Success, we’re constantly told, breeds success. And success breeds stability. The way to avoid failure is to copy successful people and strategies. The way to continue succeeding is to do more of what has been successful. This line of thinking is so intuitively compelling that we wonder what other basis for success can there be other than 'success'? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, success rather reliably leads to failure and destabilization. Instead, it’s the close study of failure and the role of luck that leads to success. In the macro-economic arena, we think it highly likely that the monetary and fiscal policies of the past six years that are conventionally viewed as successful will lead to spectacular political and financial failures in 2015 and 2016. How can success breed failure? It turns out there are a number of dynamics at work.
On the heels of Russia's decision, as we reported here, to "increase [their] combat units in accordance with the new military doctrine," particularly focused on Crimea, NATO responded with threats/promises of more military drills and patrols. Having used their airspace but condescended their perspective as "hysterical," Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves is calling for much stronger NATO presence as he rages that "the world order found after the Cold War has been destroyed," by Putin.
For anyone who has actually worn Google Glass, the news today will not be a surprise, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, Google will stop selling the initial version of Glass to individuals after January 19th and is moving it from the Google X research lab to be a stand-alone unit reporting to Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who heads Nest Labs. Analysts remain confident it will be a cajillion dollar business at some point in the future (along with Apple Watch).
Thing is, that whole line about how lower oil prices were going to be a boost for our economies was ignorant from the start. And there’s still plenty people believing just that. That may explain those EU stock exchange gains. That sort of thing all comes from people who don’t understand to what extent oil is pivotal to our societies. We’re not in 2008 anymore, when an oil price drop actually helped us crawl out of a tight spot. We’re $50 trillion down the road, and there won’t be another $50 trillion, or another road. For all intents and purposes, we are the center today, and we cannot hold this way.
Do you know what an “extremist” is? In the wake of the horrible terror attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France, Barack Obama is speaking very boldly about the need to win the war against “extremists”, and he has announced plans to host a major global summit on “extremism” next month. And on the surface that sounds great. But precisely how are we supposed to determine whether someone is an “extremist” or not? What criteria should we use?
- Earnings Pessimism Jumps as Oil Threatens S&P 500 Growth (BBG)
- It’s Amateur Hour in the Booming Chinese Stock Market (BBG)
- France mobilizes 10,000 troops at home after Paris shootings (Reuters)
- European Stocks Gain With S&P 500 Futures While Oil Drops (BBG)
- Nasdaq Looks to Operate Dark Pools for Banks (WSJ)
- This Guy Called Bonds in ’14. You Listening This Time? (BBG)
- Paris attacks boost support for Dutch anti-Islam populist Wilders (Reuters)
- OPEC price war in Asia intensifies as oil falls below $50 (Reuters)
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
Make no mistake: the Internet of Things is just Big Brother in a more appealing disguise. Even so, we're not suggesting we all become Luddites. However, we need to be aware of how quickly a helpful device that makes our lives easier can become a harmful weapon that enslaves us.
Today's WTF moment of the day comes courtesy of The Daily Signal, in which we read that while speaking at his first press conference since being narrowly reelected as House speaker after some 24 republicans defected, the Ohio Republican argued he is the "most anti-establishment speaker we’ve ever had." Actually... no. And here's why...
- French policewoman killed in shoot-out, hunt deepens for militant killers (Reuters)
- The Bold Charlie Hebdo Covers the Satirical Magazine Was Not Afraid to Run (BBG)
- Evans Says Fed Shouldn’t Rush Rate Rise as Inflation Undershoots (BBG)
- Oil holds above $51 as traders search for floor (Reuters)
- Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash (WSJ)
- ECB warns Greek funding access hinges on keeping bailout (Reuters)
- Greece Jolts QE Juggernaut as ECB Gauges Deflation Risk (BBG)
- Analysts Say There's No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go (BBG)
- Scientists find antibiotic that kills bugs without resistance (Reuters)
"We’ve read a lot of silly articles since oil prices started falling about how U.S. shale plays can break-even at whatever the latest, lowest price of oil happens to be. Doesn’t anyone realize that the investment banks that do the research behind these articles have a vested interest in making people believe that the companies they’ve put billions of dollars into won’t go broke because prices have fallen? This is total propaganda."
Yesterday, to much fanfare, the White House blasted that it was Obama's desire to appoint Allan R. Landon, a Hawaiian community banker, to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. To wit: "President Obama said, “Allan Landon has the proven experience, judgment and deep knowledge of the financial system to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy. He brings decades of leadership and expertise from various roles, particularly as a community banker.” Apparently what he also brings as Bloomberg's Dawn Kopecki reminds us, is the usual near-criminal cronyism and corruption that we have all grown to love and expect from every single Fed governor in recent history. It turns out in 2005 Landon agreed to step down as SFHLB board member due to the "appearance of impropriety" when he "failed to comply with a rule requiring the disclosure of conflicts of interest by a director."
Update: Liberation now backtracking on the arrest report, saying this instead: The Interior Ministry denied the arrest of the suspects, but police sources, it was confirmed their location and identification.
Having managed to escape after their murderous rampage at the Charlie Hebdo offices, some were skeptical if the police would be able to catch the shooting suspects, who were identified minutes ago, alive. Moments ago French newspaper Liberation reported that the three suspects have indeed been arrested: google translated
The three suspects have been identified. This is Said K., born in 1980 in Paris, Sherif K., born in 1982 in Paris and Hamyd M., born in 1996. All three are from Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine). They were reportedly arrested but no official confirmation comes in time for the Interior Ministry.
Note there is no official confirmation from French authorities yet so it is not exactly clear where Liberation is getting its information.
What happens to your market when competitors are selling 61 million units of your product at 1% margin and growing revenues by 135% and shipments by over 220%? Margin compression, baby!
The economic "recovery" has been harsh, especially for the former hedge fund manager of Paron Capital Management, James Crombie and his family of 4 including. So, as a result Crombie decided to continue living the good life: he did so by squatting in someone else's Maryland house listed in May 2014 for over $1 million.