Monthly Archives: March 2024

Book Bits: 30 March 2024

Enough: Why It’s Time to Abolish the Super-Rich
Luke Hildyard
Summary via publisher (Pluto Press)
The story is all too familiar. The global economy generates immense fortunes for a super-rich elite. Yet at the same time pay stagnates for ordinary workers, food banks proliferate and public services collapse around us. In Enough, Luke Hildyard argues that far from being the hard-working and productive entrepreneurs that they claim to be, the super-rich are an extractive, parasitic force sucking up a vastly disproportionate share of society’s resources – making the rest of us all poorer as a result.

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Eggs-iting For The Easter Holiday

The Capital Spectator is on hiatus over the next several days (with the exception of a new Book Bits column on Saturday, March 30). The usual routine resumes on Monday, April. 1. Meanwhile, have an eggs-tra special holiday!

Macro Briefing: 28 March 2024

* Fed Governor Waller says he’s in “no rush” to cut rates
* Rally in US stocks won’t be disrupted if rate cuts delayed: TS Lombard economist
* China’s surplus of clean energy products depressing prices: Treasury Sec. Yellen
* So-called Buffett Indicator is flashing red for stock market
* Japanese yen falls to 34-year low against US dollar
* Commodities continue to reflect rising price trend this year:

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Floating-Rate And Junk Bonds Lead Fixed Income So Far In 2024

The bond market has struggled to fully recover from the Federal Reserve’s aggressive run of interest-rate hikes in 2022-2023, but pockets of strength remain conspicuous. Within the fixed-income space a degree of relative resilience persists for floating-rate securities, low-rated loan securities and junk bonds, based on year-to-date performance via a set of ETFs through Tuesday’s close (Mar. 26).

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Macro Briefing: 27 March 2024

* US CPI inflation to stay above 3% through mid-year, predicts Garda’s Magnusson
* China’s Xi meets US executives amid US-China tensions
* China industrial profits rebound in first two months of 2024
* The decades-long expansion of US businesses in China is stalling
* US home prices continue to rise at robust year-over-year pace in January
* US Consumer Confidence Index edges up in March, holding in middling range
* Durable goods orders rebound in Feb, including this business-investment proxy:

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Macro Briefing: 25 March 2024

* Can the Fed cut interest rates if the stock market is soaring?
* Resilient economy persuades Fed that US recession risk remains low
* EU launches probe into Meta, Apple and Alphabet with new tech law
* China at ‘fork in the road’ with reforms to boost demand, says IMF chief
* China introduces new ban on US chips in government computers
* Infrastructure’s rise has turned it into a $1 trillion asset class
* US yield curve is inverted for nearly 1-1/2 years, but still no sign of recession:

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Book Bits: 23 March 2024

The Rise of the Algorithms: How YouTube and TikTok Conquered the World
John M. Jordan
Summary via publisher (Penn State U. Press)
The meteoric rise of online video is reshaping the competition for human attention. The Rise of the Algorithms argues that this new technology has changed the way we interact with others, our relationships with public institutions, and our very own behaviors and psyches. In tracing the origins and evolution of online video, John M. Jordan examines the mechanics—and the ethical stakes—of online video platforms, especially YouTube and TikTok but also others, such as Twitch. Tracing the use of algorithms pioneered by Facebook and Google and so successfully exploited by TikTok’s corporate parent, ByteDance, Jordan shows how these platforms now engineer human behavior—with consequences for culture, politics, and identity. Jordan argues that we are at an inflection point. Until now we have proved, as a society, ill-prepared or unwilling to address such problems as the power of digital platforms, the personal cost of viral celebrity, the invasion of privacy, and the proliferation of disinformation.

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