Sunday, January 19, 2020




Fareed Zakaria's show, GPS ("GPS" actually stands for "Global Public Square") is the best, and more-or-less the only source of international news and commentary on network or cable television.

It is on Sundays on CNN.

Today's show (Jan 19 >> 2020-01-19) featured several international stories that have been under-reported in the US: overwhelmed by US domestic television impeachment news (and by the lack of international news generally).


There has been a major shake-up in the Russian government in the last few days, with Medvedev resigning as Prime Minister, and becoming a deputy to Putin;  a new Prime Minister taking office; a new constitution in the making; and a whole lot of other changes going on, about which little has been reported in the US.

(There is also a story in the WSJ, but the link is behind a "register/login" firewall.  The NYT article above may also be behind a "register/login" firewall, but I am inside so I cannot tell.)


Fareed believes that the US / China trade deal was a big win for China and that Trump caved (presumably to avoid economic disruption on the eve of the impeachment trial followed by the US election.)

(There is also an article Fareed wrote in the Washington Post a few days ago, "Why Trump Caved on China", but the link is behind a "register/login" firewall.)


There is currently a factional war in Libya. Russia and Turkey have brokered a temporary truce and an on-going summit between  the parties. (This story, curiously, was entirely in the bottom scroll, not part of the discussion.)


A former Prime Minister of Australia suggested that the climate changes which underpin the devastating fires (and less well known severe storms) in Australia, are leading indicators of events that could befall  the US, which has similar possibilities of climate change causing ever more severe fires in California (and storms in Florida), areas with similar climate to corresponding areas in Australia.


Fareed is supporting an effort in crowd-sourced prediction.

There were also two items in the show that I am less enthusiastic about:


Fareed discussed a (somewhat dubious, in my opinion) financial forecast which  claimed that whatever investment strategy was the most successful during a decade, would not be the most successful during the following decade. In the 2010-2020 decade FANG was the most successful. The prediction is simply that it will not be the most successful in the 2020-2030 period. 

I am confident that it will be possible to interpret the data in 2030 to validate this claim. However, as a prediction it is necessary to be very specific as to how the "prediction" was made, and how it is to be tested.  

I am dubious about the methodology and value of the claim, not the possibility that it could be justified -- (if anyone even remembers it in 10 years -- it's always safe to make a prediction that is not likely to be remembered when it is time to test it.) 

Currently the FANG stocks are benefiting from the exponential growth of digital technology (eXtended Reality) and the benefits of scale that currently favor the biggest technology  companies to grow the fastest.  For the FANG stocks to falter any of the following could be the cause. 
  • The economy runs out of money (at the rate they are growing -- $1 Trillion after a few decades since founding -- they would each be worth at least  $30T to $50 Trillion by 2030; collectively that could be more than a quarter of a quadrillion dollars - $250,000,000,000,000.[*]
  • New technology causes a young company to suddenly overtake older technology companies -- this requires a "failure to execute" on the part of the FANG as they are currently trying to lead US innovation; 
  • A rise to dominance of Chinese or other non-US companies and economies -- this could occur if the US administration continues to look backward, supporting declining technologies, rather than supporting across the board innovation, including improved education across the country.


A commercial for cheese showed a young boy express disgust over a meal of fresh salmon, and delight over cheese & tacos.  I'm perfectly fine with good cheese and good tacos, but it is a dis-service to show and advertise disgust over other, healthy food.

1,000 thousand
1,000,000 = million
1,000,000,000 = billion
1,000,000,000,000 = trillion
1,000,000,000,000,000 = quadrillion
$ 250,000,000,000,000 = a quarter of a quadrillion dollars

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