The World’s GDP and Growing Middle Class

The world's growing middle class

Two interesting infographics from The Visual Capitalist. The first showing the distribution of GDP around the world and the second, the size of the global middle class both now and where it’s headed by 2030. Do remember that GDP is a flawed index, but ignoring that, what pops out to me on this graphic is just how insignificant the oil wealth of the Middle East is in comparison to North...

The first public company

The first public company

We take much of modern economic infrastructure for granted, including stock markets and the idea of publicly traded companies. While you may have heard the anecdotal stories about the first public companies having their shares traded under a tree in Amsterdam, London, or on Wall Street in New York City, the very first company (in the West) to sell shares to the public was The Marchants...

The Long 20th Century

The Long Twentieth Century

The Long Twentieth Century is more than its name describes, a very long and detailed economic history of not just the 20th Century but global Western capital of four eras: Venice/Genoa, Dutch Empire, British Empire, United States. TL;DR, with an emphasis on the don’t read… the interesting part of this book isn’t the 20th Century nor the Long 18th Century either, as both of those...

The Federal Reserve’s thoughts on the Digital Dollar (CBDC)

Federal Reserve thoughts

The Federal Reserve published their first public paper on digital dollars, a.k.a. Central Bank Digital Currencies, a.k.a. the dollar CBDC. This, of course, is spurred by the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the questions of whether they will replace the government issued fiat currencies. At a high level, this paper says nothing interesting. A bone dry nothingburger. But what is interesting is...

Future Dollars (F$)

Market prices

Last week I wrote about the ancient system of Bills of Exchange and how useful they were for sellers to get paid sooner than 30, 60, or 90 days after the sale. A 21st Century systemic solution to replicate these benefits would be a marketplace that sells and trades Future Dollars (denoted as F$). A future dollar is a promise to deliver a real dollar ($) in a specific number of days. With this...

Bills of Exchange, RIP

Hudson's Bay Company note

300 YEARS AGO, when the British Empire was still growing, the first wave of global trade was powered not only by the Pound Sterling, but by trades in Bills of Exchange. How did traders from London buy tea in India, porcelain in Hong Kong, or silks in Singapore? They didn’t haul cases of silver and gold in their outbound ships, trading coins for goods. They had to do that when global trade...

This time is (never) different

S&P using Buffett indicator

An oft-repeated phrase before an economic or market-based bubble bursts is “this time is different”. A few months ago I asked what the consequences of the Federal Reserve printing $8 trillion. Best anyone can say is that the one clear result of that is a highly inflated stock market. I stumbled upon the Current Market Valuation website to find all these graphs. Above is Warren...

$8 Trillion

The Federal Reserve Bank

Neither the political nor business news is covering what may be the pivotal story of the 21st Century. The fundamental change in behavior of the Federal Reserve Bank since the Panic of 2007. That sounds like a dry topic, and I assure you it is. The driest and most dismal corner of economics, itself known as the “dismal science“. But nonetheless something that may change the course of...

The Anti-SPAC


Wall Street has a hot new old tool, the special purpose acquisition company, a.k.a. the SPAC. This is a public company that is nothing more than a pool of capital and set of advisors in search of a business to buy. It is supposedly a more efficient path for private companies to become public companies instead of the following the traditional IPO. At worst it is flawed solution to a flawed IPO...

Efficiency vs. Resilience: The Texas Blackout


The right framework can uncover the most hidden of assumptions. For example, the 2021 winter blackouts in Texas. While the politicians and news debate over windmills, natural gas, and deregulation, they are missing the the framework and thus talking trees instead of forest.   The better way to look at this problem is the consequence of a hidden tradeoff we make with all our big, complex...


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