Summary: Confidence rules America, with US markets at or near record high valuations and Team Trump expanding our wars. Time for a reminder that our ability to predict events is small, which means these moments of great confidence are periods of high risk. This is a revised post from 2014. “We seem to be living … Continue reading WWI warns us about markets’ ability to see the future
Summary: Brad Delong (Prof Economics, Berkeley) reminds us that on this day in 1914 the NYSE ended the longest period of stopped trading. The outbreak of war on 31 July triggered "the longest circuit breaker" in NYSE history. His post, as usual, gives an interesting account of that episode. Who closed the NYSE, and why? … Continue reading Lessons from WWI about “markets” ability to see the future
Summary: The British empire, in the words of historian John Seeley, "was acquired in a fit of absence of mind". Unlike the lucrative British version, our mad unprofitable empire was acquired though years of careful work by like-minded people (as John Robb has said, open-source movements dominate our world), preparing the way with intensive bombardment … Continue reading COINistas point to Kenya as a COIN success. In fact it was an expensive bloody failure.
Summary: Europe nears the brink, with the potential for a severe crisis if its leaders cannot agree on a solution before the G-20 meeting in Cannes on November 3-5. The clock ticks towards some eventual but unknown deadline. Here we examine the situation, and seek relevant historical analogies. "Le pier nest jamais certain." --- The … Continue reading Is Europe primed for chaos, as it was in July 1914?
"Hegel says somewhere that all great historic facts and personages occur twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: "Once as tragedy, and again as farce." --- Opening line to Karl Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1869) The unofficial poet-laureateof the British Empire was Rudyard Kipling. He described its contradictions, wonders, and horrors … Continue reading Niall Ferguson, poet-laureate of the American Empire