"Cook also told these millennials, 'Don't shrink from risk.' That's a musty old standard for commencement addresses: Find your passion, follow your dreams, take some risks, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. It cannot be lost among the most discerning grads that these commencement tips are coming from a generation that left them with crushing student debt, a wobbly job market, unaffordable real estate and cities increasingly ablaze."
Put together our 1% elections, the privatization of our government, the de-legitimization of Congress and the presidency, as well as the empowerment of the national security state and the U.S. military, and add in the demobilization of the American public (in the name of protecting us from terrorism), and you have something like a new ballgame.
- Methodology change sees Indian economy grow faster than China's (Reuters)
- Can Greek Businesses Even Survive? (WSJ)
- Putin to travel to Minsk talks raising hopes of a deal over Ukraine (Euronews)
- Ukraine contact group representatives deny ceasefire deal in Minsk (Reuters)
- Moar buybacks! Hedge Fund-Backed Investor Puts Himself Up for G.M. Board (NYT)
- Ukraine peace summit overshadowed by some of war's worst fighting (Reuters)
- Time for non-non-GAAP excluding China: Tesla CEO threatens firings after dismal China sales - sources (Reuters)
- Jon Stewart leaving Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' (Reuters)
Having signed a new five-year contract in December reported to be worth $10 million a year, Brian Williams - the mis-remembering NBC News anchor - has been suspended by the network for six months without pay this evening, according to The NY Times. NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke remarked, "by his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate."
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; we thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.
As Hilary Clinton starts to ponder the curtains she wants to hang in the Oval Office, there is only one person who can realistically stand in her way: Rand Paul.
"The enemy isn't conservatism. The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy is bulls**t." - Lars-Erik Nelson
Many believe the most significant battle of our era is between the forces of Decentralization vs. Centralization. Niall Furguson takes that battle and looks at it from a historical perspective, describing it as Networks vs. Hierarchies, and warns we "need networks, for no political hierarchy, no matter how powerful, can plan all the clever things that networks spontaneously generate. But if the hierarchy comes to control the networks so much as to compromise their benign self-organizing capacities, then innovation is bound to wane."
Geithner Is Taken to the Woodshed
John Stewart is stunned by the world of HFT (where "stock exchanges sell the right to advance information to high frequency traders [by locating their computers closest to the exchange]") and the mainstream media's immediate jump to defend it "as good for us", but as Michael Lewis explains "anyone whose livelihood is dependent on Wall Street [from CNBC, FOX and even the SEC] is invested in this... it sounds like a conspiracy." As Lewis explains, HFTs "function on volume and volatility" alone and "they know the prices before you do... which is illegal if it's a person, but as a computer, meh?"
First we had Jeab-Claude Juncker saying it's ok to lie to the people, then President Obama's poster-child for Obamacare who later discovered she was unable to get the healthcare she expected and now following Janet Yellen's apparently 'uber-dovish' "jobs are not plentful" sob story spech yesterday we have more governmental factual inaccuracies. As Bloomberg reports, in her first speech as Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen told the stories of three people who had trouble finding work to illustrate her concern about the unemployed -- omitting the fact that two had criminal records that might have influenced employers’ decisions on whether to hire them. As we commented yesterday, "it’s troubling when we have to assume that everything we hear from any politician or any central banker is being said for effect, not for the straightforward expression of an honest opinion."
The question is not “Is it a Hollow World?”. If you’re reading Epsilon Theory I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to spend a lot of words convincing you of that fact. Nor is the question “How do we fix the Hollow World?”. Or at least that’s not my question. Sorry, but being a revolutionary is a young man’s game, and the pay is really bad. More seriously, I don’t think it’s possible to organize mass society in a non-hollow fashion without doing something about the “mass” part. So given that we are stuck in the world as it is, my question is “How do we adapt to a Hollow World?”. As Conrad wrote, the question is not how to get cured, but how to live. How do we make our way through the battlefield of modern economics and politics, a world that we know is hollow and false in so many important ways, without losing our minds and ending up in a metaphorical jungle muttering “the horror, the horror” to ourselves?