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20_27 | 4. Juli 2020

Jim Simons: Life Lessons from the ‘World’s Smartest Billionaire‘

Jene, denen „Jim Simons“ kein Begriff ist, können das überspringen. Für alle Anderen: eine seltene Gelegenheit, enjoy.  (youtube_numberphile)

The Most Over- and Undersold Benefits of ETFs

As an investment wrapper, exchange-traded funds have several beneficial characteristics. But I would argue that some have been oversold–made out to be more significant than they are. Others have been undersold–not given their due. In both cases, I think there is some mischaracterization of the benefits, missing context, or some combination of the two. Here, I will stand them up and knock them down, one by one. (MoStar)

There Are Now 4 Trillion-Dollar Stocks. Why There Might Not Be a Fifth Anytime Soon.

The group is likely to remain exclusive for a while. There’s no obvious fifth candidate. Among U.S. companies, Facebook (ticker: FB) is next in line, but the social giant has a long way to go to reach trillion-dollar status. Its market value is $665 billion. The social network is currently under fire for how it polices content, but it has a mammoth global user base—3 billion people use Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp on a monthly basis—that no other company can match. (barrons)

Jack Bogle Was Wrong About ETFs

Bogle disliked ETFs’ birthplace. The underlying investment seemed to be fine, being indistinguishable from index mutual funds, but the motivation was terrible. Attempting to capture business from futures exchanges by creating a product that would increase a stock exchange’s trading volume? That couldn’t possibly be good for investors. Effectively, ETFs would transfer wealth from shareholders to the stock exchanges, as each dollar that investors wasted when making trades would flow to the exchanges’ top line. (MoStar)

Bloomberg – a Thread

Michael Bloomberg started his company in 1981. He was already 39 years old. He faced large incumbents with tens of thousands of installed terminals and by global news agencies.

Let’s take a look at how he cracked the code to become the dominant player in financial information. (threadreader)

A New Land Contract

Mostly when we talk about the spiraling cost of housing, we refer to it as the ‘housing crisis’. But the truth is that our housing crisis is actually a land crisis; of which the housing crisis is just one of the many symptoms. (AlastairParvin)

Only loosely related to capital markets, but one of my few Aha! moments. Highly recommended!

How Vanguard, Fidelity, and Others Embrace ESG Investing

Do you need to own ESG funds? The answer is still no, but even if you prioritize performance first, you may find that an ESG fund suits your needs or that it reduces risk in a way that will benefit your portfolio. As these strategies grow, you’ll likely encounter more of them in your research, so it’s wise to understand how they work. (MoStar)

Visualizing the Size of Amazon, the World’s Most Valuable Retailer

As brick-and-mortar chains teeter in the face of the pandemic, Amazon continues to gain ground.

The retail juggernaut is valued at no less than $1.4 trillion—roughly four times what it was in late 2016 when its market cap hovered around $350 billion. Last year, the Jeff Bezos-led company shipped 2 billion packages around the world. (VisualCapitalist)

für den nächsten Smalltalk

I’m done with Facebook. For good. (But it’s not what you think.)

I feel a twinge of sadness every time something beautiful/terrible/remotely interesting happens in this world and all anyone can think to do is record it. Perhaps it’s age or nostalgia, but I miss physical photos and physical art. I know far too much about random people I never really knew and far too little about people I should know better. Our collective level of self-absorption has surpassed anything I could have imagined. (DougHirsch)

Privacy Isn’t a Right You Can Click Away

We don’t expect citizens to be aeronautical engineers, making sure they understand all the risks of flying, and then sign a form giving away their right to sue if the plane goes down. In the same way, we can’t expect everyone to be a privacy expert just so they can protect their families from corporations that want to exploit their data. (wired)

Do Americans Understand How Badly They’re Doing?

America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries. (TheAtlantic)

How a Great Power Falls Apart

But he then made a leap by asking a simple question: Where is the breaking point? How long can a political system seek to remake itself before triggering one of two reactions—a devastating backlash from those most threatened by change or a realization by the change makers that their goals can no longer be realized within the institutions and ideologies of the present order? Here, Amalrik warned, great powers’ proclivity for self-delusion and self-isolation puts them at a particular disadvantage. (ForeignAffairs)

Not so random acts: Science finds that being kind pays off

Research shows that acts of kindness make us feel better and healthier. Kindness is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say. We are hard-wired to be kind.

Kindness “is as bred in our bones as our anger or our lust or our grief or as our desire for revenge,” said University of California San Diego psychologist Michael McCullough, author of the forthcoming book “Kindness of Strangers.” It’s also, he said, “the main feature we take for granted.” (AP)

Why good teachers allow a child’s mind to wander and wonder

The result, as the professor of education policy Dave Trotman has noted in the British context, ‘is that those aspects of the curriculum that are least amenable to routine testing, by default, come to occupy the least privileged positions in the curriculum’. Thus, an educational climate is created that is inhospitable to instigating a sense of wonder in students. (psyche)

Vienna, city of paradox

In this narrative, Vienna’s musical revolution was especially radical: Schoenberg’s Pierrot was later characterised by Igor Stravinsky as ‘the solar-plexus of modern music’ – the culmination of a shift away from tonality and hundreds of years of classical music, in favour of a new music for a new century. But how did this happen? How did Europe’s ‘city of music’ – the home of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms – become the birthplace of an explosive musical modernism that threatened to destroy the very tradition to which it belonged? (aeon)

A nurse on the Covid-19 front line reconnects with New York City firefighter who rescued her from a burning building 37 years ago

Today, Taylor, 40, is an emergency room nurse who lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and two kids. Ever since the incident, she wondered what became of the firefighter who saved her, coming up empty when she searched for him online. Ready to spend two months helping in the fight against Covid-19 at NYU Langone Hospital in Brooklyn, Taylor saw this as an opportunity to finally find him. (CNN)

Third Base

Conflating luck and talent is dangerous. As I get older, I’m struck by how big a part luck played in my life, and how much I mistook it for skill, well into my forties. The Pareto principle shows that even if competence is evenly distributed, 80% of effects stem from 20% of the causes (profgalloway)

20_26 | 28. Juni 2020

And the biggest bluff of all? That skill can ever be enough. That’s the hope that allows us to move forward in those moments when luck is most stacked against us, the useful delusion that lets us push on rather than give up. “It would be a very fine thing for the world if everyone were entitled, in some slight degree, to be lucky,” White says. We can’t ever know if we’ll manage to uphold that delusion or not. But we must convince ourselves that we can. That, in the end, our skill will be enough to carry the day. Because it has to be. (NYT)

A 100-Year Bond at Less Than 1%? It’s No Big Deal

Nothing says it’s cheap to borrow quite like a 100-year bond with a yield of 0.88%. Austria returned to the century-bond club on Wednesday with a new 2 billion-euro ($2.3 billion) debt issue on its most favorable terms yet. (BBRG)

A new trend is shaking up the ETF industry: active management

“You can typically charge [many] times more for an active fund than [an index] tracker,” he says, adding that a similar thirst for profit is driving fund managers’ sudden embrace of ethical and environmental investing. While ethical investing has been around for decades, many fund managers have “shown very little interest in it” until fairly recently, Mr Powell says. Ethical funds, much like active funds, usually come with higher fees. (FT)

Green investing is red hot but its impact is underwhelming

Publicly traded firms are directly responsible for only a modest share of greenhouse-gas emissions (TheEconomist)

How to Lose a Billion Dollars
Without Really Trying

 With $600 million in chips and the magic of leverage, Weinig and Aiken had bets worth upward of $1.5 billion in other people’s money on the table early this year. But the only thing certain about a safe bet is that, as grizzled gamblers and traders know, eventually someone gets burned. 

So when Malachite blew up in March, it left a hole in the ground twice as large as the fund itself.  (II)

Money Stuff

Matt Levine

They wrote $1.5 billion of insurance with $600 million of capital; the other $900 million is the banks’ problem. Malachite sold tail-risk protection to the banks, but effectively bought back extreme-tail-risk protection by just not having enough money. The banks found a sucker to sell them tail-risk insurance, but then when the risks came true the insurance didn’t pay out. Who’s the sucker, really? (BBRG)

Three Hundred and Twenty Billion Dollars

$320 billion is a colossal sum of money. And that’s the value of the cumulative savings in fund management fees that US investors have made over the last 24 years by using investment products linked to the different S&P Dow Jones indices. S&P’s ANU GANTI has been running the numbers. (TEBI)

Zoom is no longer the best-performing work-from-home stock

Fastly’s technology helps consumers more rapidly view and retrieve digital content. Its customers include e-commerce software providerShopify, music-streaming service Spotify and messaging app Slack, which are all seeing usage spikes with so many people working remotely. Some analysts are starting to see Fastly as one of the top technology winners from the accelerating trend toward working from home and staying at home. (cnbc)

für den nächsten Smalltalk:

“Reality” is constructed by your brain. Here’s what that means, and why it matters.

