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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 […]

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2020: The Year of Asset Appreciation

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 […]

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Climate, Coal and China

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 […]

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Where are the Babies?

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 […]

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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 […]

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Grid Reliability

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 […]

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