The 19th Century Called and Wants Its Trade Policy Back

Laurence Articles

Commentators of many stripes, and politicians ranging from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders, have derided the persistent U.S. trade deficit — particularly with China — as a waste of capital leaving our country. The view that the U.S. would benefit by correcting this imbalance is taken up in a new book, with a message that should concern all financial market …

A Misguided and Harmful View of Trade Deficits

Laurence Articles

President Trump, like many others along the political spectrum, has derided the persistent U.S. trade deficit – particularly with China – as a waste of capital leaving our country. The view that the U.S. would benefit by correcting this imbalance is taken up in a new book, with a message that should concern all financial market participants. Trade Wars are …

The Wile E. Coyote Economy

Laurence Articles

“U.S. GDP will contract 30% in second quarter,” blared an April 8 headline in Reuters Business News, apparently intended to sow as much panic as possible. In the Great Depression, real GDP shrank by about 27% from the 1929 top to the 1933 bottom, so the Reuters headline heralds what amounts to the worst news in American history, if it’s …

Current Myths and Long-Term Optimism

Laurence Articles

Capital Allocators Podcast is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts (RSS link). Lavish thanks to Ted Seides for organizing and conducting this interview. Please visit his web site at https://capitalallocators.com! The interview has been edited for clarity and readability.

Fewer, Richer, Greener in the Year of Living Uncomfortably

Laurence Articles

Bogleheads on Investing Podcast 021, https://bogleheads.podbean.com/e/episode-021-larry-siegel-host-rick-ferri/. Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you prefer audio, please visit one of the links above. If you’d rather read a transcript, click the link below – edited for readability and with some new material and neat illustrations added.

The Wisdom and Folly of Paul Krugman

Laurence Articles

Dare to disagree with Paul Krugman? If you’re prominent enough to merit his attention, he will attack your ideas and worse, label you as evil. But behind his rhetoric is an economist who is often worth listening to. In his new book, Arguing with Zombies, Paul Krugman presents his trademark blend of economic analysis and political rage. The book is …

The Novelty of the Coronavirus: What it Means for Markets

Laurence Articles

Does market history offer any parallels to today’s novel coronavirus crisis? Market action in recent weeks has been reminiscent of the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2007–2009, the crash of 1987, and, for those with a long memory, the crash of 1929, which wouldn’t have been so disastrous if it had not been followed by the crashes of 1930, 1931, …

What is Good Government, and Why Is It So Rare and Precious?

Laurence Articles

The letter Ethan Brodie of AJO sent to introduce my article: This is heavy stuff.   Larry Siegel reviews The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. Larry warns at the start that the density of the book makes it “maddening.” Larry also notes that the book “provides an effective counterpoint to …

Save the Children (from Apocalyptic Thinking)

Laurence Articles

Please note: This is copyrighted material excerpted from my book Fewer, Richer, Greener, published by John Wiley & Sons. For your personal use only. Please do not rehost this PDF or distribute printed copies. You may forward the link to this page or to the book (and please do!), and you may quote passages with full attribution. Thanks, Larry The …

Debunking Nine and a Half Myths of Investing

Laurence Articles

A reader asked if I had updated my Debunking Nine Myths of Investing, which I wrote up in 2011 and 2016, for this strange new decade. (It’s a sobering thought that the long-awaited 21st century is one-fifth over.) I had not, so I’m doing so now, in the light of the profound changes that have taken place since 2016 when …

What is Good Government, and Why Is It So Rare and Precious?

Laurence Articles

Navigating between the despotic extreme of authoritarianism and the unbridled liberty of anarchism is the challenge of society in its quest for good government. A new book looks at the choices facing policymakers to achieve the proper balance and to improve the prospects of those countries outside the “narrow corridor” of effective governance that lies between those extremes. Before economists …

Conference Roundup: Negative Interest Rates and the End of the Age of Experts

Laurence Articles

At the Foundation Financial Officers Group conference in San Francisco on October 3, 2019, Vineer Bhansali, founder and CEO of LongTail Alpha, Inc., and prior to that a longtime portfolio manager and researcher at PIMCO, spoke on “Who (and Why) in the World Is Buying All These Low and Negative Yielding Bonds, and Can We Do Anything With This Knowledge?” …

Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers: On Preventing Financial Fraud…and Worse

Laurence Articles

“There’s always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible and wrong.”–H. L. Mencken, in “The Divine Afflatus,” New York Evening Mail (November 16, 1917) Talking to Strangers is not about talking to strangers. It is a manual on how to avoid being victimized or bamboozled by evil, slippery, or amoral people. Well–written (Gladwell is always entertaining) and opinionated, it …

A Blueprint for a Prosperous, Sustainable Future

Laurence Articles

“Live long and prosper.” – Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) Does a prosperous global society need access to energy supplies that grow faster than the population? In other words, does energy use per capita need to grow for productivity and wealth to increase? Conventional wisdom says yes, but a new book tackles this question and reaches the surprising and optimistic conclusion …

Home, Home on the Range: The Advantage of Generalists over Specialists

Laurence Articles

A well-schooled generalist will outshine a specialist at a cocktail party, with an ability to thoughtfully contribute to conversations on any topic. But does that skill translate to better problem solving in all disciplines? That was the question David Epstein set out to answer in Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. And, as advisors, we should be particularly …

Investing in China: Silk (Road) Purse or Sow’s Ear? An Interview with Scott Malpass and Jay Willoughby

Laurence Articles

In the recent past, American investors’ views on China have rotated from unblemished enthusiasm to substantial caution. From the radical reforms of Deng Xiaoping in 1978 until quite recently, we absorbed a flood of good news from China, punctuated by the awful Tiananmen Square massacre of thirty years ago: the country had the world’s highest economic growth rate, hundreds of …