It’s not about doubting everything that comes through our senses. It’s about looking for our blind spots, with the goal of becoming better thinkers. It can also help with empathy. When other people misperceive reality, we may not agree with their interpretation, but we can understand where it comes from. (Vox)

The Cost of Privacy

Key Takeaways

  1. Consumers underestimate the extent to which their data is being tracked
  2. Consumers say privacy outweighs all, including tracking the spread of COVID-19
  3. Distrust in government is high
  4. Consumers are sitting on gold mines of data,but many won’t cash in
  5. Identity verification is taking a toll on democracy, but mail-in ballots could help


The Second Great Depression

At least four major factors are terrifying economists and weighing on the recovery: the household fiscal cliff, the great business die-off, the state and local budget shortfall, and the lingering health crisis. Three months ago, the pandemic and ensuing shelter-in-place orders caused mass job loss unlike anything in recent American history. A virtual blizzard settled on top of the country and froze everyone in place. Nearly 40 percent of low-wage workers lost their jobs in March. More than 40 million people lost their jobs in March, April, or May. (TheAtlantic)

Space agencies unveil site showing lockdown changes to Earth

You can now see how coronavirus lockdowns have changed air pollution, hospital lights and even white asparagus harvests.

Using data from 17 satellites, three space agencies have created a website that serves as a global dashboard for temporary changes observed from orbit. The European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA Thursday unveiled the Earth Observing Dashboard at eodashboard.org.

The data, which will be expanded in the future, monitors 30 environmental indicators, 17 economic signals and three agricultural indices. (APA)

This Cosmologist Knows How It’s All Going to End

The astrophysicist and social media phenom Katie Mack is ready to tell you about the fate of the universe.

Katie Mack at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. “I like things that are kind of hard to imagine, but that could have consequences that are just impossibly huge. Those are a lot of fun.” (QuantaMag)

The secret economics of a VIP party

I came to realise that such gestures were often directed at other rich male customers. One club-goer told me about a “bottle Olympics” between two customers from India and Pakistan that he witnessed one night, each striving to outdo the other in ordering rare bottles of champagne. A backdrop of beautiful women facilitated such primitive battles. Status is a sensitive thing. It exists only when an audience recognises it: it cannot be bought outright without a loss of status.  (1843)

The programming language that wants to rescue the world from dangerous code

As more and more business activity flows through software delivered over the internet, secure software has never been more important. If the best way to prevent 70% of serious security vulnerabilities is to adopt a programming language that makes it impossible to introduce memory-related security flaws, expect to see a lot more Rust in the future. (protocol)

20_25 | 21. Juni 2020

Die Revolution der Geldanlage – doch welche Anbieter profitieren?

„Großbanken haben ein handfestes Generationenproblem. Die Bankverbindung endet oft mit dem Tod oder der Pflegebedürftigkeit von Inhabern lukrativer Vermögen. Die Erben schaufeln dann alles zu ING, DKB und Co.“ So erklärte es vor einiger Zeit in einem Hintergrundgespräch der Vorstand eines namhaften deutschen Geldinstituts. (finanz-szene)

5 Surprising Things We Learned from a Factor Investing Expert

One obvious takeaway: don’t believe everything you read — to include research published in academic finance journals. Even PhDs can confuse themselves and make life more complicated than it really needs to be. And be skeptical of fund management companies that hire famous academic researchers with the hope of improving their offerings.

One must always the real question: Is this fancy professor being hired to help the process? Or is there hire a marketing ploy to sell a product? (alphaarchitect)

Annie Duke and Morgan Housel: Three Tools for Navigating Risk and Uncertainty

Duke’s emphasis on the influence of luck in decision making illustrated a compelling point: Models are built based on probabilities, but we tend to judge decisions based solely on outcomes.

“People don’t think probabilistically,” Housel said. “They think black-and-white binary. You’re either right or you’re wrong.”

So if we make an investment based on having 90% certainty about a particular outcome, by definition, there’s a 10% likelihood that it won’t work out. But if it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean it was a bad decision, or that similar investments should be avoided in the future. (cfa_institute)

Why Diversity Matters In The World Of Finance

These efforts demonstrate that inclusion in finance is more than a politically correct nicety. Diversity is associated with superior performance precisely because it has the potential to bring diverse strengths to the management of capital. (forbes)

Robinhood Sells Your Data, but Does That Matter?

The media loves to spin the story that the fictional character Robinhood stole from the rich and gave to the poor and that the fintech app Robinhood sells data from the poor so the rich get richer.

What people forget is that Robinhood is just another brokerage with a pretty user interface and hundreds of millions in the bank to spend on marketing. 

At its core, Robinhood is just a computer program that moves money around. It puts a sleek user interface over an API to the financial markets, allowing retail investors to buy $100 worth of Apple. (Blockworks)

Why The Stock Market Doesn’t Make Any Sense

That the stock market operates as a complex adaptive system is an important concept for us to have in our toolbox of mental models. It means that many effects we see in the markets will have no readily discernible cause. There is just too much complexity among the various agents interacting and generating feedback loops. As explained by Mauboussin in his excellent book More Than You Know, “Investors who insist on understanding the causes for the market’s moves risk focusing on faulty causality or inappropriately anchoring on false explanations. Many of the big moves in the market are not easy to explain.” (forbes)

…und dann war da noch:

News by the ton: 75 years of US advertising

So: if you talk to people at both Google and Facebook and in the agency world, you’ll hear that perhaps two thirds to three quarters of money spent on Google and Facebook is money that was never spent on traditional advertising – it’s coming from SMEs and local businesses that might have spent in classified at most but probably wouldn’t have done even that. $60bn of consumer spending went through Shopify last year – it’s safe to assume those vendors spent money on advertising, but how many of them would have bought an ad in a local newspaper? (ben_evans)

Employees who practice mindfulness meditation are less motivated, having realized the futility of their jobs

Whether or not that was why regulators acted to ban psychedelic substances (an act that former UK Drugs Czar David Nutt called „the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo“), there certainly seems to be a correlation between discomfort and anxiety and your willingness to work hard for someone else’s enterprise. (boingboing)


But towards the end, Tim said something important that many may have missed. Something that wasn’t built into the traders’ financial models, but nevertheless may hold the key to sustaining Apple’s growth once the iPhone matures:

“If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ It will be about health.” 

Health?! (Divinations)

The Renegade Winter Gardener of Austria

“Winter vegetables are good for small and medium-sized farmers,” says Palme. They allow farmers to use land year round, save energy and expand their product range. It also gives products a narrative: one about the changing seasons and sustainable management — something that is becoming increasingly important to customers. (reasonstobecheerful)

Why Figma Wins

Companies are a sequencing of loops. While it’s possible to stumble into an initial core loop that works, the companies that are successful in the long term are the ones that can repeatedly find the next loop. However, this evolution is poorly understood relative to its existential impact on a company’s trajectory. Figma is a prime example of sequencing loops. They’re now widely viewed as successful, but the key factors in their success and what bets they must make to get to the next level are less widely understood. (kwokchain)

The Two Forms of Mathematical Beauty

Trying to appreciate mathematics without understanding its inner workings is like reading a description of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony instead of hearing it.


Computation All the Way Down

A Conversation with Stephen Wolfram: The question that I’m asking myself is how does the universe work? What is the lowest level machine code for how our universe works? The big surprise to me is that over the last six months or so, I think we’ve figured out a path to be able to answer that question. (Edge.org)

Why Walking Helps Us Think

Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them. (TheNewYorker)

20_24 | 13. Juni 2020

It’s Active Management’s
Time to Shine. Has It?

In the first four months of the year, active managers got the opportunity they wanted to show investors that they can beat their benchmarks in periods of market volatility. So how did they do? Not well, according to new research. (II)

Tinkoff kommt nach Deutschland – mit einem Killerfeature gegen N26

Oleg Tinkov macht keine halben Sachen. Das zeigt der Gründer nicht nur mit seiner russischen Digitalbank Tinkoff, sondern auch mit seinen Ankündigungen. Man werde der Konkurrenz – in Person von Revolut-Gründer Nikolay Storonsky – „in den Hintern treten“, schrieb er auf Instagram, als er vor wenigen Monaten ein westeuropäisches Fintech ankündigte. (FinanceFWD)

Why investors are in love with Jio

A $5.7 billion investment from Facebook announced on April 21 seems to have opened the floodgates to private equity investment, with Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic and KKR cumulatively pouring in a further $4.62 billion at a $65 billion valuation. Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Microsoft, and Twitter are also reportedly in talks to invest a further $5.5 billion. It’s an astonishingly huge fundraising round. (protocol)

4 Lessons From Another Year of Falling Fund Fees

The average expense ratio paid by fund investors has been falling for two decades. In 2019, the asset-weighted average expense ratio across all mutual funds and exchange-traded funds was 0.45%. This is roughly half what investors paid in fund fees as of the turn of the millennium.

