Daily Archives: July 27, 2015

How Can Greece Take Charge?

By James Surowiecki – Greek olive oil is often described as the best in the world. Yet sixty per cent of Greek oil is sold in bulk to Italy, which then resells it at a hefty markup.

Greece should be processing and selling that oil itself, and similar stories could be told about feta cheese and yogurt; a 2012 McKinsey study suggested that food products could add billions to Greece’s G.D.P.

It produces a large number of scientists and engineers, but it spends little on research and development, so talent migrates abroad. And there are other ways that Greece could capitalize on its climate and its educated workforce; as James Galbraith suggests, it’s an ideal location for research centers and branches of foreign universities. more> http://tinyurl.com/njczr8m

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It’s Hard to Bet Against Houses

By Matt Levine – For most products, the standard economic story is less about not buying and more about selling. It’s a story of competition: When prices are high, someone comes in and creates more of the product.

This should work in the stock market, too. If stock prices are high, then someone should make more stock and sell it. But there are behavioral inefficiencies that prevent that. The standard story of the U.S. stock market right now is :

  • Stocks seem expensive, and
  • Companies keep buying their own stocks.

That’s weird! Companies can make stock. If they were rational, when prices were high, they’d do that, and then sell the stock.

But you know who else can make stock? Short sellers. Short selling creates new shares of stock, allowing supply to increase in response to high prices.

It lets stock markets be competitive: If stock prices are too high, and companies won’t make more stock, then you can make stock and sell it. more> http://tinyurl.com/o7g7kad

The Rebellious and Revolutionary Life of Galileo

BOOK REVIEW

I, Galileo, Author: Bonnie Christensen.

By Maria Popova – In 1564, Galileo Galilei was born into a world with no clocks, telescopes, or microscopes — a world that was believed to be the center of the universe, orbited by the sun and the moon and the stars.

By the time he died seventy-seven years later, his ideas had planted the seed for the most significant scientific revolution in human history. In addition to his most notorious astronomical discoveries, which challenged centuries of religious dogma by dethroning Earth as the center of the universe and nearly cost him his life, Galileo also invented modern timekeeping, created the microscope, inspired Shakespeare, and even provided a metaphorical model for understanding how culture evolves. more> http://tinyurl.com/o8uj8y7

No Wonder Insurers Want to Merge

By Megan McArdle – Why is the insurance industry consolidating?

Lots of reasons.

First of all, heavily regulated industries thrive on consolidation. These companies have a lot of regulatory overhead, first of all for compliance, and second of all for lobbying.

The bigger you are, the easier it is to afford a team of experts to make sure that you understand all the pertinent regulations, and a second team of experts to prevent legislators and bureaucrats from burdening you with a lot more pertinent regulations. These are largely fixed costs, and merging reduces them.

Getting bigger also makes it harder for legislators to refuse to return your phone calls. more> ttp://tinyurl.com/opv6kmy