Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 06-05-16

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakari said:

Remains skeptical of an American military solution to Syria.

The US is no longer the world’s humanitarian leader and has become an international embarrassment.

The UN says 4 in 10 people do not have access to adequate sanitation and that every dollar spent on sanitation produces a return of $9. Water Aid says over 770 million Indians and 329 million Chinese do not have access to a toilet at home.

Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations said the US has more often than not benefited from interventions in the world: mistakes have been self-inflicted, viz Vietnam, Iraq.

Ruchir Sharma at Morgan Stanley Investment Banking said:

Since 2009, the number of billionaires has risen 80%, equally distributed. The US has had one of the biggest increases in billionaire wealth to 15% of GDP versus the historical norm of 10% due to easy money producing one of the strongest stock market gains in history. The rich own stocks in a disproportionate manner.

The public mood against wealth turns negative when that wealth is being created in corruption-prone industries in countries like Russia and Mexico.

More than 50% of billionaires in India inherited their wealth. The US ranks OK on this metric which is why Trump is able to run for office.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1606/05/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 05-29-16

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakari said:

The US has re-enforced its position as the world’s leading economic, technological, military and political power, and energy superpower.

The US dominates virtually all leading industries including social networks, mobile telecom, nano and bio technology.

The US is at the cutting edge of green technology.

The US is demographically vibrant, while all its major economic peers, including Japan, Europe and China, face certain population decline.

The US dominates the military and political world. The US has 10 aircraft carriers versus China’s one secondhand Ukrainian ship. The US counts numerous allies while China has only North Korea.

The US will not have a real rival for a very long time. However, China’s share of global GDP in 1990 was 1.7% versus 15% today, and developing countries accounted for 20% of world GDP in 1990 versus 40% today.

China’s global influence is large and growing – able to create the Asian infrastructure investment bank over US objections. Regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Turkey are rising.

Joshua Cooper Ramo says the US dominates all 9 global tech platforms, including Google Chrome, Facebook, and Microsoft Office.

Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth say that China is the US’s only rising rival, but only when it comes to GDP: half its exports are imported for assembly and re-exported.

Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal said Donald Trump is the biggest loser in presidential history, manifestly unqualified to be president in any way.

Pro Publica says apartheid schools (schools with 1% or fewer white students) more than doubled since 1988 to 6,727 schools in 2011. GAO reports K-12 public schools with extremely high percentages of poor, black or Hispanic kids comprised 16% in 2013-2014 versus 9% in 2000-2001.

Paul Tractenberg at Rutgers says that between 2000 and 2013, the number of Americans living in high poverty neighborhoods rose from 7.2 million to 13.8 million.

Rucker Johnson at Berkeley said:

More than 1 in 4 poor blacks live in extreme poverty neighborhoods versus 1 in 13 for poor whites.

Blacks that attended desegregated elementary schools were more likely to graduate and 22% less likely to be incarcerated as adults. Blacks who spent 5 years in desegregated schools saw their health improved to the equivalence of being 7 years younger, and earned 30% more than those not attending desegregated schools.

The narrowing of the achievement gap and increased success of black students had no negative effect on whites on any metric.

Reid Hoffman at LinkedIn said:

The cost of sequencing the genome is falling faster than Moore’s Law.

The US has a unique advantage not in start-up culture but in blitz scaling. The majority of the super interesting tech companies are on the west coast, primarily Silicon Valley, an area 25 square miles with 8.5 million people.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1605/29/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 01-24-16

Fareed Zakaria said:

Lower oil prices are generally good for all countries except the major oil producers, but the size and speed of this drop could produce a credit crisis and deflationary spiral.

In periods like the present, open systems do better than closed ones. America’s transparency forces it to tackle its problems.

Sweden: Euro Monitor says that in 2015, 11% of the value of consumer transactions were made with cash versus 42% worldwide. The KTH Royal Institute of Technology says currency in circulation dropped by 25% in the last 6 years. Credit Suisse said between 2010 and 2012 over 500 Swedish bank branches went cashless and 900 cash machines were removed. The Swedish Bankers Assn says bank robberies in Sweden dropped from 110 in 2008 to 7 in 2015. The New York Times says e-fraud in Sweden more than doubled in 2015 versus 10 years ago.

