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”
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?”
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”.
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.
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”
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)”
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.”
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”
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.