Kanban

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Kanban, also known as just-in-time manufacturing, is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing times within the production system, as well as response times from suppliers and to customers.  The origin and development of this system is generally attributed to Japan, largely in the 1960s and 1970s, and to Toyota in particular.  More recently, the concepts … Continued

2020: The Year of Asset Appreciation

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As recessions go, 2020 was clearly different.  At least in aggregate, household net worth increased, instead of experiencing significant economic stress.  The most recent Federal Reserve data indicates that household net worth increased to $122.9 trillion in the fourth quarter, from $114.2 trillion in the year-ago period.  By comparison, during the previous recession, household net … Continued

Climate, Coal and China

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China is putting forth a vision of continuing economic growth in conjunction with a reduction in greenhouse gas pollution.  The plan calls for a peaking in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and net carbon neutrality before 2060.  This may be difficult.  We have previously discussed China’s dependence on coal.  (See our blog dated 2019-2-13). China’s … Continued

Where are the Babies?

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New data for 2020 suggests that there has been a sharp decline in the global birthrate.  Apparently, the combined effects of the pandemic, lockdowns and the global recession that followed, have contributed to a reduction in the world wide fertility rate.  We previously discussed the expected long-term decline in the U.S. birth rate in our … Continued

Diversification

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Investors have long sought to generate investment returns with a variety of objectives, including above average performance and/or consistency.  Over time, investors and their advisors have developed a range of strategies, initially with carefully selected individual securities.  Later, new options emerged through actively managed mutual funds, passively managed Index funds, ETFs, and, more recently, highly … Continued

Grid Reliability

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Recent events relating to power shortages in Texas have raised additional concerns over the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid.  Similar problems last summer in California, triggered by an historic heat wave, have given way to widespread finger pointing and debates over the efficacy and reliability of various generating sources.  It is unlikely that there … Continued

Universal Basic Income for Kids

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Universal Basic Income (UBI) has, in recent years, been the topic of considerable discussion and some experimentation, primarily in Europe, as the answer to poverty, automation and the drudgery of work.  We have previously commented on various proposals and some of the potential benefits and problems.  (See blogs dated 2015-12-17, 2016-11-22, 2018-05-02, 2019-02-21, 2019-07-24 and … Continued

The Crypto Conundrum

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The conundrum facing current and potential investors in crypto currencies is, valuation.  Bitcoin does not derive its value from any assets or earnings.  Hence, the value depends entirely on what an investor is willing to pay for it.  Valuation metrics for more established investment vehicles have been fairly well established. Bond valuations are based on … Continued