Finale: Orthodox Icons – Risky Or Rewarding?

Stepan Shukhvostov (1821-1908). Church of St. Alexis in the Chudov Monastery of the Moscow Kremlin (1866)

Stepan Shukhvostov (1821-1908) Church of St. Alexis, Chudov Monastery, Moscow Kremlin (1866)

Part 3

Alan Greenspan no longer has access to the tools he once used to control the global economy.  Of course he never really did control the global economy, but he did exert a fair bit of influence for a time.

As the elder statesmen of U.S. monetary policy, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker are smart people who are worth listening to on occasion.  Mr. Volcker famously beat the high inflation that had plagued the U.S. for quite some time, and Mr. Greenspan in his heyday received a hagiographical focus unrivaled by any economist before or since.  And yes, that includes Friedman, Keynes or anyone else you might like to throw at the Cowboy (in his humble opinion).

Mr. Volcker is in the thick of things, with little time for public reflection, one might assume.  So of the two that leaves our once-beloved Mr. Greenspan to sit on the porch pondering things.  We might even dare to call him Alan these days.


Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 20:51  Comments Off on Finale: Orthodox Icons – Risky Or Rewarding?  

So Much For Decoupling

Prior to the global economic crisis, there was much talk about the fact that many countries, especially China, had “decoupled” from the United States.  The old saw that “when the U.S. sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold” was no longer true.  Oh well.  Brad Setser has a nice write-up on the state of things on his blog over at the CFR.

It wasn’t long ago that we said duodenal ulcers were basically uncurable.  The Cowboy had a couple of them.  Stress reduction, antacids and milk were your only solutions.  It was only in the 1990’s that we realized they were caused by bacteria and very treatable.  So much for conventional wisdom.  And so much for decoupling.  We’re all in this boat together.

(Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan)

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 18:44  Comments Off on So Much For Decoupling  

A Tale Of Two Outfits

Part 2

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  Well, not really.  It was just fascinating times.  Just like now.

The Cowboy has been fortunate enough to work with a number of interesting outfits over the years.  Some liked complexity while others eschewed it.  Once upon a time, the Cowboy was working on a ranch in London – Bishopsgate in the City, for those who care.

As an aside, there used to be a sandwich shop in Leadenhall Market, just down the street.  It was run by an Italian.


Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 17:25  Comments Off on A Tale Of Two Outfits  

So Much For A Swedish Model

Part 1

The Cowboy has been ruminatin’ on the U.S. bailout of the financial institutions that was leaked last weekend, and formally announced on Monday.  The markets were clearly pleased.

What to say?


Published in: on March 28, 2009 at 10:32  Comments (1)  

A Samba for Obama or a Hula for Lula?

It’s been a Brazilian weekend.  Our favorite Hawaiian and the shoeshine-boy-turned-president met today at the White House.  The chemistry was apparently quite good.  Both men come from broken families, were raised without their fathers, and in the most unlikely of stories, became presidents of their respective countries.


Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 22:13  Comments Off on A Samba for Obama or a Hula for Lula?  

Baden on My Mind

The market had a good week.  But the Cowboy does not think it’s time for celebration yet.  It still seems that real recovery will take a while, and that the pain may worsen before it gets better.  Remember that equity markets are volatile and leading indicators.  Just as it is difficult to blame poor short-term performance on a president, it is imprudent to forecast the end of all our economic troubles after a good week.  So walk with a little lighter step this weekend, but know that there is more hard work to do.

How do we dance through difficult times?  Let Baden Powell show you how with a little Samba Triste.


Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 16:46  Comments Off on Baden on My Mind  

Lula the Capitalist

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the much-discussed center-left president of Brazil, wrote an interesting opinion piece the other day.  If you do not know his story, it is a wonderful rags-to-power tale worthy of a motion picture.  The Cowboy found the column strikingly practical and market-oriented, with a hearty dash of the kind of love-of-humanity stuff that drives the best social democrats.  Brazil has had a long history of protectionism in its trade policies, making his words and his country’s liberalizing actions over the past decade all the more impressive.  You can listen to the next post while you read it. (Should be up in a few minutes)

Published in: on March 13, 2009 at 15:41  Comments Off on Lula the Capitalist  

Rebounds That Don’t

John Kay perfectly outlines what the Cowboy has been thinking since the outset of the current financial crisis.

Money quote:

“The analogue of the 1929 Wall Street crash is not the 2007 credit crunch, but the bursting of the New Economy bubble in 2000.”

Published in: on March 11, 2009 at 17:41  Comments Off on Rebounds That Don’t  

M&A Is Dead. Long Live M&A.

The rumors of its demise are grossly exaggerated it would seem.

Merck on Monday announced an agreed $41bn takeover of its New Jersey rival, Schering-Plough..”  (via FT)

“Roche Holding AG has sweetened its offer for Genentech Inc by about 2 percent to $46.7 billion..” (via Reuters)

And a little over a month ago:

Pfizer on Monday unveiled a $68bn takeover of Wyeth, reasserting its flagging position as the world’s largest pharmaceuticals group and paving the way for a fresh bout of consolidation across the sector.” (via FT)


Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 15:42  Comments Off on M&A Is Dead. Long Live M&A.  

Popular Populist Pugilists

Part 2 (final)

Populism.  Definition (thorough but still needs work).

Are both sides capable?  If you look at politics as a purely bipolar experience where the poles are dictated by someone other than yourself, and if those poles can be loosely called “left” and “right “, is it always the case that the populists are only on the “other” side?


Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 15:56  Comments Off on Popular Populist Pugilists