September 21, 2017

Perspective

NYT – Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in Brazil. Few Jobs Have Come. – David Barboza 9/20

  • “Before the Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn pledged to spend $10 billion and create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, the company made a similar promise in Brazil.”
  • “At a news conference in Brazil, Foxconn officials unveiled plans to invest billions of dollars and build one of the world’s biggest manufacturing hubs in the state of São Paulo. The government had high expectations that the project would yield 100,000 jobs.”
  • “Six years later, Brazil is still waiting for most of those jobs to materialize.”
  • “Foxconn’s experience in Brazil and other parts of the world illustrates how difficult it has been for it to replicate its enormously successful Chinese manufacturing model elsewhere.”
  • “In China, Foxconn has built vast factories backed by large government subsidies. Its operations — assembling iPhones for Apple, Kindles for Amazon and PlayStations for Sony — employ legions of young assembly-line workers who often toil 60 hours a week for about $2.50 an hour. Labor protests in China are rare, or quashed swiftly.”
  • “But the model does not translate easily to other countries, where Foxconn must navigate different social, political and labor conditions.”

VC – These Maps Show Where a Dollar Goes Furthest in the U.S. – Jeff Desjardins 9/20

WSJ – Some NYC K-12 Schools Cross $50,000-a-Year Mark – Leslie Brody 9/18

  • “Five years ago, parents gulped when the price for attending some private K-12 schools in New York City hit $40,000 a year.”
  • “Now, a few have crossed the $50,000 threshold.”
  • “The cost of private education in the city has long risen faster than inflation, and is almost double the national average for such schools. Median tuition and fees at Manhattan private schools climbed to $44,050 last school year, up 23% from $35,867 five years earlier, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.”
  • “The charges, many private-school leaders say, don’t cover the full cost of the rigorous educations provided. Their customers want small classes, arts, extracurricular activities, intensive college advising and teachers with advanced degrees. Leaders of these institutions say most depend on fundraising to fill the yearly shortfalls, in addition to holding capital campaigns for new construction.”
  • “Drivers of mounting tuitions include teacher salaries, health insurance, technology upgrades, more services for students with learning disabilities, and maintenance for expanded facilities, school leaders said.”

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Medium – Starting Your Day on the Internet Is Damaging Your Brain – Srinivas Rao 9/18

  • “If we start our days by checking email, instagram, or the internet, we keep reinforcing the behavior of distraction until it becomes our new habit. Some of the smartest behavioral scientist and designers in the world have worked really hard to make sure that their products are addictive, habit forming, and only provide you with a temporary sense of fulfillment so the you are always jonesing for your next fix. As Mark Manson so brilliantly said, cell phones are the new cigarettes, And a significant amount of what’s on the internet is nothing more than junk food for the brain.”

A Wealth of Common Sense – Social Proof in the Markets – Ben Carlson 9/19

  • “Social proof is the idea that we look to others to figure out what the correct behavior should be. We follow narratives instead of evidence. It feels more comfortable to go along with the crowd when making tough decisions because we look at what others are doing in times of uncertainty.”
  • I’m always surprised how people latch on to a narrative because it sounds right, regardless of its likelihood or the conditions that would have to exist to make it so.
  • “Being right is easy. How you handle being wrong is the true test of any successful investor or decision-maker.”
  • “Many investors assume they must be right no matter what the market does.”
  • “‘I’m not wrong, I’m just early. It’s the market that must be wrong and all of those other idiots, but surely not me.'”
  • “One of the most fascinating aspects of the markets today is that most investors assume everyone else must be crazy. Those who have been sitting on the sidelines in cash assume everyone in the markets at current valuation levels must be nuts. And everyone who is sitting on gains from being invested in the markets assumes that those who are worried must be nuts because they’ve missed out. Maybe everyone is right (or no one) depending on the time frame.”
  • Just because something should be so, doesn’t mean it will be so.

Environment / Science

Market Watch – Hurricane Maria upgraded to Category 5 as it smashes into Caribbean – Ciara Linnane 9/19

Health / Medicine

NYT – Playing Tackle Football Before 12 Is Tied to Brain Problems Later – Ken Belson 9/19

  • “Athletes who began playing tackle football before the age of 12 had more behavioral and cognitive problems later in life than those who started playing after they turned 12, a new study released on Tuesday showed.”
  • “The findings, from a long-term study conducted by researchers at Boston University, are likely to add to the debate over when, or even if, children should be allowed to begin playing tackle football.”
  • “In phone interviews and online surveys, the researchers found that players in all three groups who participated in youth football before the age of 12 had a twofold ‘risk of problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive function’ and a threefold risk of ‘clinically elevated depression scores.'”
  • “’The brain is going through this incredible time of growth between the years of 10 and 12, and if you subject that developing brain to repetitive head impacts, it may cause problems later in life,’ Robert Stern, one of the authors of the study, said of the findings.”
  • “A growing number of scientists argue that because the human brain develops rapidly at young ages, especially between 10 and 12, children should not play tackle football until their teenage years.”

China

WSJ – Too Little, Too Late? China Can’t Seem to Get a Grip on Fintech Regulation – Chuin-Wei Yap 9/18

Europe

FT – Norway’s oil fund tops $1tn in assets for first time – Richard Milne 9/19

  • “Norway’s oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has topped $1tn in assets for the first time in its history.”
  • “The oil fund, which started in 1996, reached NKr7,811bn ($1.001tn) in market value on Tuesday. Officials confirmed it was the first time it has breached the trillion-dollar barrier.” 
  • “In a country of just 5.2m people, the oil fund has been an extraordinary success, growing faster than ministers imagined to become one of the world’s largest investors, owning on average 1.3% of every listed company in the world.”
  • “The fund was set up to help manage Norway’s oil wealth for future generations by taking all the revenues the state receives from petroleum and investing it in financial assets abroad.”
  • “The fund has grown at a dizzying pace, with its assets rising 13-fold since 2002.”
  • “At the end of 2016, about half of the fund’s assets were due to the returns on its investments, approximately 45% due to inflows from oil and gas revenues, and the rest due to currency movements.”
  • “The oil fund has undergone significant changes over its history. It started by investing purely in bonds but now holds close to 65% of its assets in shares.”
  • “It made its first investment in property in 2011 and has now built up a $30bn portfolio, mostly in the US and Europe.”

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