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Come Back to North America, Great Britain!

June 24th, 2016


Brexit shows how globalization can rip apart alliances.  That’s The Price of Prosperity!  Even though the UK’s economy is growing, an increasing number of Brits resent losing control over their country, amid bigger bureaucracies and waves of immigration.  Polls and betting markets were fooled because closet Brexiteers thought it was impolite to admit their support while dining in polite company.  The Trump campaign should be happy; closet Trumpists don’t talk to pollsters either. For now, traders are pounding pound sterling and attacking stock markets across.. || Continue Reading →

5 Factors that Could Turn America into Another Collapsed Empire

June 9th, 2016


Have you ever met an Ottoman?  Or a Habsburg?  Neither have I.  Where did they go?  Those empires ruled much of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.  Nations are just as likely to unravel after periods of prosperity as after periods of depression.  In my just-released The Price of Prosperity, I set out the five factors that unravel countries after they become wealthy.  My widely-shared column in MarketWatch has sparked thousands of comments and was widely shared.  What are the factors:  (1) falling birthrates (2) globalized trade (3) rising debt loads (4) eroding.. || Continue Reading →

Where Have All the Babies Gone?

June 6th, 2016


We used to size up a man by counting his children.  Now we count Rolex watches, six-pack abs, and Instagram followers.  Take a look at my essay in TIME.  America has more golf courses than McDonalds.  Really.  The Real Threat of an Aging Population

Why We’ll Never Build Another Golden Gate

May 27th, 2016


When the Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27, 1937, 200,000 pedestrians strolled and frolicked along its pavement, chomping on 50,000 hot dogs and other treats. In the 1930s it took four years to build this beautiful bridge – while battling fog, rough waters, and the Great Depression. It was completed under budget and ahead of schedule. When no one was willing to finance the bridge, A.P. Giannini, founder of the Bank of Italy, bought up all the bonds. That Bank of Italy grew up to become the Bank of America. It’s a great story, which I tell in New Ideas from Dead Ceos and.. || Continue Reading →

The Time I Beat Johnny Depp: Sneak Preview!

May 19th, 2016


In a small, windowless room inside a huge, nondescript office building a few miles from Lake Michigan, I recorded the audio for my forthcoming book The Price of Prosperity: Why Rich Nations Fail and How to Renew Them. Listen to a sneak preview here. What does it take to read aloud a 330 page book? Twelve mugs of decaf peppermint tea, 6 cups of caffeinated cappuccino, three bowls of steaming minestrone soup, and a willingness to try out different accents and dialects. Though the book focuses on political economy and history, I also discuss the cultural ideas that underpin countries... || Continue Reading →

Take the Deal, Donald

May 13th, 2016


Donald Trump hints that U.S. debt might be renegotiated. I’ve got a better idea. I’ve been imploring the Obama administration to issue super-long term debt, 50 or 100-year bonds. Both The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily have published my plea. Today I’m delighted to report that – Ireland has decided to follow my advice. Not the U.S., but formerly bankrupt Ireland locked in 100-year euro-bonds at a measly rate of 2.35 percent. In my forthcoming book The Price of Prosperity, I argue that politicians cheat our children and grandchildren by focusing on.. || Continue Reading →

Castro, Cruises and Beach Reads

May 2nd, 2016


Cuba welcomes the Carnival Cruise ship Adonia today. It sure beats a raft for escapees. Back in 2008, I penned a novel called The Castro Gene, which featured a young boxer and a megalomaniac hedge fund manager who manipulated financial markets. He bought up shares of Carnival Cruise Lines when he figured out that the U.S. would lift the embargo on Cuba. The Castro Gene back to the Rat Pack era and won some awards. I’m still waiting for the movie! Tell Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Jake Gyllenhaal. You can find the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Gender Fluidity and Disney’s Real Magic

April 18th, 2016


Disney has once again performed a marvelous trick – as good as any magic Mickey ever pulled off while donning a wizard hat and waving his wand. The new Jungle Book movie raked in over $100 million in a weekend, more than the opening numbers for the mega-blockbuster Frozen. So what’s the trick? In both cases, Disney convinced boys that the movies were made for them; while whispering to girls that they must grab a ticket, too. Despite the frequent psychological talk these days about “gender fluidity,” professional marketers know that a large number of girls will shy.. || Continue Reading →

Branding Genius

March 22nd, 2016


When Grf Andrs sailed to America from Hungary in 1957 he was so poor he couldn’t afford an extra vowel in his name. Before immigrating he first had to escape the Nazis, who threw his father into a forced labor camp, and then the wicked Soviet invasion of 1956. In the U.S., the brave and brilliant young man became known as Andy Grove, co-founder and CEO of Intel. With a stirring personal story, it’s no wonder he entitled his autobiography Only the Paranoid Survive. Grove turned out to be a talented engineer and a motivating manager. But he also created one of the greatest.. || Continue Reading →

Peak Beer, Cars, and Football?

March 14th, 2016


The Super Bowl ends when two grinning players sneak up behind their winning coach and dump a vat of Gatorade on his head. But the televised Super Bowl extravaganza runs on paid advertisements for beer and cars. In 2015, for example, car companies bought 12 separate commercial spots at a cost of $4.5 million for every 30 seconds. But now we must ask, “Are Millennials bringing America to the point of peak beer, peak cars, and peak football?” Back in the early 1990s when Joe Montana fired the ball across the goal line, 70 percent of 18-29 year olds chose beer as their favorite.. || Continue Reading →