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The Bear’s Lair: The long-term cost of dopey government

Benjamin Disraeli’s 1868 nationalization of the British tech sector does not get a mention in Robert Blake’s 800-page biography, yet it has had deeply damaging repercussions for Britain’s well-being over the 150-plus years since it happened. That illustrates our most important hidden problem: government’s regulatory meddling, utterly without regard to economic principles, may well produce […]

The Bear’s Lair: Trump’s policies represent traditional Republicanism

Former President Donald Trump is often accused of not having a policy program for a potential second administration. Commentators talk of his followers as being mere cultists and suggest that the soft-left belligerence of the George W. Bush administration represented more authentic “Conservatism.” This is wrong; on most subjects (I will discuss the exceptions) Trump […]

The Bear’s Lair: All I want for Christmas is a bear market

Interest rates turned up decisively during 2021 and inflation has receded somewhat, yet stock prices are close to their all-time highs, far above traditional valuation norms. Analysts expect this trend to continue, with Goldman Sachs this week raising its 2024 target for the Standard and Poor’s 500 index to 5,100. The problem is: continued bullishness […]

The Bear’s Lair: The Boadicea approach to cities

Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, burned Londinium to the ground in AD 61 – we can still find a layer of oxidized iron in the geological record attesting to her success. While Londinium was not a big city by modern standards – its population was probably about the same as today’s Poughkeepsie, with the same […]

The Bear’s Lair: Can Javier Milei save Argentina?

Javier Milei, a libertarian economist favored to win next month’s Argentine election, was interviewed by Tucker Carlson last week. After proclaiming his adherence to Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, Milei announced that there should be no public sector layoffs initially, instead allowing the economy to recover before laid-off bureaucrats had to seek work. Bad […]

The Bear’s Lair: The Strange Death of Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was at first sight a splendid 21st century replica of the 18th century Country Banks that fueled the Industrial Revolution – it was local to Silicon Valley, supremely attuned to the major industry in its locality, and easy for that industry to deal with. So why did it fail? The answer […]

The Bear’s Lair: Will we see a Latin American Comecon?

News came last week that Brazil and Argentina were discussing forming a common currency. Since Argentina’s inflation in 2022 was 95% while Brazil’s was only around 6%, this is unlikely to work well. However, so many Latin American countries are now run by market-hating leftists that a full-scale attempt at economic integration, to remove the […]

The Bear’s Lair: AI offers a vision of Artificial Stupidity

We learned last week that Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) is investing $10 billion in OpenAI for 75% of its profits, a stake that will drop to 49% when Microsoft has recouped its investment. Since OpenAI’s principal asset has become the artificial intelligence writing software ChatGPT, this indicates the perceived value of AI applications. Yet we have also […]

The Bear’s Lair: 1873 holds lessons for today

Moving into a new year, we naturally look for interesting anniversaries, from which lessons can be drawn. In 2023, there are no centenaries, bicentenaries or tercentenaries of interest, while I have written extensively recently about the 1970s, in which 1973 of the “Arab Oil Crisis” is the crucial year. However, 2023 is also the 150th […]