Our Christmas gift came in the form of two reader-suggested articles, yesterday’s and today’s. To make us even happier, keep the suggestions coming… On a lighter note: funny article on Slate about how to maximize value in giving presents.
The Financial Times’ Beyond Brics blog has posted an article by PUC-Rio professor Marcio Garcia, and it’s a very sober look at what this country has been through in the years since it was included in the “BRICs” by Jim O’Neill. Much more importantly, however, is the warning about what we must still do if we are to succeed in the future.
We highlight three articles about old truths and new business models. First the truth about economic models, according to the Scientific American magazine; second an old and huge sector disrupted by tiny start-ups; and third an entirely new business model that is becoming very relevant.
His editorial in the WSJ.com is about the search for Liberty and how one dedicates his craft to it. Liberalism means different things in different countries, but “true liberalism”, as he states it, seems to be a lost “art”. We’ll leave you with the start of a great passage – just the start, to entice the reader to read the entire text: “This is the core insight of true liberalism: All individual freedoms are part of an inseparable whole. Political and economical liberties cannot be bifurcated. Mankind has inherited this wisdom from millennia of experience (…)”
Roger Lowenstein (author of “When Genius Failed”) wrote a very favorable review of Sylvia Nasar’s “Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius” book. Now Booz & Co’s Strategy & Business magazine has published a “Thought Leader” interview with her, 10 pages strong. Sylvia Nasar is famous for her book on John Nash, “A Beautiful Mind” (yes, the one made into a blockbuster movie). We haven’t read the book yet and suspect both “heroes” in general (interestingly, each reviewer had a list of ‘heroes’ missing from the book!) and the ascribing of too much importance to Economics – and risk it looking like a “hard” science. We respect it and it belongs to our mental models/ toolkits, but we prefer to seek the high quality companies and business models, with great and aligned managers and controlling shareholders, trading at a price that allows for significant margin of safety.
Semi-update on our post about the US budget crisis and David Brooks: Roger Lowenstein wrote about the crisis at the very local level (cities), and David Brooks has a new book out for which we present two reviews (one positive, one negative). Mr. Brooks also presented at TED 2011 and we link to it. Finally, the US states under financial stress are again trying their best to get Amazon.com to collect sales taxes…
David Brooks is writing a series on the need for budget cuts in the US, and some of it reminded us of things we’ve been writing in our reports both about the US and Brazil in terms of governance, the size of governments, runaway spending and so on. It’s also an interesting timing because of the recently-announced budget cuts in Brazil. Finally, the Economist also published good articles on the subject, available in this post.
Quick post about a NYT story on the inherent difficulties in economics – with obvious applications in investments. Also pretty useful as a teaser for our Castles of Sand introductory text in the Q3 2010 report.
The Financial Times had a piece about Greece’s woes on August 24th – and how Brazil’s fiscal policy presents an alternative. We feel it’s our duty as Brazilians to inform the FT that they’re basically right: Greece can borrow pages from the playbook of 2002 Brazil (or Lula, since the article mentions him). 2010 Brazil’s fiscal policies, however, should not be copied. What a difference a few years make.
Economies, in the plural, since two recent articles have dealt with the “unofficial” sides of the Chinese Economy. First there was a Bloomberg article on Chinese banks getting the order to move their off-balance sheet stuff to the books. It makes us wonder who still trusts short-term bank earnings in China. We suggest a “translation” to the funny part inside, along with the second article, a LEX on China’s “grey” economy, mentioning research by Credit Suisse. In it CS researches China’s “real” wealth distribution, and surprise surprise, it looks more like South than North America. Why? Because incomes may be as much as 90% higher than official stats. Would the real China please stand up?