The Bear’s Lair

The Bear’s Lair: The Free Trade Scam

The Davos leaders last week bemoaned increasing protectionism, attacking opponents of globalization as economic illiterates. Yet there seems no reason a priori why trade should be less subject to tax than any other human activity, and with today’s gigantic governments the need for revenue is very real. Free trade benefits some countries much more than […]

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: WEF Structure Makes It Evil

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland opens January 16, and that body’s anti-capitalist maunderings will once again be spread all over the media. However, the WEF’s Marxist/Thunbergist “Great Reset” approach is not simply due to its chief Klaus Schwab having the looks and outlook of Ernst Stavro Blofeld; it is structural. The […]

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 […]

The Bear’s Lair: The coming regulatory meltdown

When you add constraints to a complex mathematical or engineering system, at first it does not change much. Then it begins to perform less well, but only gradually until suddenly, with the addition of an additional constraint that may itself be unimportant, the system collapses and either fails to produce a solution or produces one […]

The Bear’s Lair: Central banks must play Grinch, not Santa Claus

The core imperative for the move to fiat money and then to permanent “stimulus” policies was the urge by central banks to play Santa Claus. By lowering interest rates, they raise asset prices and make everyone feel richer. This is dangerous; it produces asset bubbles, kills productivity and increases inequality, making everybody but the very […]

The Bear’s Lair: The world needs a period of iconoclasm

Iconoclasm, whether in 8th century Byzantium or as the Reformation in 16th century Europe, was a response to a religious order that had become dogmatic, corrupt and detached from the real needs of its flock. It was more than mere reform, because it involved breaking the sacred objects of the establishment’s veneration. Economically, socially and […]

The Bear’s Lair: Cash flow will be king in 2023

For the last decade, cash flow has seemed irrelevant. Interest rates have been close to zero and well below the inflation rate, so that loss-making companies and projects with cost or time overruns could easily raise additional capital. Now, with inflation at 7-8%, interest rates are still negative in real terms. However, whatever the level […]

The Bear’s Lair: No to digital dollars, yes to new e-gold

Former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh has published an editorial in the Wall Street Journal expressing support for a digital dollar, lest the United States lose competitive ground to China. Since Warsh is a possible Fed chairman should Republicans gain the Presidency in 2024, his support for a digital dollar is truly alarming, given the civil […]