This is a long-term chart of white sugar prices:
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David Rosenberg, chief economist and market strategist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates, has turned slightly bullish.
Unfortunately, this has come as an unpalatable shock to a few people. Read more
In Star Trek: the Next Generation there is an episode in which Fajo, a member of the Stasius Trade Guild, kidnaps and imprisons the Enterprise’s Lieutenant Commander Data, a sentient android, due to his complete uniqueness in the galaxy.
Fajo, it turns out, is an obsessive collector of all things one-of-a-kind. He values Data because there is only one of him in the universe. And unlike one-of-a-kind human beings, Data’s android status in Fajo’s mind allows him to objectify him and treat him as private property. Read more
In a new analysis the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland looks into the question of why small business lending isn’t what it used to be.
While it’s hard to pinpoint one definitive reason, they do note it’s clear that there is validity in the theory that SME lending is suffering from an ongoing demand-side problem related to soft demand for SME products and services. Read more
Paul Krugman says it himself: it’s the similarities between our time and other economic periods that often offer the best insight. But he’s currently in Paris thinking deep Parisienne style thoughts, which might explain the following…
There are, as he notes, some important distinctions to be made this time around, not least globalisation’s impact on the role of intangible rents.
Consequently, we may be living in an economy in which profits no longer remotely resemble a “natural” aspect of the economy. They are, one might say, somewhat synthetic. Read more
Paul Krugman is getting serious about the effects of technology and robots on the economy. He’s made noises about this theme before, but this time he’s taking things a bit further by offering a potential solution to the more sour consequences of the new industrial revolution.
Now that we have Chinese socialites engaging in public cat fights over who is richer, posting snapshots of their bank accounts “Rich Kids of Instagram style“, one has to wonder if it may be worth revisiting John Hempton’s prediction last year that the Chinese authorities will finally crack down on this sort of over-the-top gratuitous wealth display, and when that happens the luxury brands — among them Swiss watches — will begin to suffer.
A great pick-up from Climateer Investing on the extremely important subject of whether we are collectively, as a planet, mismeasuring GDP by failing to account for the transformation of the economy into a service-oriented, information-based, digital entity.
As he notes:
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the basic measure of a country’s overall economic output based on the market value of all the goods and services the country produces. Most measures of economic performance used by government officials to inform their policies and decisions are based on GDP figures. But, many concerns have been raised about the adequacy of GDP-based measurements given the major structural changes that economies around the world have been going through over the past few decades. GDP is essentially a measure of production. While suitable when economies were dominated by the production of physical goods, GDP does not adequately capture the growing share of services and the production of increasingly complex solutions that characterize advanced economies. Nor does it reflect important economic activity beyond production, such as income, consumption and living standards.
This is the third installment in FT Alphaville’s “Beyond Scarcity” series, a somewhat radical look at the impact of technological progress and efficiency on the volume of goods and services being produced by the system, asking whether “abundance” could now be a key determinant of deflationary forces in the western world.
On top of this, we have considered the role played by “artificial scarcity”, whether imposed wittingly or unwittingly by industry participants as a counterweight to such deflation, and to what degree such measures could now be running into scalability issues. In short, whether there is a limit to how much artificial scarcity private organisations can impose to counteract deflationary forces of abundance, without experiencing diminishing returns. Read more
With so much doom and gloom about, we’d like to take you on a trip through the looking glass to a world where the future is bright, not bleak. Optimistic, not pessimistic. Hopeful, not dismal.
And we mean that in the context of today’s data. Not in some parallel-universe that doesn’t exist. Read more
Presenting an economic journey in felt, looking at whether the system’s ails have more to do with an abundance of goods than a shortage of credit because of the system’s technological advances and efficiencies. Move ahead to slide 20 for a snapshot of where we *think* we are today.
1) The water source. Read more