The IAEA says that Iran has destroyed 98% of its enriched uranium and rendered inoperable its plutonium pathway – far more substantial than most military experts believed would have resulted from military strikes.

The World Economic Forum says that by 2050, the world’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight and says the greatest global risk is the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ , listen at http://podcast.cnn.com/fareed-zakaria-gps/episode/all/TkwD3eujmTzNlz/fzgps-2016-01-17.html or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1601/17/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 01-17-16

Fareed Zakaria said:

Cass Sunstein wrote in Bloomberg that a study of Facebook analyzing posts between 2010 and 2014 found that people mainly share information that confirms their prejudices, while paying little attention to facts and voracity. The result was the proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumors, mistrust and paranoia.

Elizabeth Colbert in the New Yorker cited a 1970 experiment that found that simply by talking to one another, bigoted students became more bigoted and tolerant students became more tolerant.

The hard liners in Iran have always been very powerful.

Iranian sanctions relief will be less dramatic than people realize because Iran needs oil at $145 a barrel to balance its budget.

Joe Cirincione at the Ploughshares Fund said:

Iran does not have the capability to build a nuclear bomb and it would take them at least a year to make the material even for one bomb and are years away from the capability of building a nuclear weapon.

If they had a secret facility, they would need a secret mine to get the uranium, a secret group of scientists, and a secret facility for building the centrifuges. It would be extraordinary if Iran could secretly break out of the nuclear deal without our knowledge.

Brett Stephens at the Wall Street Journal said:

The enthusiasm about the Iran nuclear deal is reminiscent of that for the Yongbyon deal in 1994 when the same promises were made about North Korea’s nuclear program. Historically we have been surprised by nuclear development developments: like India’s surprise bomb test in 1998 which started a nuclear arms race in South Asia, and North Korea in the 2000s. The pathways to proliferation are multiplying and what we don’t know is vast.

The biggest Iranian hostage of all is the nuclear deal itself, as exhibited by US removal of the sanctions for Iran test firing two ballistic missiles.

The US must make sure that its allies understand that we will remain committed allies despite obvious defects in their social and political systems.

Wendy Sherman at Harvard said the US will proceed with sanctions for Iran’s missile violations: it takes time to gather the evidence.

Karim Sadjadpour at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said:

The nuclear deal was not signed by the Iranians because of geopolitics but because of economics.

Iranians overwhelmingly want change and we should not underestimate their will for change, but we should not underestimate the will of their hardliners to crush change.

Iranian expectations that their quality of life will significantly improve post-sanctions may be disappointed.

Iran is the largest population isolated from the global economy, so attracts huge interest from Asian and Western businessmen.

The last remaining Iranian-American hostage in Iran is an energy consultant, which sends the message to Western businesses that Iran is not yet ready for change.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ , listen at http://podcast.cnn.com/fareed-zakaria-gps/episode/all/TkwD3eujmTzNlz/fzgps-2016-01-17.html or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1601/17/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 01-10-16

Fareed Zakaria said:

The most significant trend in the Middle East is Sunnis versus Shiites, which will continue to limit the ability of any outside power to stabilize the region.

Saudi Arabia faces challenges from ISIS to domestic extremists. Plunging oil prices have collapsed government revenues so its generous subsidies to its people will be hard to sustain.

10% to 15% of Saudis are Shiite and live atop the kingdom’s oil fields.

The single greatest threat to America from the Middle East remains radical Sunni jihadists, many of whom draw support from Saudi Arabia.

Americans should root for China to succeed, else feel the pain at home.

The State of the Global Islamic Economy expects Muslims to spend $327 billion on clothing by 2020, versus $230 billion in 2014, ranked third after the US and China. Muslims spent $54 billion on cosmetics in 2014 and that will grow to $80 billion by 2020.

