Survival of the biggest: digital giants become too powerful for consumers’ good
- get consumers hooked on their own platforms;
- habit of gobbling up promising firms before they become a threat.
Not what it used to be: declining value of American universities
- in 1962 one cent of every dollar spent went on higher education and now the figure has tripled, but additional value has not been created to match this extra spending;
- graduates earned no more in 2007 than they did in 1979;
- young graduates facing decline in earnings and a lot more debt.
The Obama doctrine: to avoid costly entanglement in his second term
- “come home and rebuild America”: fix failing schools, potholed roads, snail-like internet networks, or a broken immigrant system;
- present but not deeply involved;
- compared with the 1990s America looks far lonelier: EU cannot offer significant help, Russia intensely suspicious, and China is a distilled essence of self-interest.
The dust settles: hints of reform from China’s new leaders
- from “demographic dividend” to “reform dividend” to boost development;
- state-owned monopolies, the biggest one? Li did not say whether he agreed but did speak the need for reform of household-registration system and land management;
- talked for years, but progress has been sluggish. how many will support him?
- far less swiftly in foreign affairs, not sure who will replace Dai Bingguo.
Alone at the top: Putin initiated high-profile battles against corruption
- anti-corruption purge would make Putin weaker, not stronger;
- after held in power in a decade, the “typical syndrome of an ageing general secretary;”
- now less faith in counsel and more certainty in his own judgment, “think he understands the situation, but in fact it can be quite incomprehensible for him.”
Getting a grip: Gary Gorton’s new book on financial crisis
- systemic financial crises are the result of a broad loss of confidence in bank debt;
- should apply Livingston doctrine to Lehman Brothers in 2008, where the subsequent panics were so devastating;
- it might be true that the Dodd-Frank act does not deal adequately with the liquidity cause of crises, but his alternatives seem impractical.