Let Us Count the Ways ...
There can be little doubt that Thomas Piketty's new book Capital in the 21st Century has struck a nerve globally. In fact, the Piketty phenomenon (the economic equivalent to Beatlemania) has in some ways become a bigger story than the ideas themselves. However, the book's popularity is not at all surprising when you consider that its central premise: how radical wealth redistribution will create a better society, has always had its enthusiastic champions (many of whom instigated revolts and revolutions). What is surprising, however, is that the absurd ideas contained in the book could captivate so many supposedly intelligent people.
Where you exist in your family’s birth order can profoundly inform your path in life, whether because of genetics or simply the way that family members tend to treat firstborns vs. middle children vs. youngest children. Psychologists have been debating the “Why?” since the 1800s, but, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, the outcome is certain regardless of the cause – the effects of birth order last for a lifetime... If you had to size up a stranger and you could only ask them one question, what would it be? For me, the answer is simple: "Where are you in the birth order of your siblings?" Are you a first/only child, or a later born? The answer is quite telling. By virtue of genetics or childrearing (the debate rages there), birth order matters a lot to the person you become.
For those who believe they can predict the Apple's acquisitive future based on the company's historical M&A pattern, here is a summary of the company's acquisition history over the last two decades.
This system is on the way out. It will reset. Like feudalism before, our system will go the way of the historical dust bin. And future historians will look back (just as we view feudalism) and say “why did they put up with that nonsense…? This reset is nothing to fear. Human beings are incredible creatures who have a long-term track record of growth. We rise. We progress. As Jobs notes, human beings were fundamentally tool creators. We take our situation, however grim or rudimentary, and we make it better.
- Putin playing the long game over Russian kin in Ukraine (Reuters)
- U.S.-Russia Relations Come Full Circle After Ukraine (WSJ)
- Japan PM makes offering to Yasukuni Shrine, angers China, South Korea (Reuters)
- In Gold Miners' Talks, Scale Is Crucial: Combined Barrick-Newmont Would Be Able to Trim Costs (WSJ)
- SEC Said to Weigh Shining Light on Brokers’ Stock Routing (BBG)... and protmply unweigh it
- Exelon Beating Facebook in S&P 500 After Valuation Scare (BBG)
- Court Case May Help Define 'Insider Trading' (WSJ)
- Spanish banks face tough rivalry in small companies bet (Reuters)
What Is Tesla Worth? According To Goldman It Depends If Elon Musk Is Steve Jobs, A Maytag Repairman, Or Henry FordSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2014 09:29 -0400
Goldman Sachs is bearish on TSLA with a $200 price target (currently trading at $236) but... provides bulls with all the hope they need to justify stock prices rising to at least $478. Laying out 5 scenarios on the company's path to 2025, the analyst shies from his base-case and downside-risk perspective to reflect on the possibility that TSLA is truly disruptive. Depending on whether Elon Musk is Steve Jobs (iPhone projections), Henry Ford (Model T projections), or a Maytag Repairman (Consumer Durable projections), TSLA's upside is enormous as all of our three “disruptive outcomes” imply meaningful upside to the current share price. Of course, the probability assocoated with each of these scenarios is why Goldman's overall target is 15% below current prices - but that won't stop the dreamers.
Bill Gates recently gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine. The vast majority of the interview focused on his philanthropic efforts, with a particular focus on poverty and climate change. However, several questions were brought up on illegal NSA surveillance in general, and Edward Snowden in particular. His answers reveal one of the biggest problems facing America today, which is the fact that the billionaire class as a whole does not question or rock the boat whatsoever. They criticize only when it is convenient or easy to do so, never putting themselves at risk for the sake of civil liberties and the Constitution.
The news last week that bitcoin's founder had been sort-of/maybe/not-so-much “found” got ConvergExs's Nick Colas thinking about the importance of creation myths in business and economics. A key part of bitcoin's current appeal is anonymity, so the fact that the digital currency’s inventor is unknown highlights that central value proposition. The tech industry is full of creation myths that resonate with both general social messages and specific business models. Hewlett and Packard, Jobs and Woz, Page and Brin – all began their businesses in garages, showing that anything is possible with a great idea. However, as Colas details below, the truth behind all these stories is, of course, far more complex than the idealized creation myths we tell about them.
Better watch out, bitcoin!
The Federal Reserve is the primary engine of income/wealth inequality in the U.S. Eliminate "free money for cronies," bailouts of the "too big to fail" banks that own the Fed, manipulation of markets, the purchase of impaired private assets at high prices, and all the other tools of financialization the Fed wields to enforce its grip on the nation's throat--in other words, abolish the Fed--and the neofeudal structure that feeds inequality will vanish along with the feudal lords that enforced it. We don't need to "fix" things as much as remove the obstacles that are blocking the way forward. The Federal Reserve is the primary obstacle to reducing income/wealth inequality.
Despite his own admission that he is not a 'product guy', Carl Icahn extends his 'pitch' for investors to buy buy buy Apple stock from one of using their offshore capital (or borrowing against it) to buyback inglorious amounts of shares to how great the "wearables" business could be...
- *ICAHN: ULTRA HD REPRESENTS 'PROMISING MOMENT' FOR APPLE
- *ICAHN: APPLE HAS 'COMPELLING OPPORTUNITY' IN WEARABLE DEVICES
- *ICAHN: INVESTING IN APPLE IS HOW GOOD INVESTORS MAKE MONEY
So buy you dummy... oh and don;t worry because Icahn has your back, even if he knows that AAPL does not...
- *ICAHN SAYS TIM COOK IS NOT A 'FINANCE GUY'
- *ICAHN: NO 'IN DEPTH' KNOWLEDGE OF FINANCE ON APPLE BOARD
Apple is - according to Icahn - the most over-capitalized company in corporate history...
The NYT reports that if judging by the initial response to Apple's expansion into China, then this too latest Apple "rollout" is set to be a major flop. To wit: " Apple has been counting on a long-awaited agreement with China Mobile, the world’s largest cellular operator, to reverse its fortunes in China. If the muted reception Friday, when customers were finally able to buy iPhones from China Mobile, is any indication, the companies may have to work harder to whip up enthusiasm. Instead of the round-the-block lines that have greeted Apple product introductions in China and other countries in the past, only about a dozen customers showed up to buy iPhones at the opening of a store in Beijing — despite the presence of a special guest, the Apple chief executive, Timothy D. Cook."
When risk vanishes, so does creativity.
Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency's 50 page catalog of "backdoor penetration techniques", today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: "DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted."