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Reserve Notice

People complain, they always do. Back in the now long-ago heyday of the post-Second World War recovery a leading French technocrat (and later President) Valery Giscard D’Estaing commented – or rather, complained – about the US dollar and its reserve currency status. He derided the Greenback’s “exorbitant privilege”, something the US dollar apparently enjoyed even […]



The other day I was speaking with a financial services friend of mine, someone I’ve known for a long time – a very kind, warm person, albeit highly analytical. My friend, who’s in private equity, is fascinated by a metamorphosis he thinks he is seeing underway – the transition of the Jeff Bezos substantially-owned Amazon, […]


Frequency OECD

Geopolitics has become fraught – which may be a rank truism, since the argument may be that geopolitics always is. Countries choose to deal or not with each other, perhaps transact, and often entreat with each other. Underlying every assumed posture or action is an underlying tension, since a country incurs that tension from accommodating […]


Build It, and Maybe They’ll Come

Like everywhere and like everybody, Saudi Arabia is hurting a bit these days. An onslaught from US energy independence, oil market contretemps, and the global Covid-19 blow have meant a sharp decline in projected economic growth for the Kingdom. See chart below. For the Saudi regime and for Saudi society, there is much to do […]

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Micawber’s Place

The Dickens character, Mr. Micawber, shared a lament and prognosis for anyone caught irretrievably in a tight spot, when chagrined he uttered, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and six pence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought six, result misery.” The bare arithmetic can be painful, […]



Some years ago, the research department at Goldman Sachs chose to distinguish four large emerging market economies, whom the GS team designated as “The BRICs”, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China. The acronym was part analytical insight, part marketing ploy. During the recent historical heyday of emerging market investing, the moniker caught on. The meme, […]

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The Revolution Will Be Digitized…

The Soviet Union’s Chief of the General Staff, Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, had conceived of it first, or at least of the kernel of an idea. Viewing the world, he had identified the onset of a “Military Technological Revolution”. That is, he had the insight to point out the link between growing information technology and conventional […]


Ready, Brace

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, the reporter Greg Ip notes the anomalous fiscal situation the US finds itself in, after Congress had recently approved the fourth Covid aid package at USD 484 bln. For the current fiscal year, Ip writes, the estimated federal deficit will post at USD 3.8 trln, a level approximating […]

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World Order, okay?

Obama advisor Rahm Emmanuel is thought to have said that a crisis shouldn’t go to waste. The Covid disruption, as a crisis as such, provides an opportunity not to waste, a fresh window perhaps on the world – on how nations behave vis-a-vis one another and in tandem with each other. It’s interesting to think […]