Fund investors themselves deserve much of the credit for this movement, as the shift toward low-cost funds has been the primary driver of this decline. (MoStar)

Why Rates Are Low

“Today, when money has no value, because we’ve essentially printed all the money in the world and we’ll continue to print it over and over, you have to find value in other parts of the balance sheet, so you have to go to things like brand or intangibles,” he says. “And this is where their mathematical models break, and then their brains explode.” (II)

Unheard of

$1 billion is not enough money to keep the company out of bankruptcy and return it to solvency – but what if they can do this more than once? What if it actually works?Can an army of retail know-nothing pajama traders save a corporation through deliberate indifference to reality?We live in an age of miracles and wonder. (Josh_Brown)

Here’s Why Free Trades Might Not Be A Good Deal After All

Our brains treat “free” differently because we believe we don’t have to do anything. We aren’t parting with any money, so we don’t have to go through an entire “is this worth it?” thought process.

When something is free, we don’t consider the non-monetary costs. As a result, things that are free are generally over-consumed. Think about how much more you eat at a buffet than you would otherwise. (Betterment)

A Look at the Mushrooming Menu of Thematic Funds

Investors in thematic funds are making a trifecta bet (a term from the racetrack). Specifically, they are implicitly betting that they are:

1. Picking a winning theme.

2. Selecting a fund that is well-placed to harness that theme.

3. Making their wager when valuations show that the market hasn’t already priced in the theme’s potential. The odds of winning these bets are low, but the payouts can be meaningful.

The long-term performance figures for thematic funds are not flattering. They suggest that investors‘ odds of selecting a fund that will survive and outperform over the long run are slim. (MoStar)

…und dann war da noch:

Long-term Perspectives During a Pandemic

On April 14th, 02020, The Long Now Foundation convened a Long Conversation¹ featuring members of our board and invited speakers. Over almost five hours of spirited discussion, participants reflected on the current moment, how it fits into our deeper future, and how we can address threats to civilization that are rare but ultimately predictable. The following are excerpts from the conversation, edited and condensed for clarity.(TheLongNowFoundation)


The “hipsteader” and other new consumer species in the age of coronavirus

This, we realized, was a new species of consumer: the Hipsteader. These hip homesteaders use the energy—and money—they might otherwise have put into social outings in stylish outfits at Instagrammable locations into transforming their home-lives into what writer Heather Havrilesky described as “a group hallucination of some ‘Little House on the Prairie’ lifestyle.” (Quarz)

Banksy shares new artwork supporting Black Lives Matter and says it’s on white people to fix systemic racism

„People of colour are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs. The faulty system is making their life a misery, but it’s not their job to fix it. They can’t, no one will let them in the apartment upstairs.“This is a white problem. And if white people don’t fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in,“ the artist added. (editionCNN

This shark fought off a deep-sea squid, first-ever picture reveals

In the shadowy depths of the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii, a shark battled what may have been a giant squid—and lived to tell scientists about it.

The tentacles of the massive cephalopod left golf ball-size suction marks on the skin of the shark, a seven-foot oceanic whitetip. (NatGeo)

TikTok is having a monster 2020

“None of the Chinese tech companies has achieved this level of success in the global market before ByteDance,” he said, adding neither social media company harbors much debt. “The fact that ByteDance is making profit, if true, and sitting on a $6 billion cash pile means that it is not in a rush at all to come to market to raise capital. (TheVerge)

Facebook and the creation of a US oligarch

“Societies have always made judgments about which speech should be protected,” says Anya Schiffrin, a senior lecturer at Columbia University specialising in policy solutions around disinformation. She points out that robust democracies throughout Europe have found ways to strike a balance between free speech and disinformation. “In the US, hiding behind the First Amendment has become a way for Big Tech to shut down critics, hobble political opponents and protect profits.” (FT)

Why Sleep Deprivation Kills

To the researchers’ surprise, the lethally sleep-deprived flies reached a normal fly life span. The same thing happened when they raised levels of antioxidant enzymes in the gut (but, tellingly, not when they did it in the nervous system). (QuantaMag)

20_23 | 7. Juni 2020

Der große Angriff – Vanguard soll an Robo-Advisor für Europa arbeiten

Vanguard startete einst die ETF-Revolution, ist heute zweitgrößter Vermögensverwalter der Welt und in den USA wichtigster Player im Robo-Advisor-Geschäft. Nun gibt es Anzeichen, dass der Konzern das Robo-Konzept nach Europa bringen könnte – in Berlin läuft ein Geheimprojekt. (FinanceFFW)

Goldman Sachs betrays bitcoin

On Wednesday, slides from the call showed Goldman sticking the knife in, and twisting it. They listed five reasons that “Cryptocurrencies Including Bitcoin Are Not an Asset Class” (FTalphaville)

14 weeks and 12 numbers that have changed the investing history books forever

For the rest of our lifetimes we’ll see data points from 2020 popping up in any backwards-look at the records. The textbooks blogs won’t need to be rewritten – event-driven crashes are nothing new – but such was this one’s ferocity that the data will need to be revised. (Monevator)

The Unusual Ambitions
of Chamath Palihapitiya

“Today, when money has no value, because we’ve essentially printed all the money in the world and we’ll continue to print it over and over, you have to find value in other parts of the balance sheet, so you have to go to things like brand or intangibles,” he says. “And this is where their mathematical models break, and then their brains explode.” (II)

Is there a role for options insurance in equity portfolios?

This brings us to a more recent battle of the brainboxes. Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Cliff Asness, two high-level thinkers on finance, had a forthright exchange of views on social media about the efficacy of buying options to hedge a portfolio of risky shares. Mr Taleb, author of “The Black Swan” and adviser to Universa Investments, an options specialist, says it is the only robust way. Mr Asness, founder of aqr Capital Management, says there are better methods. (economist)

Three Reasons Stocks Are Rising

The COVID-19 crisis is simultaneously thrusting Americans into the pre-urban homestead economy of the 1830s, re-creating the Depression-era joblessness of the 1930s, and pulling forward the virtual economy of the 2030s. We are living in the weirdest economy ever. (TheAtlantic)

Wird die Corona-Krise zum Todesurteil fürs Filialgeschäft?

Einfach mal als These in den Raum geworfen: Kann es sein, dass die Corona-Krise für die deutsche Kreditwirtschaft so etwas wie ein perfekter A/B-Test war? Brauche ich überhaupt noch Filialen – und wenn ja, welche? Und kann es sein, dass das Ergebnis dieses Tests lautete: Nein, brauche ich eigentlich nicht mehr. Jedenfalls viel weniger gedacht. Denn wie sonst ist zu erklären, dass die Zahlen nicht nur im Firmen-, sondern auch im Privatkundengeschäft im März/April teilweise nicht nach unten, sondern sogar nach oben gingen? (FinanzSzene)

auch nicht schlecht …

The inside story of the Dyson EV

The sudden demise of the Dyson electric car project last October was one of the most shocking events of postwar British car history – because it was so unexpected. Backed by £2.5 billion of personal investment from Britain’s richest man, Sir James Dyson, the all-electric seven-seat luxury car had seemed set for the same shining future as most of Dyson’s previous projects. (autocar)

Op-Ed: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge

What do you see when you see angry black protesters amassing outside police stations with raised fists? If you’re white, you may be thinking, “They certainly aren’t social distancing.” Then you notice the black faces looting Target and you think, “Well, that just hurts their cause.” Then you see the police station on fire and you wag a finger saying, “That’s putting the cause backward.” (LA_Times)

Vegan seafood: The next plant-based meat trend?

Seafood is difficult to veganise well, but some companies are betting on new technologies and customers to overcome the challenges. (BBC)

Why Bad is Stronger Than Good (There is No Opposite of Trauma)

Psychologists have long known that people can be scarred for years by a single event. The term for it is trauma, but what is the opposite? What word would describe a positive emotional state that lingers for decades in response to a single event? There is no opposite of trauma, because no single good event has such a lasting impact. (BenCarlson)

Twitter User Creates Account to Tweet Exactly What Trump Does to See If He’ll Get Suspended, and It Only Took 3 Days

Twitter refuses to suspend the President’s account, however, citing his relevance as a world leader.

So the Twitter account @Suspendthepres decided to put the standard to the test. The user behind the account began tweeting exactly what the President tweeted and urged its thousands of followers to report the tweets.

The account was suspended in less than three days. (secondnexus)

20_22 | 30. Mai 2020

Uncertainty II

Forecasters seem to act as if the future already exists, and all we have to do is be smart enough to discern it. But that ignores the fact that all of us –and many other influences –are constantly creating the future through our collective activity. (HowardMarks)

The „Don’t Worry, Make Money“ Strategy Trouncing the Stock Market by 30 Percentage Points

It’s an unusual stance for a large asset manager to take in a business landscape fraught with risks. But among fund managers, Baillie Gifford, with its $245 billion under management, is an outlier. The firm pays little attention to traditional valuation metrics such as earnings per share or price/earnings ratios. It’s singularly focused on three things—growth, competitive advantage and staying power—and it doesn’t mind parking its investors’ money in stocks that would make value investors seasick. (Forbes)

Small-time investing fuels real world consequences

That’s not a bad thing, per se. In fact, you could argue that it’s only fair for the little guy to be able to get the same upside as market professionals. But of course, that means they get the downside, too. New technology platforms such as Robinhood (which added 3m users in 2020, half of them first-time investors) allow novices to make such bets in the blink of an eye.

