Friday, January 05, 2007

Reads of the week

Some of the day's top news items to lead off some of the week's most interesting stories.

From the Financial Times, "Thailand stocks fall as anxieties deepen".

The New Year's bombings and the ensuing confusion over who is responsible for these acts of terror are adding to worry over Thailand's stability. This drama follows closely on the heels of December's market drop, when Thailand's military government decided to impose - and quickly withdraw - restrictions on foreign share investment.

"Bush claims power to open Americans' mail without warrants", the Christian Science Monitor reports. It was wise to hand over our remaining freedoms to this cabal. Makes Nixon look better everyday.

Onto more positive news. The Australian and FT Business report, "Falling births not a wealth hazard". I found this interesting because this is something I've been mulling over lately.

How many times have you heard someone say, "the demographics of country X are very worrying. At this rate, the young will be outnumbered by the old and the economy will suffer for these reasons..."? Yet at the same time, we know that reproductive rates tend to decline over time in the more advanced, industrialized economies.

In the conventional thinking, this poses a great problem. As the article points out, population growth is equated with economic growth. And I suppose it's very correct to worry over troubling demographic trends if you are trying to prop up the great social welfare programs implemented by those same "rich nations". But is that logical thinking or is the push to increase populations a desperate attempt to keep up with a grand ponzi scheme?

Read the article and get another, much needed perspective.

Jim Rogers (whose views on population are questioned in the aforementioned article) is the subject of yet another profile, this time in the New York Sun (via The Daily Telegraph). Read all about the The Indiana Jones of Investment.

The changing face of retail. "Now that Sears and HBC have new owners, what's the plan?", asks Globeandmail.com reporter Marina Strauss. How will Hudson's Bay Co. and Sears Canada change strategy now that they are being guided by US businessmen who do not hail from the retail arena?

Sears is controlled by hedge fund magnate Ed Lampert and Hudson's Bay by one Jerry Zucker, described by another Canadian outlet as, "a South Carolina industrialist and investor".

Creativity and entrepreneurship. One man's view of what it takes to be a creative and successful entrepreneur. Plus, a profile of another man who seems to fit that bill: India's MCX mogul, Jignesh Shah.

FT highlights the returns made in Argentina's debt warrants in their "Sparkling Trades" series.

A reader and contributer at The Oil Drum takes us back in time to the "Beginnings of UK 'Oil Age'". Well done.

And an article from Bloomberg.com that I found very cool. "Unlucky Pianist Martins Conducts $1 Concert at Carnegie Hall". Enjoy.