Episode #13: Zachary Karabell joins me to discuss “Inside Money.”

In his new book Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power, the prolific Zachary Karabell uses the history of Brown Brothers Harriman to follow the arc of American political economy, from the muscular capitalism of the early generations of the Brown family in the 19th century, to their maturation as genteel private bankers in the 20th century, to the sense of service of the BBH partners when they were regularly called to Washington from the 1930s through the 1960s. It is a (mostly) positive tale about American history, American finance, American economic growth and innovation.  That makes it …

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Dividend Investor (with apologies to A. Sillitoe)

I’ve been arguing in favor of business investing through the stock market for decades now. The underlying principal is that distributable and distributed cashflows are the tangible manifestation of a successful business, especially in the most common instance where we do not have a controlling packet of the company. Most stock market investors are not Warren Buffett; instead, they are minority shareholders in an enterprise controlled by others. In that circumstance, investors should expect cash on the barrel, as one might in any other successful business endeavor such as real estate or a privately held enterprise. Obviously, start-ups, early-stage companies, …

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NBN Interview with Timothy Frye on his Weak Strongman

Vladimir Putin is not the unconstrained, all-powerful boogeyman he is made out to be in the popular Western media. So says Timothy Frye, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University in his new book, Weak Strongman: The Limits of Power in Putin’s Russia (Princeton UP, 2021). Drawing on more than three decades of research, and reams of data from within Russia itself, Frye depicts a “personal autocrat”, but one subject to numerous constraints and trade offs. And the shows of force we have seen in recent years, from his treatment of opposition figures to the planning for the upcoming election, …

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Equity duration: now is the “time.”

As a cashflow-oriented investor, I’ve been focused on equity duration for a while. Now others are beginning to catch on as well. Zero-Hedge may not be your cup of political tea, but it does have serious investing content, in this case a piece from data shop called VariantPerception. Their brief piece on equity duration can be seen here.  My case for using equity duration begins at the 22 minute mark of the Keep Calm and Carry On episode that dropped yesterday. And posts from May 12, 2021, November 29, 2018, and November 1, 2018.

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Episode #12: Rising rates and the dividend investor. Fear not.

After four decades of declining interest rates, and widespread meddling in the risk-signaling mechanism of the US 10-Year Treasury Note, stock investors are justifiably confused by the prospect of rising rates. What’s it mean, particularly for income-oriented stock investors? In this episode, I try to clear the air and simplify the confusing narrative about rising rates and dividend-paying stocks.

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The power of narrative economics….

A recent New Yorker article by Charles Duhigg ties together nicely several threads of emerging finance that are worthy of notice. The first is the power of narrative economics (and finance) championed by Robert Shiller. My review of his 2019 book by that name appeared on the New Books Network. Shiller’s argument stands in stark contrast to the orthodox model of classical economics. The second is that investment bubbles of the type we are now seeing with SPACs can and have in the past left behind substantial technological and financial innovation after the bubble has burst and much money lost. …

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NBN Interview with William Nordhaus

Can classical economics help figure out climate change and support policies that slow global warming?  Yale Sterling Professor of Economics William Nordhaus thinks so. In his new book, The Spirit of Green: The Economics of Collisions and Contagions in a Crowded World (Princeton UP, 2021), Nordhaus tackles the “externality” that is pollution and carbon emissions. By making several adjustments to how we treat this externality in economic terms, it can be brought back into the “system” whereby sensible regulation, market relations, and innovation can lead to markedly lower levels of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The most important of those adjustments is getting the price of …

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NBN Interview with Louis Nelson

Louis Nelson’s Mosaic: War, Monument, Mystery weaves together a personal memoir, a history of the Korean War and its aftermath, and the tale of how the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington DC came to be. The result is a fascinating portrait of one of the late 20th century’s most important designers. Listen to the New Books Network interview here.

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