“I’d wager that 90 per cent of investors in USO couldn’t explain what contango is,” says Mr Masters, referring to the difference between spot and futures prices that traders must try to navigate. (FT)

The Coronavirus Is Exposing Wall Street’s Reckless Gamble on Bad Debt

In April, there were eleven leveraged-loan defaults, which is “the most ever during a month, exceeding the previous record of 10 in October 2009,” a recent report from S & P Global noted. With “grim forward indicators thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, market sources expect more defaults ahead,” the report went on. The credit-ratings agency has predicted that leveraged-loan defaults could hit ten per cent by the end of this year. (TheNewYorker)

OK, People: It’s Time to Think Big

If the past few months have given you more time for introspection, use it to improve your financial plan in a big-picture way. (MoStar)

Taleb and Asness feud on Twitter over tail-risk hedging

There’s nothing like a very public spat between two titans of the financial world.

In the one corner, “Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb; in the other, Cliff Asness, the founder of AQR Capital Management. The two took to Twitter with each using unprintable words about whether it’s worth the cost to insure against extreme events, or what’s called tail-risk hedging. (MarketWatch)

All the Stocks are the Same Now

The push now is even more obvious: You want all the drug companies to work together to find a Covid cure or vaccine and distribute it as widely as possible. If you find a cure, the economy can reopen and all the stocks will go up, which is vastly more valuable to BlackRock than the particular size or allocation of the profits from selling the cure. (MattLevine_BBG)

Could Anyone Have Predicted Warren Buffetts Success?

“The ultimate test of an explanation is whether it would have made the event predictable in advance.”

Nobody, including Buffett himself, could have foreseen 40 years ago, that he would be who he is today. … This, notes Kahneman, highlights the ‘illusion of understanding’ – our predisposition to build stories from the information available to us. And the better the story is, the more likely we are to believe it.

Buffett’s career makes for a great story. But it becomes a lot less appealing if we emphasise his luck, rather than his skill. (TEBI)

38 Incredible Facts on the Modern U.S. Dollar

We have it starting in 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act was passed by Woodrow Wilson. Not only did it establish a new central bank, but it also gave the Fed the authority to issue the Federal Reserve Note, which is now the dominant form of U.S. currency both domestically and abroad. (VisualCapitalist)

auch nicht schlecht …

Billie Eilish Released the Full Version of “Not My Responsibility”

„Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet?“ Billie questions. „Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach, my hips? The body I was born with? Is it not what you wanted? If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it — and judge me for it. Why“ (TeenVogue)

All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization

In the current economic circumstances, there are some pretty large numbers being thrown around by both governments and the financial media.

Given the scale of these new numbers—how can we relate them back to the more conventional numbers and figures that we may be more familiar with? (VisualCapitalist)

The Remaking of Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi has seen it all. He was hit by a car and a bus as a kid, was once stabbed in a bar fight, volunteered as a firefighter during 9/11, and somewhere along the way became one of the most accomplished film actors of his generation. And then tragedy struck: In 2019, Buscemi lost his wife of over 30 years. In a rare interview, Hollywood’s most beloved misfit opens up about anxiety, loss, and the hard work of getting through it all. (GQ)

Noma Reopened With Burgers Served at Picnic Tables. It’s Just What the People Want.

 “It just felt wrong to open Noma as a five-hour thing. The most important thing right now is that we remember to take care of people, open the doors, smile at each other, get the positivity going, get the anxiety shaken off, you know, get a new era going.” (esquire)

The Epic Games Primer: Parts I-VI Directory

This six-part series is designed to be an “Explain Like I’m (Twenty) Five” edition of Epic Games. Or if you want a throwback to the 1990s, when then-Potomac Computer Systems was founded, “Epic Games For Dummies”. Technical terms and other details have been eschewed and simplified accordingly. (matthewball.vc)

20_21 | 22. Mai 2020

SoftBank Doubles Buyback Plans While Jack Ma Leaves Board

Ma’s departure is a historic moment since he and Son have sat on each other’s boards for years. Alibaba is regarded as Son’s most successful investment. In addition to Goto, a long-time SoftBank veteran, Lip-Bu Tan and Yuko Kawamoto will join, bringing the total of external board members to four. (Yahoo!finance)

An economist’s rule for making tough life decisions

But dig a little deeper, and Levitt’s suggested rule of thumb for decision-making turns out to be decidedly evergreen, and may even have added significance in current upheavals of the Covid-19 era. We’re biased toward upholding the status quo, but it’s a bias that hurts us. (Quartz)

Why Triggering Emotions Won’t Lead to Lasting Behavior Change

So when the novelty fizzles out, how can we harness our current motivation and channel it into long-term change? The evidence is still sparse, but we do have several examples of behavioral interventions that have a longer shelf life. (Behavioral Scientist)

The Future of the Dollar

U.S. Financial Power Depends on Washington, Not Beijing

To be sure, the United States needs to take China seriously as a formidable economic competitor. But when it comes to the primacy of the dollar, the main risk stems not from Beijing but from Washington itself. The United States must maintain an economy that inspires global credibility and confidence. Failure to do so will, over time, put the U.S. dollar’s position in peril. (ForeignAffairs)

The Cult of Elon Is Cracking

“Sometimes it just seems like the smarter people are, the more vulnerable they are to overestimating how much they know about something outside of their specialty,” Ben Hallert, a longtime SpaceX fan and a Tesla stockholder, told me. “If I’m an expert in X, then why wouldn’t I be an expert in Y?” (theAtlantic)

How Global Central Banks are Responding to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, central banks are once again taking decisive action. To help us understand what’s being done, today’s infographic uses data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to compare the policy responses of 29 systemically important economies. (VisualCapitalist)

… auch das habe ich gelesen


Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage

If someone could pay Doordash $16 a pizza, and Doordash would pay his restaurant $24 a pizza, then he should clearly just order pizzas himself via Doordash, all day long. You’d net a clean $8 profit per pizza [insert nerdy economics joke about there is such a thing as a free lunch]. (Margins)

Why Is This Chocolate Shimmering Like a Rainbow?

“It’s the best tasting diffraction grating you’ll ever see,” said David A. Weitz, a professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard, of the chocolate. “It’s a simple idea. And to me, when I say something is simple, it is the best compliment I’ll pay.” (NYT)

Michael Jordan: NBA legend’s trainers sell for record $560,000

The Nike Air Jordan 1s, worn by Jordan during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls, were expected to fetch between $100,00-$150,000 at Sotheby’s. (BBC)

No, NASA did notdiscover a parallel universe where time runs backwards

Quick answer: No.

Longer answer: No, it isn’t.

More detailed answer: Well, this’ll take a sec to explain. But the bottom line is this particle detector did find something really strange, but it’s not clear what it is. Saying it „discovered“ a parallel universe is simply not true. At best the data are consistent with this idea, but that’s a long, long, looooooooong way from actually finding alternate realities. (syfy.com)

Not All Electric Vehicles Are Cars, You Know

In 2020, it’s the tiny electrics with two or three wheels that are responsible for more than half of that vanished demand for oil. There are almost a quarter-billion such electric vehicles on the road today. China buys more than 18 million electric two-wheelers a year; by 2040, BNEF expects the world to buy 70 million in total. (BBG)

Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists

“Wow! was my first reaction,” says Neal Williams, a bee biologist at the University of California, Davis. “Then I wondered, how did we miss this? How could no one have seen it before?” (NatGeo)

20_20 | 16. Mai 2020

Nothing Fails Quite Like Success in the Stock Market

A reader sent me an old piece I wrote in early-2014 that contained a stat that made me do a double-take:

The energy sector outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 7% per year with nearly the same standard deviation.

This seems almost impossible to believe at the moment. Oil prices went negative this year. Energy stocks are in a death spiral. Were they really the top dog as recently as 2014? (awocs)

Stock Market Signals, Then Versus Now

Can you guess the biggest American company in April 2010? It was … Exxon Mobil (XOM). (Oil traded that month at $102 per barrel.) As suggested by that example, the list of the largest U.S. firms has changed markedly over the following decade. The movement reveals not only shifts in corporate fortunes, but also evolving investor attitudes. (Morningstar)

Zoom is Now Worth More Than the World’s 7 Biggest Airlines

As of May 15, 2020, Zoom’s market capitalization has skyrocketed to $48.8 billion, despite posting revenues of only $623 million over the past year.

What separates Zoom from its competition, and what’s led to the app’s massive surge in mainstream business culture? (VisualCapitalist)

Modern Private Equity and the End of Creative Destruction

Our economies are under the stewardship of fund managers with one goal in mind: to maximize fee income, even if it means holding on to impaired assets. Thanks to the mass-adoption of cov-lite structures, the manipulation of corporate earnings and government-led bailouts, private capital firms have substituted creative destruction with a more insidious process: endemic sclerosis. (Enterprising Investor)

Oil Crash Busted Broker’s Computers and Inflicted Big Losses

The day trader, working from his house in a Toronto suburb, figured he couldn’t lose as he spent $2,400 snapping up crude at $3.30 a barrel, and then 50 cents. Then came what looked like the deal of a lifetime: buying 212 futures contracts on West Texas Intermediate for an astonishing penny each.

