Thoughts From the Frontline, September 2015

Balloons in Search of Needles

September 27, 2015

I love waterfalls. I’ve seen some of the world’s best, and they always have an impact. The big ones leave me awestruck at nature’s power. It was about 20 years ago that I did a boat trip on the upper Zambezi, ending at Victoria Falls. Such a placid river, full of game and hippopotamuses (and the occasional croc); and then you begin to hear the roar of the falls from miles away. Unbelievably majestic. From there the Zambezi River turns into a whitewater rafting dream, offering numerous class 5...

Merkel Opens the Gates

September 19, 2015

“The European Project has very little economic and political capital left to defend it if anything goes wrong now. As Mr Juncker says, the bell tolls.”
– Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Perhaps I should issue a storm warning for this letter. Maybe it’s because I had major gum surgery on my entire lower jaw this week and am in a bit of discomfort, but as I read the news coming through my inbox, it’s not helping my mood. This week’s letter will focus on the immigration crisis in Europe – after I muse on...

Needed at the Fed: An Inverse Volcker

September 12, 2015

“The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.”

– Peter Diamandis

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's off with her head

Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head

– “White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane, 1967 (The link...

Muddling Through Shanghai

September 5, 2015

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.”

– Sun Tzu

A couple of weeks ago I was complaining about 47,000 China reports clogging my e-mail. The number now feels like it is well into six figures (perhaps a slight exaggeration). Maybe my memory is going, but there wasn’t nearly as much China talk on the way up. Funny how that works.