The Violence Policy Center says Alaska had the highest rate of deaths caused by guns in 2014, followed by Louisiana and Mississippi. Gunpolicy.org says Alaska had a higher rate of gun deaths than Mexico. Hawaii and Rhode Island had the lowest gun death rates.

Martin Indyk at Brookings said:

The US went along with the headstrong young leadership in Saudi Arabia into getting stuck in a war in Yemen. 50% of the Gulf states military capability is embroiled in war that is causing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, to the advantage of Iran.

Pulling out of Afghanistan all together is not a good idea because we at least have a leadership there that we can work with.

The US leverage lies in making clear to the Chinese that if they don’t pressure North Kora then we will have no choice but to boost our presence in their region to protect our allies, South Korea and Japan.

Vali Nasr at Johns Hopkins said:

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the tipping point.

The whole geostrategy of the region changed once the US started talking to Iran and decided that it is not as committed to containing Iran as Saudi Arabia expected.

The problem is not containing Iran but the too many Shiites in the region who have to accept to live under a Sunni political order that existed before 2003 Iraq invasion. A Sunni order in which Iran will have absolutely no influence and the Shiites will have absolutely no ability to rely on Iran.

Afghanistan is going sideways and downwards.

Nawaf Obaid at Harvard said:

Saudi Arabia is taking on a much more assertive and aggressive foreign policy to defend themselves from Iran and loss of US presence and leadership in the region. The Saudis will increasingly battle Iranian presence and influence in the Arab world in the next several years.

You cannot have an agreement with a country, Iran, which supports a Syrian dictator who has killed 400,000 people, funds a Shia militia in Iraq guilty of the most atrocious things, and not expect the new deputy crowned prince of Saudi Arabia for irrational decisions. He did not have the luxury to stand still and await guidance from the US which was not coming in the first place.

Robin Wright at The New Yorker, US Institute of Peace and Woodrow Wilson Center said:

The Sunni-Shia schism is turning into one of the biggest divides in Islam in 14 centuries and playing out politically, ideology, strategically, ethnically, and virtually every range.

The crisis has begun to derail Iran’s desire to end its pariah status and restore its stature.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are in transition, which limits the influence of the outside world.

Without Chinese help, the prospect of any moderation in North Korea is unlikely. Their leader is 33 years old and very insecure.

Ruchir Sharma at Morgan Stanley said:

A global recession is due. Since the early 1970s, global downturns have struck every 7.5 years on average.

Every country will be affected by China’s policies in 2016. China is now the world’s biggest driver of economic growth. China’s debt levels have risen to 300% of GDP: no developing country in history has ever taken on debt faster than China in recent years. Furiously rising debt levels are the single most reliable predictor of financial crisis.

China’s leadership is so worried about angering its people with slowing growth and rising unemployment that it has been unwilling to stop goosing its economy.

Niall Ferguson at Harvard said the younger Henry Kissinger was not Machiavellian at all, but inept in his attempts for self-advancement and politically slightly naive.

Gary Kasparov said:

Russia is at a very dangerous stage because of Putin and things will get worse before they get better because of collapsing oil prices and the Russian budget. There is no visible positive scenario, only choices for lesser evil.

Putin will continue his aggressive foreign policy because his white knight propaganda needs these victories. Putin is a very capable KGB officer and excellent negotiator and poker player. If not for NATO membership, Putin’s tanks would be in Estonia and Latvia. Putin looks for the weak spot on the map and grabs it if he can.

The fundamental problem of the West is complacency after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ , listen at http://podcast.cnn.com/fareed-zakaria-gps/episode/all/TkwD3eujmTzNlz/fzgps-2016-01-10.html or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1601/10/fzgps.01.html

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 01-03-16

Fareed Zakaria said:

Trade accounts for 23% of the US economy vs. 71% in Germany.

The big trend in 2016 will be continued weak oil and commodity prices: the last dramatic decline of oil resulted in the collapse ofdemothe Soviet Union.

The stock market under Obama has compounded at nearly 14% a year but this cannot continue because we are overdue a recession, China is in a recession, Europe is going nowhere, and the oil-producing emerging markets have fallen off a cliff. At the end of the day the US always muddles through and looks better than everybody else.

