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Forbes Editor-in-Chief and longtime friend Steve Forbes leads off this week’s Outside the Box with a sweeping historical summary – and damning indictment – of the “cheap money” policies of the US executive branch and Federal Reserve. Four decades of fiat money (since Richard Nixon and his Treasury Secretary, John…
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Attributed to Woody Allen, this myth clearly bears investigating. The “showing up” factor is widely accepted among executives as an indicator of business and career success. While the maxim flies in the face of mathematical modeling and elaborate market plans, plenty of evidence backs it up. On the corporate level,…
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Growing geopolitical risk is on everyone’s mind right now, but in today’s Outside the Box, Michael Cembalest of J.P. Morgan Asset Management leads off with a helpful reminder: the only time since WWII that a violent conflict has had a medium-term negative effect on markets was in 1973, when the…
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[E]conomists are at this moment called upon to say how to extricate the free world from the serious threat of accelerating inflation which, it must be admitted, has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the…
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Smackdown: smack·down, ˈsmakˌdoun/, noun, US informal 1.  a bitter contest or confrontation. "the age-old man versus Nature smackdown" 2.  a decisive or humiliating defeat or setback. The term “smackdown” was first used by professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock) in 1997. Ten years later its use had become so…
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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…
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Much like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone Days, everyone wants to be above average, so, by definition, people work smarter if not harder. The first installment showed that this myth appeals to many but it fails to yield unvarying success. Jumbo Shrimp, Anyone?  Part II looked at the curious tendency toward…
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As expected, the Fed tapered its purchases of mortgage-backed securities on Wednesday to $15 billion per month and its purchases of longer-term Treasury securities to $20 billion per month. That means total monthly purchases, which were $85 billion last year, are now down to $35 billion. That’s a significant cut.…
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“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…
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One of the many luxuries that my readers have afforded me over the years is their willingness to allow me to explore a wide variety of topics. Not all writers are so blessed, and their output and responses to it tend to stay focused on specific, often quite narrow topics.…
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In the last installment, we saw how the Work Smarter Not Harder approach appears to be backfiring for those who jumped on the Made in China bandwagon. Manufacturing is returning to the US through Reshoring. The Chinese manufacturing boom provides a single example and follows decades of efforts to make…
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Notes from SIC 2014 I and many others are still trying to digest the massive amount of useful and original information that was offered at last week’s Strategic Investment Conference. In this week’s letter I want to recap some of what I learned but do so in a little different…
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