The Greek Dilemma

The problem, in short, is that Greece cannot meet its financial obligations in a timely manner and, perhaps, not at all.  Negotiations with Greece’s creditors are at an impasse and both sides are engaged in a high stakes game of chicken. Neil Irwin, a senior economic correspondent of The New York Times, recently commented on … Continued


On April 8, 2015, Stratfor, a geopolitical research institution, reported the April 7th dispatch of the U.S. State Department Counselor, Dr. Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., to Caracas, Venezuela, following Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro’s public request for a meeting between ambassadors of the two countries. This meeting directly preceded the Seventh Summit of the Americas, hosted … Continued

Germany’s Problem With Greece’s Debts

J. Paul Getty (1892-1976) provided an excellent summary of Germany’s problem with Greece’s debts.  “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem.  If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.” With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how this issue plays out over time. All comments and suggestions … Continued

Greece is Stuck

A great deal of speculation surrounds the financial and political crisis gripping Greece.  The country’s politicians have mismanaged government finances for years and while a brief reprieve was given by the European Union a few years ago, the problems continue to crop up.  In simple terms, the country has been spending more than it takes … Continued

Easing To Create Momentum

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced yesterday plans to begin a $70 billion monthly bond-buying program (also known as Quantitative Easing) beginning in March of 2015.  The monetary stimulus program is expected to last until at least September of 2016.  This means that over the next 18 months, roughly $1.26 trillion will be pumped into … Continued

Oil, Inflation, Interest Rates, and Uncertainty

The recent and relatively precipitous decrease in the price of oil is likely to lead to a period of adjustment and uncertainty.  Markets typically have not liked uncertainty.  This suggests that investors are likely to be subjected to increased market volatility until there is greater visibility relating to the economic and geopolitical impact of the … Continued

Cuba and Investors

Cuba is essentially a dependent country, in that it has been unable to generate enough export income to fund a minimal level of imports. Over the last 50 years, Russia has been a major supporter and, more recently, Venezuela has helped, primarily with bargain oil. Both of these countries are facing increasing difficulties at home, … Continued

You Can’t Eat Oil

For most of the period following World War II, political and investment decisions have been predicated on the assumption that oil reserves were limited and that shortages and price increases were the most likely long-term risk to an increasingly energy dependent society. Recent weakness in oil prices suggest that the expectation of shortages, particularly in … Continued

Will China Back Down in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong, the former British colony of 7.2 million people, has seen over a million pro-democracy protesters take to the streets in the city’s central business district over the last week.  The protesters want a universal election, “one person, one vote”, and Beijing still holds firm ground against this proposal.  The root issue of the … Continued

The World’s Policeman?

A recent Wall Street Journal review of a new book by Aiyaz Husain, “Mapping the End of Empire”, brings to mind the days of Britain’s role as the World’s Policeman.  “Pax Britannica” was a period of relative peace in Europe and the World (1815-1914), during which the British Empire became the global hegemon and adopted … Continued

The Army, Islamists or War Lords

These seem to be the choices for many citizens in the Middle East. Over the last few years the world has seen numerous instances of bullets trumping ballots, leaving a trail of human misery. Investors are not well positioned to address these issues. However, while hoping for the best, investing, particularly by fiduciaries, requires an … Continued

Africa – a new beginning?

Lost in the hoopla of Obamacare website failures, government shutdowns and the Detroit Tigers playoff chase, are economic developments that deserve greater attention and scrutiny. One of the services we subscribe to, Stratfor Global Intelligence, has recently been publishing essays regarding prospective positive developments on the African continent. This region is known for its rich … Continued