In Rwanda, women comprise 64% of the parliament, 50% of the Supreme Court, 50% of the Cabinet.

Angus Deaton and Anne Case found that over the past 15 years, middle-aged US whites died in increasing numbers; caused primarily by suicide, alcoholism, and drug overdoses, partly because doctors and drug companies were far too eager to prescribe drugs. The case is worse for those with a high school diploma or less. Jeff Guo at the Washington Post said this cohort is largely responsible for Trump’s lead among Republican candidates.

Carolyn Rouse at Princeton said that non-white US groups might have lower income, standard of living, and social status expectations, while blacks cope with disappointment through family, art, protest speech, and religion.

WHO says 663 million people still have no access to safe, clean drinking water. UNICEF says water-borne illnesses kill nearly 1,000 children every single day.

Ian Bremmer at the Eurasia Group said:

At the end of 2016 the trajectory of US-Iranian relations will be better than US-Saudi relations.

To resolve Syria requires leadership, people who actually care, and the ability to coordinate, all of which are lacking, so we will be much farther away from a federated Syria in 2016 than we are in 2015.

Weak oil prices puts Middle East countries under much internal pressure, and they will more likely play nationalism which does bodes ill for peace in the region.

It’s either Cruz or Rubio for the Republican nomination. 2015 was the year of Trump, but 2016 will not be. Middle class anger is insufficient to get Trump the nomination: he is going after the losers, who historically in the US do not vote.  Hillary has no serious challenger for the Democrats. Who wins is a coin flip right now.

Expect many geo-political fat tails to impact the stock market, and we are due a recession. China is the big mover: the most volatile, the most uncertain, and the country with by far the most tools to kick the can down the road – and they want to.

Richard Haass at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

Weak oil prices will last through 2016 – excepting major instability involving Saudi Arabia – hurting oil producers, Africa, and Latin America, but a boon to India though not China, which has internal economic problems adjusting its economic model. Weak oil prices will be a mixed blessing for the US but a major blanket on world economic growth, feeding political uncertainty.

Saudi Arabia is the most underrated global risk because of weak oil prices. Yemen is the Saudis’ Vietnam, there are simmering rivalries inside the Saudi royal family, and the beheading of Sheikh Nimr has poisoned the already terrible relationship with Iran while exacerbating the Saudi position in Bahrain.

We are seeing elements of a “Thirty Years War” in Syria. ISIS will be rolled back a little in Iraq but not Syria, and it sees Saudi Arabia as an extremely ripe target.

On the Democratic side, Hillary will prevail but not easily.

In 2016, we have a good chance of passing the Transpacific Trade Partnership with the benefit of Speaker Ryan’s ability to get a budget deal. 2015 ended positively with the US showing the world it can function sometimes.

Anne-Marie Slaughter at New America said:

Expect a settlement of the Syrian civil war in 2016 resulting in a ‘federated Syria’ where the Kurds, Sunnis and others effectively have their own regions, but for Turkey this presents a huge problem. Russia will play nice because of both oil prices and its inability to handle rising casualties in Syria. Europe is completely focused on a settlement because of the refugee crisis, and everybody knows we have to solve Syria to be able to fight ISIS.

It will be a Clinton beating Cruz presidential election because the worse the world becomes, the more people want a President who knows the leaders and who projects competence. A Cruz-Clinton election is good for America in the world because it is between a woman and a Hispanic man.

The Transpacific Trade Partnership will happen in 2016 because it will be seen in more a security context than an economic context, thanks to ISIS and China’s maneuvers in the South China Sea.

The US dollar will rise and rise due to China’s instability, the euro, and the eurozone crisis.

Mariana Mazzucato at the University of Sussex said:

The narrative about Steve Jobs and Apple misses the fact that every technology that basically makes an iPhone smart was publicly funded, including the Internet, GPS, touch screen display, and Siri.

