Slower Growth in 2018

This perspective from Hoisington Investment Management sees slower growth in 2018. The consumer savings rate dropped to a 10-year low of 2.9% in November 2017, from 5.9% in October 2015. This expansion of consumer credit accounts for much of the economic growth in 2017 and will not be sustained. In 1820 the economist David Ricardo […]

Midway and Counterfactual Fallacies

Real historians don’t embark in counterfactual speculations. Political pundits, armchair historians, and fiction writers frequently speculate on what would have happened if some historical event had turned out differently, but skeptics should be leery of the analysis. In the specific instance of George Friedman’s speculations on the Battle of Midway, he makes several inferences that […]

Sugar Intake Guidelines

The World Health Organization publishes health guidelines specific to sugar intake. Their observations and recommendations include: A  strong recommendation for limiting free sugar intake (including monosaccharides and disaccharides, and including those naturally present and those added by manufacturers) to 10% of total caloric intake. A weak recommendation for limiting free sugar intake to 5% of […]

Making America Irrelevant Again

President Trump has done it: he has ignored the advice of his saner advisors (i.e. Tillerson, Ivanka) and withdrawn from the United States from the Paris climate deal negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015. The announcement is all over the news cycle. Global climate change is the greatest moral and existential crisis of our […]

US Policy Avoided This Disaster for 70 Years

Merkel is calling for European countries to look out for their own interests. US policy evaded this outcome for 70 years, and Trump destroyed it in 3 days. Europe descends into a continent-wide war ever 40 years whenever European powers pursue self-interests in complex alliances. And, no, this time is not different. How fast the […]

Productivity Growth

Growth of economic productivity underlies improvements in well-being of the economy’s participants. This occurs because the price of goods and services decline in real terms, even as incomes rise. Thus if you want to know how the participants of an economy are faring over the long term, the most important number to look at is […]

South Dakota Residency for Citizens Living Abroad

For US citizens living abroad, participating in domestic business and society can be challenging. One of the most challenging aspects can be obtaining a driver’s license in a state where you no longer reside. All states require demonstration of residency, and nearly all states mail your new or renewed driver’s license to your address on […]

On China, On America

Rob England, under the name “IT Skeptic” has posted an important reminder on how much progress China has made in the last few decades. China used more cement in 2011-2013 than did the United States in the entire 20th century. China will have more skyscrapers than the United States by 2017. China has seven of […]

The faith (and doubts) of our fathers

The Economist’s December 17th article The faith (and doubts) of our fathers was the most nuanced and accurate an article on the subject as I have seen. The “founding fathers” did not speak with one voice. I love this quote: “They did not spend their time producing pearls of unanimously agreed wisdom.” Their quarrels were […]

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