What he didn’t know was oil’s first trip into negative pricing had broken Interactive Brokers Group Inc. Its software couldn’t cope with that pesky minus sign, even though it was always technically possible — though this was an outlandish idea before the pandemic — for the crude market to go upside down. Crude was actually around negative $3.70 a barrel when Shah’s screen had it at 1 cent. Interactive Brokers never displayed a subzero price to him as oil kept diving to end the day at minus $37.63 a barrel. (BBG)

Bitcoin’s big moment proves shortlived as it crashes, again

The bastard child of post-financial crisis unconventional monetary policy, bitcoin, it seemed, was guaranteed to thrive. This, after all, was in fact the whole point of bitcoin! Those evil central bankers might be able to print money and bring about nasty old inflation in the land of fiat (or at least try to), but cryptoland couldn’t be manipulated. No, cryptoland lives by its own rules. (FTalphaville)

Does Covid-19 Prove the Stock Market Is Inefficient?

Economists Robert Shiller and Burton Malkiel debate whether the fluctuations of the past few months prove that markets are efficient or inefficient. (Pairagraph)

The Fed Will Buy Bond ETFs Now

“How does the Fed know which bonds are good” is a hard question, but if you transform it into “how does BlackRock know which bonds are good” it at least becomes an answered question. BlackRock is in the business of knowing which bonds are good and how much to pay for them, etc.; it has been doing this for a while. (Matt Levine_BBG)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


Do You Have a Life Outside of Work?

“I had a business trip cancelled and free time out of nowhere. I went home on a beautiful summer day and as I pulled into my driveway realized my family was scattered doing their things and that I had no friends to reach out to or hobbies that I had once loved. I sat in the car for more than an hour thinking about how I had gotten to that point.” (HBR)

Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Will Soon Be the World’s

Sweden’s response has not been perfect, but it has succeeded in bolstering immunity among the young and the healthy—those at the lowest risk of serious complications from COVID-19—while also flattening the curve. (ForeignAffairs)

Debt: the First 5000 Years

To summarize this view, the foundation of the human economy is built on bartering and swapping for mutual benefit: it makes us human, and let us specialize. Money and coinage evolved as an abstract representation of scarcity, in order to facilitate that bargaining. And then credit and banking evolved on top of that.

According to Graeber, that narrative is fully false, and has the story backwards. (alexdanco.com)

Zoom is Now Worth More Than the World’s 7 Biggest Airlines

Popular video conferencing company, Zoom Communications, is a prime example of an organization benefiting from this transition. Today’s graphic, inspired by Lennart Dobravsky at Lufthansa Innovation Hub, is a dramatic look at how much Zoom’s valuation has shot up during this unusual period in history. (VisualCapitalist)

Chart: The Rise and Fall of Yahoo

The saga surrounding one of the world’s most recognizable internet stocks has come to a close.

Yahoo has finally sold its operating business to the highest bidder. The winner was Verizon – and the price was $4.8 billion.

That’s worth less than 1% of the company it had multiple opportunities to buy: Google (now Alphabet). (VisualCapitalist)

20_19 | 9. Mai 2020

For Mother’s Day, Give HEr Reins to the Portfolio

Fess up, fellows: The masters of the universe have turned out to be masters of disaster. No matter which aspect of the financial crisis you consider, there is a man behind it.

So it is worth pointing out, this Mother’s Day weekend, how different things might be if the financial world were female. (JasonZweig)

Regrettable Behavior

The brother-in-law effect. There will always be someone in your life who profited—or claims to have profited—from whatever investment looks the smartest on any given day. These days, that might be Zoom Video Communications or Teladoc Health. But just as you should tune out the headlines, you should tune out your brother-in-law or your know-it-all neighbor. Research suggests you’ll be far better off. (humbledollar.com)

Is (Systematic) Value Investing Dead?

We think the medium-term odds are now, rather dramatically, on the side of value, with no “this time is different” explanation we can find (and we’ve tested a lot of them!) holding a drop of water and no other period in the 50+ year history matching today. It has certainly been excruciating getting here, but here we are, and it’s never looked cheaper looking forward.

This is where long-term investors make their bones.(AQR

Political fantasy battles economic reality after tens of millions of jobs lost

But even if people have some money in their pockets and can pay for rent and food, the economy cannot really reboot — and hiring can’t take off — without a stronger feeling of public safety.

“You could drop as much money on me as you want, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go book a vacation and get on a plane,” said Greene. (Politico)

Yes, Financial Literacy Programs Do Work

Financial literacy programs have been under attack for years. Many question their effectiveness. Some say they hurt more than help.

The critics are wrong.

In our hearts, we always believed this to be true. Having data as an ally reinforces our beliefs.

Financial Education Affects Financial Knowledge And Downstream Behavior is a groundbreaking meta-analysis proving the value of financial literacy instruction. (tonyisola.com)

Shopify displaces RBC to become Canada’s most valuable company

It’s been a meteoric rise for the Ottawa-based tech darling, with shares up 98 per cent year-to-date amid optimism the company will capture more business as consumers stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shopify said Wednesday its first-quarter revenue jumped 47 per cent year-over-year to US$470 million. (bnnBBG)

How Bad Is Unemployment? ‘Literally Off the Charts’

“It’s literally off the charts,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. “What would typically take months or quarters to play out in a recession happened in a matter of weeks this time.” (NYT)

A Young Investor’s Revolt
Against Private Equity

“Why are the LPs paying management fees for portfolios of companies that are effectively closed?” Koppikar questioned. “If I was a private equity investor, I’d ask for a list of all portfolio companies that paid rent and interest in April. If they didn’t, they’re in technical default. Why is CalPERS paying any management fee right now for companies that are in technical default? It’s unbecoming.” (II)

What Drives Speculation?

While no period in history is exactly the same, there are often identifiable themes that tend to repeat themselves.

This week we study the role of Technology, Credit, and Low Yields in fueling speculative booms. (InvestorAmnesia)

… auch interessant


Paul Tudor Jones Buys Bitcoin as a Hedge Against Inflation

“The best profit-maximizing strategy is to own the fastest horse,” Jones, the founder and chief executive officer of Tudor Investment Corp., said in a market outlook note he entitled ‘The Great Monetary Inflation.’ “If I am forced to forecast, my bet is it will be Bitcoin.”

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice which I offer as my birthday present to all of you. (kk.org)

Florian Schneider: the enigma whose codes broke open pop music

In a sense, this was the perfect departure for Florian Schneider. Few people could have claimed to have exerted as much musical influence while remaining so enigmatic. Given Kraftwerk’s pivotal impact on everything from synthpop to hip-hop to house and techno, it’s very difficult indeed to imagine what modern music would sound like had they, and specifically the five albums they released between 1974 and 1981, not existed. (TheGuardian)

Meet the 107-year-old woman who survived the coronavirus and Spanish flu

“It’s remarkable,” Shapiro said. “That’s all I can say. It’s just unbelievable. I think perhaps it’s because of her art that she’s still involved in.” (jpost.com)

20_18 | 2. Mai 2020

Why We Focus on Trivial Things: The Bikeshed Effect

You’ve likely heard of Parkinson’s Law, which states that tasks expand to fill the amount of time allocated to them. But you might not have heard of the lesser-known Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, also coined by British naval historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson in the 1950s. (fs)

Live From Omaha, It’s Warren Buffett on Saturday Night

Even so, going into the event, it wasn’t quite so clear that Buffett still believed in his mantra, “America’s best days lie ahead.” He had been notably quiet in recent weeks, and Berkshire was selling stock and shunning acquisitions, a bearish signal for a company where the ethos is to buy when others are panicking. After all, Buffett once wrote:

Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do. (Yahoo!finance)

Bitcoin’s big moment proves shortlived as it crashes, again

The bastard child of post-financial crisis unconventional monetary policy, bitcoin, it seemed, was guaranteed to thrive. This, after all, was in fact the whole point of bitcoin! Those evil central bankers might be able to print money and bring about nasty old inflation in the land of fiat (or at least try to), but cryptoland couldn’t be manipulated. No, cryptoland lives by its own rules. (FTalphaville)

Gold Shares or Bullion as Portfolio Diversifiers?

What surprised me was that gold shares comfortably outgained gold bullion. As illustrated in the initial graph, Fidelity Select Gold barely beat the LBMA Gold Price Index over the study period. Thus, the two versions of gold had almost identical correlations and similar cumulative returns. Yet when inserted into the same balanced portfolio, gold equities were considerably better at improving returns. (MoStar)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk

The Man Who Thought Too Fast

There was also the problem of Wittgenstein, whose looming example and cultlike following distracted attention from Ramsey’s ideas for decades. But Ramsey rose again. Economists now study Ramsey pricing; mathematicians ponder Ramsey numbers. Philosophers talk about Ramsey sentences, Ramseyfication, and the Ramsey test. Not a few scholars believe that there are Ramseyan seams still to mine.(TheNewYorker)

Pooled number of deaths by age group

  • Pooled number of deaths by age group
  • Excess mortality
  • Map of z-scores by country (EuroMOMO)

Empathy Starts with Curiosity

Which means that before demonstrating my understanding, I have to develop it. I need to ask questions and be open and listen and learn. Which takes humility. Humility is not knowing. And that, eventually and almost always, leads to empathy which leads to compassion. (HBR)

What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to be More Widely Known?

