No Place Like Utopia

Yurt

Doomer, prepper, primitivist, romantic, survivalist, millennialist, catastrophist* : these are all types of people that believe one way or another that civilisation as we know it is coming to an end. Many take the next step and join or set up communities that would survive such an outcome. Dylan Evans was one such person. In 2006, he quit his job as an academic and sold his house to fund the “Utopia Experiment” – a post-apocalyptic styled community in the Highlands of Scotland. Continue reading “No Place Like Utopia”

The Best Macro Podcasts Of 2019

Many people ask me which podcasts I listen to, especially after the launch of my own podcast: Deep See With Bilal. There are so many, that I couldn’t fit them into one blog, so I thought I’d start with best macro podcasts. When I say macro, I mean not only economics and finance but also tech and politics. I’m not ranking the podcasts, but they are the best ones I’m come across. I also include a sample episode to give a taste of the podcast. I’m sure I must have missed some, so feel free to send me your recommendations!

Continue reading “The Best Macro Podcasts Of 2019”

My FT Op-Ed: Beware pools of liquidity: they could be a mirage

I recently wrote an op-ed for the FT on a topic that I feel is neglected by many. The FT link is here and here’s the piece:

E-trading, shrunken market-makers and retreating central banks is a triple threat

A cynic would say that investors know the price of everything and the value of nothing. But the reality could be much worse because they may not even know the price. For decades, investors, policymakers and academics have taken financial market prices as the critical gauge for the overall expectations on the economy and company performance.

Continue reading “My FT Op-Ed: Beware pools of liquidity: they could be a mirage”

3 Big Structural Forces To Watch: Tech Cold War, Diesel Car Collapse, Liquidity Illusion.

I recently gave a speech on 3 key themes many investors are neglecting . Here’s the summary:

1)      US-China tech cold war. The essence is that the US establishment led by the US Department Of Defense (DoD) has deemed China’s tech development as a national security issue. The view has been publically articulated by US Vice President Mike Pence in his  Hudson Institute speech last October, where he talked about “using stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale”. Meanwhile, the DoD’s venture capital unit, the DIUx, has described in a white paper that a key dimension of China’s technology transfer strategy is to invest in US start-ups, which had to be curtailed. On top of all of this, Congress has taken an increasingly hawkish stance to China.

Continue reading “3 Big Structural Forces To Watch: Tech Cold War, Diesel Car Collapse, Liquidity Illusion.”

What I Learnt From An Unexpected US Mid-West Adventure (3 min read)

Mongolia. Bolivia. Pine Ridge (South Dakota, US). What do these 3 places have in common? Well, the average income per person is around $3,500 per year. Yes, you read that correct – there are places in the US with the same income levels as a Third World country. I learnt that during a recent holiday in the US, where I first visited Las Vegas to see some family that live there. While Las Vegas has its own unique sense of aesthetics that seem to pop up in deserts, I did feel the need to have a time-out from Vegas. So I worked out which part of the US is the poorest, and decided to visit it. It turns out to be the aforementioned Pine Ridge in South Dakota. Continue reading “What I Learnt From An Unexpected US Mid-West Adventure (3 min read)”

The Subversive Origin Of the Monopoly Board Game (3 min read)

We’ve all played Monopoly. You go around the board, try to accumulate sets of properties (ideally the green and dark blue ones), build hotels and then drive everyone else into bankruptcy. It can often drag on and on, but it’s worth the wait if it means you defeat your siblings. But did you know that this celebration of monopolistic capitalism was actually based on a game that was meant to show the evils of monopolies?! Continue reading “The Subversive Origin Of the Monopoly Board Game (3 min read)”

The Oldest Book Ever Written On Trading Stocks (It’s 330 years old!)

In the 1600s, the world’s first stock exchange was established in Amsterdam. In 1688, a trader by the name of Josef de la Vega wrote “Confusion Of Confusions” – the world’s oldest surviving account of trading stocks. The book is an amazing record of the business. Yet despite being written over 300 years ago, it sounds eerily familiar to our markets today. Continue reading “The Oldest Book Ever Written On Trading Stocks (It’s 330 years old!)”

How Well Do You Know the Good Or Bad State Of the World?

The late Hans Rosling found fame through his TED talks on visualising facts about the world. His last book,“Factfulness”, was published this year, and is a great read.

The thrust of the book is that we lazily make assumptions about the world, which are not based on facts, and then go on to formulate big world views. To make his point, he starts his book with 13 questions on the state of the world. I was surprised by many of the answers. Here are the questions (and the answers). See if you get them right!

13 Questions About the World

1. In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school? Continue reading “How Well Do You Know the Good Or Bad State Of the World?”

Best Of the Web: Talking To Children, Belly Fat, Uber For Snitching and more…

I come across so many great articles on the web, so I thought I’d try to regularly share the best ones. Let me know if you like the selection or if you like more (or less) of certain types.

Personality and Self-Help (6)

How Emotional Intelligence Boosts Your Endurance
A new paper has found that those who were better at recognizing and regulating their emotions ran faster races. Runners who agreed with statements like “Expressing my emotions with words is not a problem for me” or “I often pause and think about my feelings.” turned out to be Continue reading “Best Of the Web: Talking To Children, Belly Fat, Uber For Snitching and more…”

21 Must-Read Articles From Around the Web From Blockchain Bubbles to Chinese Values

I’m constantly scouring the web for good material to read and here’s my latest curated list:

Big Brother

Life Inside China’s Social Credit Laboratory Yikes. China has started to quantify people’s trustworthiness based on their “behaviour”. They then get a social credit score which determines their movements and services they can access. Continue reading “21 Must-Read Articles From Around the Web From Blockchain Bubbles to Chinese Values”