Tuesday, April 26, 2016

$7.13 Trillion Invested in Green Economy

source: Earthday.org
Last week on Earth Day, I heard some impressive news from my friends at Ethical Markets. According to Ethical Markets' Green Transition Scoreboard, $7.13 trillion has been invested in a green economy.

The Green Transition Scoreboard tracks investments in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Life Systems, Green Construction and Corporate Green R&D with the following totals as of 2016:

In a press release announcing these figures and the 2016 GTS report, "Ending Externalities: full-Spectrum Accounting Clarifies Transition Management", Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets, futurist, evolutionary economist and author - including of The Power of Yin (Cosimo Books) is quoted as follows:

“The upward trend in investments since 2007 aligns with our recommendation to invest at least 10% of institutional portfolios directly in companies driving the global Green Transition,” says Henderson. Updating strategic asset allocation models serves both as opportunities and as risk mitigation. Excluding government investments to the extent possible, the $7.13 trillion in private investments and commitments as of 2015 puts private investors on track to reach $10 trillion in green sector investments by 2020."

This is great news for the green economy and for the future of a healthy and sustainable planet.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Panama Papers Explained with Piggy Banks

In Vox, a media website that explains the news and the world around us, published an interesting article 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask about the Panama Papers   explaining the context of the Panama Papers and the meaning of tax havens. Also, instructive is another article in Vox:  The Panama Papers leak, explained with an adorable comic about piggy bank (click on above video.)

Although both articles are enlightening and instructive, they don't offer the full picture: yes, illegal tax avoidance should be punished, but what about tax planning for multinational companies, and also for private individuals, which is often allowed in nearly every developed economy? At what point is the use of tax planning and the ensuing legal tax structures unethical, and who determines that something is unethical?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gyrovagues and Why People Vote for Trump

The media in the US, but also here in Holland where I currently am, have generally been very dismissive about the Donald Trump campaign: initially they ignored Trump, then they underestimated him and now it seems they don't want to understand the reasons voters are attracted by his message. Too little has been written about why he has been able to defy the odds and is close to becoming the Republican Presidential nominee or else causing the implosion of the Republican party. At a later date, I plan to come up with my own analysis of the Trump phenomenon, but for now want to share with you a fascinating piece, How to Legally Own Another Person, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of bestseller, The Black Swan. The below excerpt will be a bit longer than usual, but I believe important enough to do so - with thanks to Mr. Taleb's work.

In this article, Mr. Taleb starts describing the Gyrovagues, who, in the early Middle Ages, were " gyrating and roaming monks without any affiliation to any institution.....The gyrovagues were unpopular with the church, banned by the council of Chalcedon in the Fifth Century, then again by the second council of Nicaea about three hundred years later..................Why were they banned?

The End of the Chinese Miracle?

The mainstream forecasts for the Chinese economy have been bullish for years till the Chinese stock market hit a wall last year: since then Wall Street and other analysts seem to be gyrating between bearish and bullish.

Maybe rather than forecasting what could happen, let's look at the reality on the ground, such as the China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI), an index that tracks contractual and spot-market rates for shipping containers from major ports in China to 14 regions around the world.

According to Wolf Street, "....the China Containerized Freight Index has.....