In industry after industry, key basic innovations were publicly funded, not indirectly like with tax incentives, but with basic research, applied research, and early stage, long-term financing. Most venture capitalists want to exit in 3 or 5 years versus the Death Valley phase for many innovative companies that can last 10 to 15 years. There is plenty of finance available, but not the right kind of finance for innovation.

The government has financed many winners, including biotechnology where the NIH has spent $900 billion since the 1930s on the basic technology. Private companies basically surfed this wave, which is today missing in the green tech industry.

Venture capitalists know that for every success there are 8 or 9 failures. Unlike public investors, private venture capital gets to reap the winners to cover the losers. Tesla received approximately the same public funding as Solyndra, yet gained massively for private capital, whereas the latter was written off by taxpayers. Israeli government investments take royalties through their public venture capital fund. In the US we see this as socialism.

Google, whose algorithm was funded by the National Science Foundation, Apple, Amazon, et al, pay little tax, despite tax rates that have fallen dramatically. NASA, founded when the top marginal rate was 93 percent, is not allowed to make money, yet SpaceX and Galaxy make use of its publicly funded infrastructure for free.

 

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 10-11-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • We cannot solve Afghanistan without recognizing Pakistani army support for the Taliban. No counter-insurgency has ever succeeded where the rebels have a safe haven, so until this is dealt with, the Taliban will never be defeated. Pakistan pretends to help the US while supporting its most deadly foes.
  • Pakistan is a time bomb. It has one of the world’s largest armies, the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, and the most opaque. 5.5 million Pakistani children do not attend school. The US faces a strategic collapse as it withdraws forces from the region unless Pakistan’s military and its mindset are reformed.
  • Any US involvement in Syria has to be aimed at dislodging Assad from power, which would produce total chaos; viz. Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
  • Italy, France et al is the world’s greatest paradise: beautiful countries, amazingly rich, incredibly nice work rules, long vacations, ability to early retire. So why reform?
  • The Economist ranked the UK 1st out of 80 countries in the 2015 quality of death index, Taiwan 6th, the US 9th. Mongolia ranked 1st out of the low-income countries.
  • The US should abandon the outdated 9:00 to 5:00 work-week.
    • Henry Ford pioneered cutting back employees’ hours to make his workers happier and more productive.
    • One study found that people working 40 hours or less each week outperform on certain tasks those who work more than 55 hours per week.
    • A Stanford study found that the number of hours somebody works is not directly proportional to his output, while at 48 working hours, productivity falls.
    • Tony Schwartz says people work better in short bursts than long ones.
    • A 2014 Gallup survey found that American full-time workers averaged 47 hours per week, while almost 20% of Americans work 60 hours per week or more.
    • The OECD found that US workers worked more hours on average in 2014 than workers in many other countries, including the UK, Germany and Japan.
    • Alternet says white-collar knowledge workers have 6, not 8, hours of productive work in them each day.

Julia Ioffe at the Wall Street Journal said:

  • Putin is a tactician, not a strategist, but his economy is cratering and his military much weaker than the US military. Putin is moving into areas that the US has traditionally dominated; Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan.
  • Russian Muslims are all Sunni whereas Putin is aligning himself with an exclusively Shiite coalition and his Syrian move will inevitably blow up on him.
  • The US should take in many more refugees.

Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal said:

  • Putin is investing in Syria the way that Trump invests in real estate – with a very small investment for a potentially large payoff. His move into Syria helps distract the Russian people from its sinking economy.
  • Putin is a frog who jumps from lily pad to lily pad when he feels them sinking under his weight – from KGB agent to Leningrad technocrat to reformist president to patron of the Oligarchs.
  • Syria is a metastasizing cancer so the US has both a humanitarian and geopolitical interest. US no fly zones over northern Iraq in 1971 saved many Kurds and effectively helped create the Kurdish Autonomous Region – the single biggest American achievement in the Muslim world in the last 25 years.
  • Syria is many countries and just because we cannot solve it does not mean we cannot help its Kurdish areas become sustainable opposition.
  • The problem in Israel is the failure of leadership by Mahmoud Abbas, by Abu Mazen, in both tamping down and stoking violence.

