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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 →

Does Homeland Matter for Working Women?

March 2nd, 2016


Does culture matter in economics? Of course! Some people care about racking up overtime hours; others care more about getting home to watch ESPN. Some families and some countries encourage women to get a job; others urge them to stay at home. An intriguing new study by Cornell’s Francine Blau shows that women who immigrate to the U.S. bring “old country” biases with them. Their homeland’s attitude impacts their desire to work. For example, women who come to the U.S. from Austria soon work even more hours than U.S.-born females. But those from Pakistan work about 35.. || Continue Reading →

Fed shouldn’t have demonstrated that kind of arrogance

February 25th, 2016

Fed shouldn’t have demonstrated that kind of arrogance

February 2016 – Click above to see video

Which Way Does the Curve Bend?

February 22nd, 2016


Healthcare inflation has been tame in recent years. The White House salutes Obamacare, and chief economic adviser Jason Furman argues that the program “bent the cost curve” down. Critics credit the weak economic recovery: it was hard for doctors and hospitals to jack up prices when the economy was lumbering through the Great Recession. Spending on prescription drugs was almost flat in the years from 2010 to 2013. That was great news for government budgeteers who tremble at the $40 trillion hole in Medicare’s unfunded liabilities. But the good news may be over. Warning.. || Continue Reading →