Russell Conjugation

We are told that we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. This leaves out the observation that the war for our minds and attention is now increasingly being waged over neither facts nor opinions but feelings. (Edge)

A UK Museum Challenged Bored Curators Worldwide to Share the Creepiest Objects in Their Collections. Things Got Really Weird, Fast

What’s a museum social media manager to do with no exhibitions on the horizon? The Yorkshire Museum recently put out a call on Twitter asking for museum experts to submit pictures of the creepiest objects in their collections. And things got weird—fast. (artnetnews)

Visualizing the Length of the Fine Print, for 14 Popular Apps

Do you take the time to read the terms of service before you agree to when downloading the latest app or software?

Of course you do… (VisualCapitalist)

20_17 | 26. April 2020

Stock Pickers Are Flunking Their Big Moment

For many years, active managers have awaited the return of a “stock picker’s market.” This is one where the skill of investors can show itself to greater advantage. It may just have arrived. Now, all stock pickers have to do is pick the right stocks. (BBG)


Noting these caveats, they concluded: “The results clearly undermine long-standing methods for monitoring and evaluating investment managers. In practice, even three years of relative underperformance may land a manager on a consultant’s “watch list.” A ten-year period of underperformance is considered an almost certain reason to terminate that manager. Conversely, ten years of outperformance is regarded as conclusive evidence that the investment manager possesses skill. As this article demonstrates, that is not so. Often, these seemingly meaningful findings are nothing more than random noise.” (evidenceinvestor.com)

„Man möchte die Riesen kennenlernen, auf deren Schultern man steht“

Ein Gespräch über Faszination und Nutzen der Geschichte der Wirtschaftswissenschaft, über Selbstdistanz und Selbstkritik sowie über Regeln und diskretionäres Handeln in der Geldpolitik. (DeGruyter)

An Introduction To Ergodicity

The concept of ergodicity is something people get intuitively but unlearn by visiting a statistics class or completing an MBA. The distinction between ergodic and non-ergodic systems is nonetheless essential for understanding how humans act and why some “irrational” behavior or heuristic might be rational after all. It is a concept mostly used in mathematical probability theory but originated in thermodynamics. (Limitless Curiosity)

The Day of Reckoning
for Private Equity

No set of companies across industries is more at risk than those owned by private equity firms. Leveraged buyouts – now euphemistically called private equity – have “leverage” in their name for a reason. That financial tool works both ways, magnifying returns in good times and punishing results for equity holders when the tide turns. (TedSiedes)

understanding Money, Credit, and Debt – Ray Dalio

While money and credit are associated with wealth, they aren’t wealth.  Because money and credit can buy wealth (i.e., goods and services) the amount of money and credit one has and the amount of wealth one has look pretty much the same.  But one cannot create more wealth simply by creating more money and credit. To create more wealth, one has to be more productive. The relationship between the creation of money and credit and the creation of wealth (actual goods and services) is often confused yet it is the biggest driver of economic cycles, so let’s look at this relationship more closely. (LinkedIn)

How Oil Prices Went Subzero: Explaining the COVID-19 Oil Crash

It’s just days later, and we already have our next market abnormality: this time, traders were baffled by West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude — the U.S. benchmark oil price — which somehow flipped negative for the first time in history.

How is that possible? And how does it tie into the COVID-19 oil price crash in general? (VisualCapitalist)

Wir wissen immer noch zu wenig über das Virus. Aber wir wissen: die Politik war desaströs, und die wirtschaftlichen Folgen sind verheerend

Epidemiologen und Ökonomen scheinen viel gemeinsam zu haben: Beide mögen Modelle und Mathematik. Doch in diesem Jahr hat sich gezeigt, dass Epidemiologen sich nicht besonders um Ökonomie sorgen. Ein anderer, im März veröffentlichter Aufsatz des Imperial College sagte voraus, dass physischer Abstand und Wirtschaftseinschränkungen in diesem Jahr zwischen 30 und 40 Millionen Menschen in aller Welt retten könnten. «Die weiter gefassten sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Kosten der Einschränkungen haben wir nicht berücksichtigt», hielten die Autoren fast nebenher fest, «sie werden hoch sein». (NZZ)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


Why Sex? Biologists Find New Explanations

Why did sex evolve? Theories usually focus on the diversity of future generations, but some researchers find compelling explanations in the immediate benefits to individuals. (QuantaMag)

The Dangerous Rise of COVID-19 Influencers and Armchair Epidemiologists

Dr. David Dunning — of the Dunning-Kruger Effect — on the alarming relevance of a 20-year-old study. (InsideHook)

Pooled number of deaths by age group

  • Pooled number of deaths by age group
  • Excess mortality
  • Map of z-scores by country (EuroMOMO)

What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to be More Widely Known?

Russell Conjugation

We are told that we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. This leaves out the observation that the war for our minds and attention is now increasingly being waged over neither facts nor opinions but feelings. (Edge)

A UK Museum Challenged Bored Curators Worldwide to Share the Creepiest Objects in Their Collections. Things Got Really Weird, Fast

What’s a museum social media manager to do with no exhibitions on the horizon? The Yorkshire Museum recently put out a call on Twitter asking for museum experts to submit pictures of the creepiest objects in their collections. And things got weird—fast. (artnetnews)

A Child’s Puzzle Has Helped Unlock the Secrets of Magnetism

People have known about magnets since ancient times, but the physics of ferromagnetism remains a mystery. Now a familiar puzzle is getting physicists closer to the answer. (QuantaM)

20_16 | 18.April 2020

Unintended Consequences, Part II: What if LTCM Was Not Rescued?

Understand the Moral hazard presented: Wall Street figured out it could juice its profits by engaging in ever-riskier behavior because it understands someone else bears the consequences of that risk. The lesson bankers and traders learned was that if and when excess risk-taking leads to disaster, the Fed could be counted on to add liquidity and protect the Street against catastrophic losses.

This was the worst possible lesson to be learned. (TBP)

20 Jahre ETF-Handel in Europa

„Wir gehen davon aus, dass sich ETFs als Standard-Produkt für die private Vermögensbildung weiter etablieren werden“, erklärt Kraus. „Die drei Buchstaben E-T-F könnten auch für einfach, transparent und flexibel stehen. (extraETF)

The Psychology of Human Misjudgment, by Charlie Munger

„My nature makes me incline toward diagnosing and talking about errors in conventional wisdom. And despite years of being smoothed out by the hard knocks that were inevitable for one with my attitude, I don’t believe life ever knocked all the brashness out of the man.“ (fs)

Howard Marks’s Oaktree Seeks $15 Billion for Biggest Distress Fund Ever

The new fund would be larger than the $14.5 billion the firm raised in 2007 and 2008. Oaktree still has cash on hand from its $8.6 billion distressed debt fund from 2018. (BBG)

Eine kleine Schatztruhe für Portfoliomanager

Einblick in die Arneit von Michael A. Maboussin. Eher an Profis gerichtet. Für Amateure insofern einen Blick wert, da sie sehen können, mit welchen Themen sich fähige Profis unter anderem beschäftigen. Vielleicht regt es dazu an, das eigene Vorgehen zu überdenken. (LINK)

Decoding COVID-19

There are more than 200 types of coronaviruses.
Some are more familiar to you than you may realise… (SCMP)

The Dangers of Following the Herd

Interview (audio) with Jim O’Shaughnessy. He proposes that volatile downswings in stocks is precisely why there is such a thing as an “equity risk premium.” O’Shaughnessy argues that investors who “follow the herd” are often destined for mediocre performance and that a more contrarian, counter-cyclical approach will lead to better results. . (real vision)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


The Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns, As Shown by Satellites

There’s a high chance you’re reading this while practicing social distancing, or while your corner of the world is under some type of advised or enforced lockdown.

While these are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such economic interruption is unprecedented in many ways—resulting in some surprising side effects. (VisualCapitalist)

How China Overtook the U.S. as the World’s Major Trading Partner

In 2018, trade accounted for 59% of global GDP, up nearly 1.5 times since 1980.

Over this timeframe, international trade has transformed significantly—not just in terms of volume and composition, but also in terms of the countries that the rest of the world leans on for their most important trade relationships.

Now, a critical shift is occurring in the landscape, and it may surprise you to learn that China has already usurped the U.S. as the world’s most dominant trading partner. (VisualCapitalist)

20_10 | 07.März.2020

As the ETF turns 30, it is time for active managers to embrace it

Yes, there is still some friction between the worlds of active and index. Growth in ETFs has displaced the “star” manager system that had defined investment management for decades. It is also true that as ETFs disrupted entrenched business models, they faced scrutiny from traditional active managers, often connected to their impact on markets. There was plenty of scornful speculation from fund managers with the most to lose.