Ian Bremmer at the Eurasia Group said:

  • Putin is in Syria to shore up Assad and not destroy ISIS. Taking casualties would be very unpopular in Russia.
  • Europe believes Syria is more important than Ukraine and that the only way to fix Syria is through Moscow, which could then ask Europe to back off sanctions. The cease-fire in Ukraine is working because Putin has got the paramilitaries there to back off their election. Europe and the US are moving farther apart every day.
  • Russia’s economy will contract by 4% to 4.5%, but its central bank has stabilized the rubble and during Putin’s tenure, per capita income has risen much.
  • 90% of Russians get their media primarily from state controlled TV with is pretty effective.
  • The problem with Syria is not Obama’s policy but that his rhetoric bears no reflection to his policy.
  • The Trans-Pacific pact is 40% of the world economy and a real pivot to Asia, the most important part of the world for the US – it is Obama’s most important successful foreign policy legacy. That TPP’s former architect Hillary Clinton is now opposed to it is astonishing.

Peter Beinart at the Atlantic said:

  • Putin’s move in Syria will increase terrorism against Russia by positioning it opposite the entire Sunni world and so cannot end well.
  • Obama is right not to get involved in Syria, and should not have done so in Yemen.
  • The rise in terrorism in Israel is a product of the fact that the two-state vision is weakening on both sides.

George Soros said the euro crisis has converted the EU from a voluntary association of free and legal nations, devoted to principles of democracy and human rights and willing to sacrifice some sovereignty for the common good, into an unequal relationship between creditors and debtors, who have difficulty meeting their obligations.

President Bill Clinton said:

  • The immigration/refugee problem in Europe can be turned into an opportunity: e.g. Syrians are overwhelmingly literate, productive, and historically secular, not super religious, and particularly not politically violent.
  • Ireland is the only European country that is younger than America and was growing like crazy, before its banking bubble, because it had many immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, which made it even younger.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1510/11/fzgps.01.html

The zero rate trap – The Economist 09-18-15

Salient to Investors:

No Fed tightening was a sensible decision. The Fed is in a trap: low interest rates have raised global equity markets, whose collapse in August helped in preventing the Fed from raising rates.

Most British homeowners have variable rate mortgages so while interest rate cuts staved off a potential disaster in the housing market, the UK housing market did not return to more affordable price levels as it did in the US.

May Rostom at the Bank of England says:

  • The ratio of house prices to first-time buyer incomes in London is 9.4 versus 2.6 in 1996 and 7.2 at the last peak in London.
  • The 1971-1980 and 1981-1990 birth cohorts face sharply rising debts to get on the housing ladder but their incomes have not risen near as fast.
  • Since 1995, the debt of older generations has barely budged, while that of those aged 25-45 has shot up in real terms. A world where younger households reach 65 and still have debt is possible.
  • The widening wealth inequality across income or socioeconomic categories is also across generations as the low-rate regime has boosted asset prices for the older generations that own the assets.

The Bank of England is in a trap: if it raises interest rates and forces down house prices, young people not yet on the housing ladder would benefit, but for those with high debts, it would be a disaster. Building more houses is not enough: even Savill’s forecast of a 55% rise in homebuilding over a 5-year period would produce only 167,000 units in 2018, versus the 240,000 needed.

Read the full article at http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/09/asset-markets-and-monetary-policy

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Fareed Zakaria GPS – CNN 08-30-15

Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • The US economy has recovered nicely.
  • A 2014 UCLA study found that many black and Latino students face almost total isolation from white and Asian students and middle-class peers.
  • Much more Saudi oil wealth has gone into pernicious causes over the last 30 years than Iranian oil wealth.
  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam says half of the Muslim population in Britain lives in the bottom 10% of its neighborhoods by income.
  • The UN estimates the average woman needs to have 2.1 children to maintain the population of a developed country. Every EU country is below that level, though France has one of the best rates in Europe. Demographers say that it is difficult to get people to have children using just financial incentives.
  • Pew predicts that by 2050, populations in Greece, Portugal and Germany will have dropped by double-digit percentages. The UN predicts over-65s in Europe will increase to more than 25% of the population by 2050, Japan’s will increase to more than 33%.
  • The US will be demographically vibrant and growing for decades. Pew predicts that America’s population will grow by 27% from 2010 to 2050 due to immigration and a relatively younger population. The CDC says the US fertility rate hit a record low in 2013.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says half of the earth’s wildlife has been lost in the past 40 years.

