When robots and automation have taken over not only the agriculture and manufacturing jobs but even the high-level service jobs, who will drive consumption? Will the economy stagnate? These are the questions posed by Martin Ford in his challenging, important and well-researched book, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future.
The “barbell” portfolio has long been considered an investment strategy. Since his fame after the 2010 publication of the book The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb has often been associated with the strategy. Recent research illustrates the critical connection between the barbell, core-satellite portfolios and safety-first financial planning – and how advisors can improve on using standard deviation as a measure of risk.
For many years “alpha” – outperformance of the market on a risk-adjusted basis – was the Holy Grail of investment. Almost all money managers claimed they could produce it. It turned out that few could. Now a new Holy Grail: diversification. But there is little agreement as to what it means.
Depending on whom you ask, inequality is driven by globalization, tax policies, crony capitalism or some other macro-economic force. But what if something more sinister is preventing poor people from advancing?
Has the institution of the Nobel Prize in economics been a cause of the global economic woes of the last 20 years – its financial crises, its economic slowdowns and its increasing intra-national inequalities? In their recent book, The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn, authors Avner Offer and Gabriel Söderberg make a good, if somewhat haphazard, case that it has.
Can options cost-effectively enhance investment returns? The answer depends partly on whether the investment manager takes an active view and partly on whether the options can be used efficiently to address an investor’s risk preferences.