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Economic Analysis

The New Normal of Healthcare Spending

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 28, 2014

A rather interesting shockwave came across the newsfeeds this week. I was actually doing a TV interview when the host announced that GDP was down 2.9% for the first quarter. There was not much else I could do but note that that was a really bad, ugly, terrible, not very good number. But I had no real basis, without any facts in front of me, by which to understand why the revision was so extreme. Sure, we were all expecting a pretty large revision, but what we got was the worst decline in five...

The Four Horsemen of the Geopolitical Apocalypse

Outside the Box

June 25, 2014

Ian Bremmer, NYU professor and head of the geopolitical consulting powerhouse Eurasia Group, consults at the highest levels with both governments and companies because he brings to the table robust geopolitical analysis and a compelling thesis: that we are witnessing “the creative destruction of the old geopolitical order.” We live, as his last book told us, in a “G-0” world. In today’s Outside the Box, Ian spells out what that creative destruction means in terms of events on the ground...

The Slip ‘n’ Fail Mutts

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

June 23, 2014

Theodore Seuss Geisel was a master of anapestic meter.

An anapest is a metrical foot used in poetry which comprises two short syllables, followed by a long one. More familiarly (particularly in the world created by Seuss), it consisted of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one:

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house..."

Italy: When Hope Is a Strategy

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 22, 2014

I came back from Italy this week, and one of my guilty pleasures was being able to sit down and watch the last three episodes, including the season finale, of Game of Thrones. For those readers who are not enthralled with the fantasy epic from HBO or have not read the first five books (will he ever finish?), author George R.R. Martin has written one of the most complex fantasy series ever, about a world where everyone is occupied with who will sit on the Iron Throne.

Musical Chairs at the FOMC

Outside the Box

June 18, 2014

“You can’t tell the players without a program. Get your program here!” yelled the stadium vendors of my youth. In today’s Outside the Box I bring you an excellent piece of Fed watching by Nouriel Roubini and colleagues, a “program” of the new Fed members and where they rank on the hawk-dove scale. They point out that, with a new chairperson (Janet Yellen) and vice-chair (Stanley Fischer), and with higher than normal turnover on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) – over the past year,...

The Age of Transformation

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 14, 2014

“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

“The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation – if I may use that biological term – that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative...

Networks and Hierarchies

Outside the Box

June 11, 2014

I have a big-picture piece for you today from a big-time thinker, my good friend Niall Ferguson. This is a little bit different for Outside the Box, but then isn’t that what this letter is supposed to be? Something to make us think and to come at a problem with a little bit different viewpoint?

At our recent Strategic Investment Conference, Niall focused on the dangers of US isolationism, the degeneration of American culture, and the immense problem of government debt whose trajectory is in...

Conscious Uncouplings

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

June 9, 2014

With that simple statement, issued on March 25th, one of the world’s best-known celebrity couples, the Oscar-winning actress Gwynneth Paltrow and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, went their separate ways.

No muss, no fuss. On the contrary, it was clean, simple, and effective (unless you factor in the amount of ridicule the two were subjected to in the popular press for their choice of words).

Now, contrast that ending of a life lived together under the spotlight to the EU’s unholy...

Can Central Planners Revive China’s Economic Miracle?

Thoughts from the Frontline

June 8, 2014

For years, when asked whether I thought China would experience a hard landing, I would simply answer, “I don't understand China. Making a prediction would be pretending that I did, so I can’t.” The problem is that today China is the most significant macroeconomic wildcard in the global economy. To understand both the risks and the potentials for the future you have to reach some understanding of what is happening in China today. Last week we started a two-part series on what my young...

Breakfast with Dave

Outside the Box

June 3, 2014

David Rosenberg and I have been friends and colleagues for years, but he never ceases to amaze me. I mean, a 10- to 15-page letter covering every significant development in global markets, delivered to clients’ mailboxes every single morning of the work week?! Breakfast with Dave is legendary in our business.

Rosie’s presentation at our just-concluded Strategic Investment Conference was his usual rapid-fire tour de force, but to truly appreciate the volcanic force that is Mr. Rosenberg, you...