Elliott Abrams at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

  • Obama is turning away from America’s responsibilities around the world. Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, feel less safe facing Russia; Australia, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan feel less safe facing China; Israel, the Gulf Arabs feel less safe facing Iran.
  • The US is asking for nothing and getting nothing on human rights in the Iran and Cuba deals.

Peter Beinart at Haaretz, New America and CNN said:

  • The polls show Obama is much more popular around the world than George W. Bush, while America is more popular than it was.
  • The Iran nuclear deal is a major accomplishment akin to Nixon and China.

Meghan O’Sullivan at Harvard said:

  • Strategic restraint might make sense in a world where the US does not have much at stake, or US allies are active in promoting US interests, or where world order is self-perpetuating; but we don’t live in that world. International order is not in good shape and the Middle East is significantly worse off than 7 years ago.
  • The Iran nuclear deal has very real flaws; including the fact that Iranians get all their benefits up front in exchange for a promise to stick to the deal for a decade or longer.

Gideon Rose at Foreign Affairs said:

  • The international order is not fraying. The US is the world’s strongest power by leap years, with a defense budget equal to the next 7 nations combined. The US and its allies account for 75% of global defense spending. Core allegiances and alliances in the major industrial and economic centers are intact and thriving.
  • Much of the Middle East is no longer a core American strategic interest and US direct involvement there is not necessarily improving things.
  • The Iran nuclear deal is not great but is dramatically better than all the realistic alternatives.

General Stanley McChrystal said:

  • In combat, soldiers are much more frightened of the enemy than their sergeant.
  • You want personnel confident enough in their relationships and in what they do to be able to operate effectively.
  • Personnel must have confidence in the competence of their leaders, and more importantly their values.
  • The confidence of personnel is undermined when they see a difference between what senior management says it will do and what it actually does, or if they believe senior leadership is uninformed.
  • Key to being a leader is personal discipline and empathy.

Watch the video at http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/category/gps-episodes/ or read the full transcript at http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1508/30/fzgps.01.html

Here Are the Ominous Signs a Crushing Stock Market Correction Looms – TheStreet.com 08-15-15

Salient to Investors:

James Hickman writes:

  • Uninterrupted streaks in which the S&P 500 closes within 10% of its all ­time peak historically precede sudden declines: viz the tech bubble of the 1990s and the credit/housing bubble of the 2000s. The median decline from the peak is ­43% and typically takes 13 months, while the median annual market total returns over the following 10 years from the peaks is only 2.5%.
  • The high cyclically adjusted P/E ratio predicts below ­average stock market returns for the next decade ­­.
  • The low levels of the CBOE Volatility Index and CBOE SKEW Indices signal investor complacency.
  • 11 countries – 67% of the global economy – have had decelerating GDP growth for several years.
  • Sovereign debt levels above 90% have often led to reduced federal spending and increased taxation, and significantly slower economic growth.
  • Population growth is flat in the developed countries that comprise most of the global economic base, while productivity growth has been decelerating. Nearly all future population growth will be in the LDCs.
  • US corporate growth has come primarily from cost-­cutting, with profit margins nearly 70% above the long­-term average, meaning growth cannot continue without top­line growth.
  • Since 1964, the premium of the 10-yr US Treasury yield over its long-­term average has accurately predicted stock market declines 71% of the time: the premium is currently 2.5% versus the average yield of more than 5%.
  • Long-term interest rates are unlikely to rise meaningfully before 2017, so this is not yet bearish: since 1960, the direction of interest rates has predicted market stability 83% of the time.

Read the full article at http://www.thestreet.com/story/13257758/1/here-are-the-ominous-signs-a-crushing-stock-market-correction-looms.html

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