But the great horse race between the two is over. What began 30 years ago as a single obscure product is today best understood as a technology that can give investors greater flexibility, lower costs, and the convenience of access. (FT.com)

Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice

Psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reveals the actions we can take to overcome the biases that cripple our decision-making, damper our thinking, and limit our effectiveness. Listen and Learn from the master. (fs)

The Freakishly Strong Base

But there are times when you have to relentlessly leave something that looks small alone so it has a chance of compounding into something big. Charlie Munger explained: “The first rule of compounding: Never interrupt it unnecessarily.”

Start investing as young as you can. Encourage young people to do the same. Build a reputation through small, consistent acts. That’s where everything huge begins. (CollaborativeF)


One of the stocks I covered was a German company that marketed e-commerce software.  It had a market cap of over $70 billion.  It’s still around, actually.  It’s called Intershop. Its market cap today is $30 million. [1] 

That means it fell by 75%, then another 75%, then another 75%, and then another 75%. And then another 90%. (AlbertBridgeCap)

Googles Kontenpläne und die Frage nach Europa

Seit Ende 2019 verfolgt nach Facebook, Apple und Amazon auch Google eigene Pläne, in die Bankenbranche einzusteigen. Eine Expansion nach Europa wird beim Suchmaschinenkonzern dabei erwogen – steht aber nicht unmittelbar bevor, sagt der Google-Europachef im Interview. (FF)

Never Has a Venial Sin Been Punished This Quickly and Violently!

Again, our plan is to do very little. That doesn’t mean we don’t question everything constantly (“doing very little” does not apply to research into what’s going on or trying, as we always are, to improve strategies). But, if that questioning doesn’t result in damning evidence (again, the paper by my colleagues is forthcoming!), it means sticking with the process. (AQR)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


Biological and Cultural Evolution

Six Characters in Search of an Author
An Edge Original Essay by Freeman Dyson1. Charles Darwin (1809-1882): The Diversity Paradox.
2. Motoo Kimura (1924-1994): Smaller Populations Evolve Faster.
3. Ursula Goodenough (1943- ): Nature Plays a High-Risk Game.
4. Herbert Wells (1866-1946): Varieties of Human Experience.
5. Richard Dawkins (1941- ): Genes and Memes.
6. Svante Pääbo (1955- ): Cousins in the Cave.(Edge.org)


Find something morally sickening? Take a ginger pill

In fact, much of the socially proscribed moralisation of sanctity that occurs now is, itself, wrong. It is appropriate, and useful, for people to feel disgusted by spoiled foods, faeces, dead bodies and sibling sex. But that doesn’t mean that we should moralise these emotional responses. We don’t have to extend our beliefs about right and wrong to behaviours that don’t actually hurt others, even if we find them disgusting. The tendency to do so is an ancient evolutionary holdover and, with the help of modern sanitation and safe sex practices, it’s one we can afford to set aside. (aeon)

Coronavirus lockdown ignites an old Italian debate. It’s about pasta, of course

While Esposito has no doubt that the queen of pasta is the original stripe-less version, he tries to be understanding. “It’s also a matter of taste,” he said. “We shouldn’t condemn it.”

Within reason, though. “If you pick a pasta of good quality, I am open to overlook the rigo,” he said. “But the problem is the sum of two factors: A low quality pasta, and striped to boot. That’s frankly too much.” (QZ.com)

20_09 | 28.Feb.2020

How Does the Stock Market Bottom?

Despite the recent selloff, things are still relatively fine. I know nobody wants to hear this right now, but the S&P 500 is still up double digits over the last year and 36% over the last three years. What has people shook, understandably, is the speed of this decline. (The II)

Finance, Bubbles, Negative Rates: The What Ifs . . . ?

To be sure, these are all big What ifs? But if Schmelzing’s analysis is right, we might have to fundamentally reconsider what is real and what is fake in financial markets. (CFA Inst.)

It’s time to talk about money

Jon Cunliffe looks at the future of money. He examines:

  • the use of cash
  • the evolution of commercial bank money
  • the rise of crypto assets and stablecoins
  • opportunities and challenges posed by central bank digital currencies


Three charts that pierce the private equity hype

With the world seemingly on the precipice of an acute supply shock, you probably want some financial data to bring you comfort as your precious stocks head south. Tough luck: (FTalphaville)

Bain & Company

Global Private Equity Report 2020

  • The search for certainty
  • The private equity market in 2019:
    Strong deal activity despite worsening macro conditions
  • What’s happening now: The strategies shaping 2020 and beyond
  • Public vs. private returns: Is PE losing its advantage?


Private Equity: Overvalued and Overrated?

The California gold rush of 1849 did not end well for the poor and desperate speculators who dreamed of a better future. And the great private equity gold rush of the postcrisis era may not end well for the confident experts who deploy other people’s capital with the goal of staying rich, not getting rich—and it may be even worse for everyone else.

How much has private equity contributed to the bizarre economic situation of recent years—in which asset prices soar while underlying GDP, along with productivity growth, remains historically weak? And is today’s private equity froth a warning sign of the next crisis? (AmAff)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

People used to think the crowdsourced encyclopedia represented all that was wrong with the web. Now it’s a beacon of so much that’s right. 

Wikipedia, in other words, isn’t raised up wholesale, like a barn; it’s assembled grain by grain, like a termite mound. The smallness of the grains, and of the workers carrying them, makes the project’s scale seem impossible. But it is exactly this incrementalism that puts immensity within reach. (wired)

Svalbard doomsday vault gets first big seed deposit since upgrade

Hundreds of plant species around the world were backed up today at a “doomsday vault” in Svalbard, Norway, the first big deposit to the Arctic facility since an upgrade to future-proof it against climate change. (NewScie)

How do you compare yourself with one of the most famous women in the world?

…“But if Lady Gaga can do what she wants, and even expand on what she wants, why not me, too? Why not let being “exactly who I am” mean trying to be the best I could be? Lady Gaga continues to challenge herself, to try new things, to thrive.“ (NYT)

20_08 | 22.Feb.2020

Not One Ivy League Endowment
Beat a Simple U.S. 60-40
Portfolio Over Ten Years

The performance of Ivy League endowments has trailed a passive portfolio of 60 percent U.S. stocks and 40 percent bonds over the past ten years — and has been more volatile to boot, according to a new report from research and analytics provider Markov Processes International. (II)

Is Market-Cap Weighting a Momentum Strategy in Disguise?

Yes, sort of, just not the sort of momentum strategy many may think. (MoSta)

Achtung, hier kommt die ausgefallene Fintech-Revolution!

Die zahlreichen Fintech-Analysen zum Jahrzehntwechsel lassen sich auf einen gemeinsamen Nenner bringen: Fintech hat die Finanzbranche verändert, aber die Revolution ist zu Gunsten einer Evolution ausgefallen. Es sind tatsächlich große Fintechs entstanden, die sich aus den Ertragspools der Banken bedienen. Abgelöst wurden die existierenden Banken von den Technologie-getriebenen Start-ups aber letztendlich nicht. Banken, die sich rechtzeitig digital aufgestellt haben, wie etwa die ING in den Niederlanden, BBVA in Spanien oder JP Morgan in den USA, stehen eher besser als schlechter da als in der Vor-Fintech-Ära. (finletter)

Das Wachstumsdilemma von N26

Die Smartphonebank N26 wächst stark, weil sie in den vergangenen Jahren in immer neue Märkte vorgedrungen ist. Doch die nächsten Expansionsschritte sind schwierig. Wie geht es jetzt weiter? Eine Analyse. (FF)

Union Investment: 0% Frauen, 2% Gebühren, 100% Vertrieb

Zum Liebling der Verbraucherschützer taugt so einer eher nicht. Zum Flaggschiff-Produkt seines Hauses hat die Union den „Privatfonds Kontrolliert“ gemacht, der binnen weniger Jahre auf 19,7 Mrd. Euro (!) angewachsen ist, was zwei Drittel des deutschen Retail-ETF-Markts entspricht. Aufgelegt amüsanterweise in der gleichen Woche, in der Reinke vor 10 Jahren seinen Job als CEO antrat. Gebühren? 2% bis 3% jedes Jahr, inklusive „Performance-Fee“. Ein Mordsgeschäft, wenn auch nicht immer unbedingt für die Anleger. Seit 2015 kam trotz herausragend guter Börsenjahre gerade mal 1,4% Rendite pro Jahr heraus, lediglich rund ein Drittel dessen, was der Fonds vor allen Gebühren erwirtschaftet hat. (finanz-szene)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk


Annual Letter To Shareholders

Alle Jahre wiedre von Warren Buffett. Zum Beispiel:

  • „There is the ever-present risk of succumbing to “Wall Streeters bearing fees,” as he describes deal-hungry investment bankers. “At many companies, these super-salesmen might win,” he notes. “I do not, however, expect that to happen at Berkshire.”
  • „When it comes to acquisitions that C.E.O.s want to make, independent directors are supposed to check their impulses. But corporate chiefs rarely bring in outside advisers who provide dissenting opinions, so the deals usually happen. “When seeking directors, C.E.O.s don’t look for pit bulls. It’s the cocker spaniel that gets taken home.”
  • „Too many directors covet the pay that comes with serving on a corporate board, playing nice with a C.E.O. to keep their jobs and get a good reference for more directorships. If a director pushes back on a C.E.O.’s deal proposal, his or her candidacy will silently die.”
  • Directors with stakes in the company they serve, paid for with their own money and not as compensation for their role, are better incentivized to give good advice, even though they are often not considered independent for corporate-governance purposes. (BRKS)

Mapped: Visualizing the True Size of Africa

Take a look at any map, and it’s clear that the African continent is a big place.

