Stop Labelling Other People!

The US election seems to have brought out the worst in people. Democrats call Republican supporters fascists and racists; Republicans call Democrat supporters communists and anti-American. But this isn’t just happening during election time, nor just in the US, but it seems to be happening all the time and everywhere – people are quick to negatively label others they don’t like and dismiss them completely. I scanned Wikipedia and the broader internet (not recommended!) for common negative stereotypes of different social groupings, here’s what I found:

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Can you answer these questions on the 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 a few years ago, 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. We then formulate big world views based on false assumptions. 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 “Can you answer these questions on the state of the world?”

Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!

Private Eye

In the current climate of taking political debate over social media so seriously, it’s worth deflating our pompousness by hearing politicians over the ages mocking their profession*:

The Nature of politics

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it wrongly and applying unsuitable remedies. (Ernest Benn)

‘Politics’ is made up of two words: ‘poli’, which is Greek for ‘many’, and ‘tics’, which are bloodsucking insects. (Gore Vidal) Continue reading “Don’t Take Politicians So Seriously!”

Whose Lives Matter?

Pink people. Yellow people. Red people. Black people. Brown people. White people. In theory, we believe everyone’s lives matter equally. In practice, we know that’s not true. I like to think in terms of the philosopher John Rawls veil of ignorance. How would you want society to be structured if you didn’t know who you would end being in that society? So, if suddenly your skin turned black, would you be confident that you would get a fair shot in life. Or if the police stopped you – what skin colour would you prefer – white or black?

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The World Before and After COVID

I’ve been thinking a lot about how COVID will change the world. I put the following together in my research job at Macro Hive.  BC is “before COVID” and AC is “after COVID” :

Bilal

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How We Are Being Fooled By Words (2 min read)

Words have been a primal force of humanity for thousands of years. Take the famous line from the bible  “In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God”  (Gospel of John, 1:1).This clearly emphasises the immense power of words.

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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!

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13 Rules For Have-Nots To Gain Power

Obama used his ideas on his path to the US Presidency, Hilary Clinton wrote her thesis on his work, and grass-roots movements, from both the left and now the right, treat his work as the template for action. Yet many people have never heard of the American Saul Alinsky. He is thought be the founder of modern community organising and wrote one of the most influential books on setting up grass-roots movements: the 1971 book “Rules For Radicals”. The basic philosophy was to give power to the have-nots. In his introduction he wrote:

“WHAT FOLLOWS IS for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away”

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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.”

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)”