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    Outside the Box, August 2010

    America’s Greatest Wealth Creation Engine

    August 30, 2010

    Those who know me well know that I am in incurable optimist. I think the world is going to be better in ten years than it is today. I thought that 20 years ago and 10 years ago and expect to think that 10 years from now. Part of that reasoning comes from the accelerating pace of change in the technology world. The next 10 years will see more change than the last 20-30 years combined!

    And that means opportunity. Yes, with ups and downs and twists, but opportunity nonetheless.

    This week’s...

    The Importance of Start-ups

    August 23, 2010

    This weekend I wrote about the problems of being an entrepreneur in our Muddle Through Economy. I would like to follow that up with two brief (but somewhat controversial) essays on two aspects of starting up small businesses. The first, by Vivek Wadhwa, points out that start-ups account for all of the net new jobs, and is a summary of a paper from the Kaufman Foundation. (You can read the 12 page paper at http://www.kauffman.org/uploadedFiles/firm_formation_importance_of_startups.pdf)

    The...

    China’s GDP and Questions of Strength

    August 18, 2010

    Today I'd like us to think about sustainability. The Mayfly is a species of insect that goes from egg to death sometimes in as little as 30 minutes, and never more than a day. Take note, because as investors we have to be wary of the same rapid fluxes in economies. I'm of course speaking of the hype surrounding the Chinese economy lately. Everyone is talking about China this week, and rightfully so, as its GDP is nearing Japan's and could become the second largest in the world. But is it...

    Recession Continues to Batter State Budgets; State Responses Could Slow Recovery

    August 16, 2010

    There were a lot of questions last week when I wrote about public pensions. So for this week’s Outside the Box, I offer you some more information about how bad the state deficit situation is, and for your specific state. States are having to cut more than 1% of national GDP in fiscal 2011, as federal stimulus money is slowly drying up. And that is just states. Local municipalities and schools have a similar problem. And then add on the possibility of the Bush tax cuts going away and that is a...

    GaveKal Five Corners

    August 10, 2010

    This week we look at some mostly bullish analysis from my friends at GaveKal for the Outside the Box. Much of the letter is devoted to looking at why Europe may fare better than many think (which will make uber-European bull David Kotok happy to read!). But be very sure to read the last page as Steve Vannelli analyzes the latest speculation about the Fed and quantitative easing. All those calling for QE2 may not actually do what they think it will. His conclusion?

    "Once again, if there is no...

    Arizona, Borderlands and U.S.-Mexican Relations

    August 5, 2010

    The immigration issue and Arizona’s controversial new law provokes passions on all sides.  But too often the debate doesn’t reflect the complex history and geopolitics that inform the issue.  

    Today I'm sending you an article from George Friedman, expert on geopolitics & founder of STRATFOR.  Dr. Friedman presents his unique perspective on the immigration issue by touching on everything from the geography of the borderlands to Andrew Jackson and the importance of New Orleans. It is a prime...

    Demographics, Destiny and Asset Markets

    August 2, 2010

    I am in Minnesota this morning doing a speech, but do have a very good candidate for this week’s Outside the Box. Tony Boeckh just published a piece by George Magnus on demographics and the markets that I think is very thought-provoking. Demographics is something I think about a lot and you should too. I will let Tony do the introduction of George.

    Have a good week. My goal is to write this Friday’s letter a little early so that I can get in some fishing time. And when you look at today’s ISM...