Saudi Arabia, Oil and Predatory Pricing

According to Wikipedia, predatory pricing is a pricing strategy where a product or service is set at a very low price, intending to drive competitors out of the market, or create barriers to entry for potential new competitors.  The objective of this strategy is to eliminate enough competitors to allow monopoly pricing in the future. … Continued

“Excellence is a Warped Ambition”

This declaration was part of a justification on the part of Greece’s Education Minister, Aristides Baltas, for his plan to return control of Greek universities to students. This may work for Greek higher education, or not, but investors would be well advised to continue to carefully consider management when committing funds.  The importance of management … Continued

Politics and the “Silly Season”

According to Wikipedia, in the United Kingdom and in some other places, the “silly season” is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous stories in the media. In U.S. politics and life styles, the “silly season” is the period from early summer until the first week of October … Continued

Successful Investing

Successful investing is not rocket science.  Morgan Housel, a columnist at the Motley Fool, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Live below your means.  Save the difference.  Invest in a low-cost, diversified portfolio.  Have a long-term outlook and be patient as compound interest works its magic.” This is an exceptionally clear and concise guide … Continued

Irresponsible Lending

With major defaults looming for Greece and Puerto Rico, and concern regarding Illinois and numerous U. S. cities, much has been made of profligate borrowers.  All of this coming after the major collapse in the U. S. residential mortgage market. How about irresponsible lending?  Did anyone really believe that lending money to homeowners, without adequate … Continued

The Law of Unintended Consequences

The Chinese stock market has drawn world attention from the recent sudden, sharp, and violent drop in share prices.  Yesterday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission announced prohibitions from certain investors selling shares of stock.  The objective, of course, is to stem the selling pressure which is causing stock prices to plummet.  The desired effect is … Continued

The Supreme Court and Public Opinion

Does the Supreme Court look at public opinion polls?  This is not a new question, but recent decisions may reflect, in the opinion of some, an increased awareness of the “big picture” as opposed to a literal reading of the constitution. This is a question that is not likely to be resolved, but will probably … Continued

Fighting the Last War

We often criticize governments and armies for getting ready to “fight the last war.”  To some degree, they all do it.  It is inevitable and reflects a mistaken assessment of what the next war will be like.  And this is likely to continue until someone comes up with a reliable method of predicting the future. … Continued