However, despite the common perception that Africa is a large landmass, it’s still one that is vastly underestimated by most casual map viewers. (VisCap)

20_07 | 15.Feb.2020

Investors reluctant to break up with their wealth manager

You probably won’t dump your manager this Valentine’s Day — but maybe you should (FT)

Die Smartphone-Banken lehren die etablierten Finanzhäuser Bescheidenheit – und ein wenig das Fürchten

Mit dem Markteintritt von Smartphone-Banken wie Revolut und N26 haben sich die Spielregeln des Geschäfts verändert. Die etablierten Institute müssen sich anpassen. (NZZ)

Wenn Crashpropheten selbst zu Bruchpiloten werden

Sie sagen den Absturz am Aktienmarkt voraus, rechnen mit dem Ende des Euro – der Performance ihrer Fonds hilft das wenig. (Der TS)

Uber’s fairytale of rational competition

In a market which is almost perfectly price elastic, and which has low barriers to entry and is therefore likely to become commodified as a service — it’s hard to see where the slowdown in the ambitions of Uber’s rivals is going to come from, bar a systemic liquidity shock that closes access to capital for several months. (ftalphaville)

Diese Fintechs brechen den Niedrigzinspakt

46 deutsche Banken fordern bereits Negativzinsen von ihren Kunden, auch sonst gibt es kaum noch attraktive Angebote. Darin sehen digitale Angreifer zunehmend eine Chance, um Kunden anzulocken. Was haben sie vor? (FF)

Asset Managers’ BS — Decoded

A handy translation guide to the sales jargon and IR excuses that one family office chief is sick of hearing. (II)

Why private micro-networks could be the future of how we connect

Forget amassing likes or cultivating your online persona. Apps like Cocoon are all about being your true self with just a select few people.

The current social-media model isn’t quite right for family sharing. Different generations tend to congregate in different places: Facebook is Boomer paradise, Instagram appeals to Millennials, TikTok is GenZ central. (WhatsApp has helped bridge the generational divide, but its focus on messaging is limiting). (MIT TechReview)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk

Five Hedge Fund Heads made more than $1 Billion Each Last Year

It’s more than JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid all 56,000 of its investment bank employees, and almost twice as much as gamblers lost in Las Vegas last year. It’s also what 15 hedge fund managers collectively earned in 2019. (Yahoo!finance)

No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The Air

On a strictly mathematical level, engineers know how to design planes that will stay aloft. But equations don’t explain why aerodynamic lift occurs.

There are two competing theories that illuminate the forces and factors of lift. Both are incomplete explanations.

Aerodynamicists have recently tried to close the gaps in understanding. Still, no consensus exists. (ScieAm)

How Big Is That, Though?

Even though I work with maps all the time, it’s hard for me to grasp the size of an area if its bigger than my flat. For example, when reading in the news about a 2400 km² locus swarm that is devastating Kenya, I wondered: How big is that? I wanted to find out, so I first built a tool (scroll down to learn more) and then a map that compares 2400 km² with the size of London:
(Datawrapper) <– CoolTool!

Quanta Magazine Introduces ‘The Map of Mathematics’

What is the state of mathematics today, as mathematicians practice it? Mathematics is too grand a subject to be summarized easily, but Quanta Magazine has developed an online interactive experience that can give you the flavor of the major questions and controversies that animate the field.
If mathematics is the poetry of logic, as Albert Einstein once wrote, then this map can be your guide to all the beauty that mathematics describes. (The Map of Mathematics)

20_06 | 8.Feb.2020

Best Ways to Reach for Value, Whenever it Shines.

While it’s tough to predict when value will outperform, well-constructed, low-cost value strategies are worth sticking with for the long term. (MoSt)

Sprache kann verletzen. Aber sie ist nicht mit Gewalt zu verwechseln.

Hasserfülltes Sprechen ist in aller Munde; pausenlos wird über Zensur debattiert. Doch worüber reden wir eigentlich? Klar ist, es geht im Kern um Sprache. Vergessen geht dabei meist: Ihre Macht wird überschätzt. (NZZ)

You Can Vote. But You Can’t Choose What Is True.

Elections are not a method for finding the truth. They are a method for reaching peaceful compromise between the conflicting desires of different people.

When searching for the truth, the opinions of different people carry different weights. But when it comes to desire, everybody should be treated the same.

In a democracy, the government represents the will of the people. But what happens when the government has the power to systematically manipulate the will of the people? Who then represents who?

(Yuval Noah Harari in NYT)

The Social Media Trap

The problem is worse on social media platforms where we surround ourselves with people from our past. More practically, people would work on riskier but more ambitious projects if they left Instagram. Trapped by the judgment of our peers, we stop taking risks or trusting ourselves. Over time, the shouts of intuition turn into whispers, and soon, quiet. The self is silenced, the crowd screams, and yet, we hold our ear to the cacophony of judgmental noise. (David Perell)

Six ways coronavirus will change our world

  • Reinforce the power of scientific collaboration and the open-sourcing of global threats.
  • Digital quarantines through better information and social credit systems.
  • Reinforce the importance of genomic technologies.
  • Remote everything.
  • Encourage self-sufficiency especially around food, energy and products.
  • Lend support to the nativists, populists, statists and wall-builders. (Exponential View)

Für den nächsten Smalltalk

Art World Reacts to Controversial Tate ‚Head of Coffee‘ Position: ‚This Is Our Reality‘ (ARTnews)

Money Stuff – Matt Levine

Wieder einmal ein Meisterstück von Matt Levine

  • CEOs: My point is that it intersects strangely with normal human behavior. It just … it just sort of makes you awkward at parties, you know?
  • Jeff Bezos: I stew for days when I find out that people I dislike have more Twitter followers than me. Maybe when you’re at the rocket-billionaire level you go around thinking “why does the other rocket billionaire get more tax incentives than I do?”
  • Ray Dalio:
    1. you succeeded in building a meritocracy of ideas, and
    2. whoever has the most money has the best ideas.
  • CitiGroup: Not all that long ago, if you interviewed for a bond trading job at a bank and didn’t swipe some cookies from the canteen on the way out, they might have worried about your aggressiveness. (BBG)

The White House May Impose Classical Style on Federal Buildings

A draft executive order promising to “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” drew a fierce response from the American Institute of Architects. (citylab)

Ist es übertrieben, wenn es mir kalt über den Rücken läuft?

Das beste Bier der Welt: Wie 19 belgische Mönche gegen ihren weltlichen Erfolg kämpfen

Im flämischen Niemandsland brauen die Trappisten von Westvleteren ein Bier mit hervorragendem Ruf. Seit ihr Getränk 2005 Weltruhm erlangt hat, kämpfen die 19 Männer gegen den Schwarzmarkt. Das dürfte sich trotz dem neuen Online-Shop kaum so schnell ändern. (NZZ)

The Best Boardgames of the Acient World

Thousands of years before Monopoly, people were playing games like Senet, Patolli and Chaturanga. (Smithsonian)

20_05 | 1.Feb.2020

Say Goodbye to Banking as We Know It

China is poised to launch the first national digital currency. There will be no counting the disruption.

So is China readying its own Bitcoin? Banish the thought. it’s far bigger than that.

…As Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff notes, technology “is on the verge of disrupting America’s ability to leverage faith in its currency to pursue its broader national interests.” (BBG)

Warren Buffett Is Giving Up on Newspapers

Lee Enterprises is acquiring Berkshire Hathaway Media Group’s publications for $140 million.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is selling its newspapers to publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. for $140 million, a rare admission by the billionaire investor that he views his newspaper business as unsustainable. 

Mr. Buffett, a lifelong newspaper lover, has said for years that Berkshire’s newspaper business declined faster than he expected. (€ WSJ)


Erlöse 2019: knapp $70 Mrd. Um 25% mehr als 2018 und +1.300% seit dem IPO 2012

Zuckerberg: We’re focused on communicating more clearly about what we stand for. One critique of our approach for much of the last decade is that because we wanted to be liked, we didn’t want to communicate our views as clearly, because we worried about offending people. … Our goal for the next decade isn’t to be liked, but understood. In order to be trusted, people need to know what we stand for.

Na dann…

The Germany Shock: The Largest Economy Nobody Understands

In summary, Germany is an outlier, with huge international Trade surpluses that are integral to its GDP — despite high costs of labor, high standards of living, high tax rates, and no good maritime ports — and the most diverse customer base of any Exporter nation.

The only country that looks remotely similar to Germany is Korea, and the last time I saw those two mentioned in the same sentence was when Korea knocked Germany out of the 2018 World Cup. (Conrad Bastable)

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