CategoryEconomics

The Curse of Bigness (i.e. Monopolies)

The idea of anti-trust by government is not yet 130 years old, and it took a decade before President Teddy Roosevelt to put those ideas into action. The last time the U.S. government broke up a monopoly was AT&T in 1982. The Curse of Bigness by Tim Wu gives a quick background on how anti-trust all began, then dives into the key questions: When is big too big?How do we measure big?Is Anti...

The Growth Delusion

Fifty years ago, presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy shared these words: Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – purpose and dignity – that afflicts us all.  Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.  Our...

Visualizing (Global) Wealth Inequality

Why do I spend my free time trying to understand wealth inequality? 0.7% of the global population (a.k.a. 52 million people) own 50% of everything there is to own. The other 7.5 BILLION people split the other half. 8.5% of the global population (a.k.a. 600 million) own 85% of everything there is to own. The other 7 BILLION people split the other 15%. 70% of the global population (a.k.a. 5.2...

The World’s Population (in one chart)

These days it seems everyone knows China and India each have over 1 billion citizens, but ask an audience to name the third most populous country, and very few seem to know. Ask to list the top five, and its just the rare few who love the intersection of global geography, demographics, and statistics who can answer the question. I stumbled on the above chart, and its interactive website, and it...

Capitalism in America

Entrepreneurship comes in waves!? Snowed in, I finally finished Capitalism in America: A History, yet-another a book I stumbled upon at my local library. This one in the “new book” stack, which caught my eye both from the title as well as the co-author, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. The book does live up to its title. It’s an easy-to-read economic...

Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World continues my research into wealth inequality and the real-world workings of capitalism.  This book is the story primarily of four men: Norman, Strong, Moreau, and Schadt, the heads of the central banks of the UK, U.S., France, and Germany in the 1910’s through 1940’s. These are the men who restructured the financial world at the end of...

War and Gold

Continuing my series of book reports on economics, I was walking through my public library when the title War and Gold caught my eye.  The book explains (in far too much detail) the history of money over the last 500 years, starting with the Spanish exploitation of the New World and the subsequent flood of silver into Europe and continuing century by century to the Volker/Regan solution to...

Revenue – Expenses = Profit

At a recent Seattle Impact Investing Group meeting, Leslie Christian was a guest speaker, sharing some of her wisdom on mixing impact with investing.  Her wisdom is wide and deep, but one idea especially popped out: the paradigm of shareholder value, especially in regard to investors, risk, and return. Specifically, what we’re taught in Finance is the following equation: Revenues...

The commonly misunderstood tragedy of the commons

Apparently I’ve misunderstood the “Tragedy of the Commons” and so likely have you. This is a great example of a meme that is assumed to be both ancient and obvious, but isn’t.  There was an essay entitled “Tragedy of the Commons” written back in 1833, but it was ignored until Garret Hardin published an article in Science in 1968 with the same title.  It’s...

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