investment banking. That is probably desirable on balance, but the U.S. and global financial system was already a mess when Glass-Steagall was removed in 1999. We […]

The Bear’s Lair: Avoiding the fate of the horses

We are not horses. Yet the Luddite left is telling the story of how the horses lost their jobs after 1900 as a parable of what might happen to most humans as the robots take over. In a truly free market, in which government was small and with little power, this would be impossible; the […]