Does Work Have Any Morality? (2 min)

Jane_Jacobs

(An excerpt from upcoming book)

Jane Jacobs (1916-1996) was an expert on urban planning and the economics of cities. She was an activist who helped protect Greenwich Village in New York from being overhauled by an expressway running through Little Italy and SoHo and was arrested in the process. Through her work, she became an expert on the intersection between regulation and business and developed a framework to think about the moral dimensions of each. These were outlined in her excellent book “Systems of Survival”

She argued that there were some universal values such as cooperation, courage, patience and competence. But after these, two types of “moral syndromes” Continue reading “Does Work Have Any Morality? (2 min)”

What Causes Great Civilisations To Fail?

Arnold_J._Toynbee_Anefo

The excellent British historian, Arnold Toybee (1889-1975),  studied the rise and fall of great empires in his 12-volume “A Study Of History“. He couldn’t find many common drivers for them. That’s why no-one could easily have predicted that the British would have the largest land empire of all time,the Mongols the second largest, and the Umayyads the fifth largest. But he did find Continue reading “What Causes Great Civilisations To Fail?”

Everybody Hates Bankers

t-the-big-short-brad-pitt-steve-carrell-ryan-gosling-christian-bale-book-michael-lewis

Some people binge watch TV shows, I binge read books. Now that I’ve finished the first draft of my book on how bankers can become better citizens of the world, I read three books on bankers in three days. I also watched “The Big Short”.

The common thread to all these is that bankers are evil! Continue reading “Everybody Hates Bankers”

Watch Out For Hormonal Men On the Trading Floor! (1 min read)

Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_Viatour

When it comes to hormonal behaviour, unfortunately we often think of women. Indeed, in macho environments such as trading floors, this thinking is probably more prevalent. But in a nice irony, it’s been found that in such environments, men experience major fluctuations in two naturally-occurring hormones: cortisol (stress) and testosterone.

A fascinating study published in 2015 by a team of researchers further studied these effects in a simulated trading environment. Continue reading “Watch Out For Hormonal Men On the Trading Floor! (1 min read)”

How the Media Changes Our Minds

"Extreme Rendition" -- Jonas (Dennis Haysbert) and his team are sent to Bulgaria on a complicated mission to arrange for the dangerous prison escape of a rogue former Unit operator who can help them track down an arms dealer on THE UNIT, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Robert Voets/CBS ©2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Dennis Haysbert. Source:CBS

(another excerpt from my upcoming book)

This marketing of products is perhaps one of the biggest reasons many feel uneasy about the modern economy and by extension finance. Are we being induced into buying something we do not want or need? Continue reading “How the Media Changes Our Minds”

Can China Innovate? (2min read)

Mo Yan

(An excerpt from my book)

The US is the oft-cited innovator. But  upon closer inspection, it seems it is only the technology sector, and more specifically Silicon Valley, where the US is the undisputed innovator. So could China create the equivalent of Silicon Valley? To answer this, we need to understand the roots of Silicon Valley. Continue reading “Can China Innovate? (2min read)”

Who’s To Blame For the 2008 Crisis? (2min read)

Commision report

Another excerpt from my book:

The official verdict on the 2008 crisis in the US-government commissioned 663-page “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report” was :

“ While the vulnerabilities that created the potential for crisis were years in the making, it was the collapse of the housing bubble—fueled by low interest rates, easy and available credit, scant regulation, and toxic mortgages— that was the spark that ignited a string of events, which led to a full-blown crisis in the fall of 2008.”

And it’s nine main conclusions were: Continue reading “Who’s To Blame For the 2008 Crisis? (2min read)”

8 Principles Of Spending Your Way To Happiness In 2016

Shopping Mall

Most of us think more about how to earn money than how to spend it. Implicit within this is the assumption that “the more money I earn, the happier I’ll be”. But there has been extensive research that shows that the way you spend money can make as much, if not more, difference to your happiness than how much you earn. An excellent academic paper from a few years ago summarises the findings as follows: Continue reading “8 Principles Of Spending Your Way To Happiness In 2016”

You Are Richer Than You Think (2 min read)

Occupy_Wall_Street_Together

Another excerpt from my book:

Even savvy people who see through the above forms of advertising may succumb to more subtle versions. The most prevalent one is the nexus of news, media and advertising. Headlines are taken up by fear-inducing stories of murders, wars in far-off lands and the “despicable” lives of politically-weak sections of society.

As a relief to these stories, a colourful and exciting palate of celebrity, sports and product stories are offered up. Continue reading “You Are Richer Than You Think (2 min read)”