(Not) Boring Links – September 2015

09.29.2015 By

Our team comes across hundreds of weird and wonderful reads in our daily research. Below are the handful that stood out for us this month.

Not everything below is technically about investing—but everything relates back to investing or decision-making in some way.

 

September Observations

This month, we found ourselves engrossed in reading about the relationship between loose monetary policy and income inequality. This was triggered by Janet Yellen’s remarks in a press conference which left us perplexed:

“Loose monetary policy puts people back to work and reduces income inequality.”

Frankly, we find it difficult to understand the Federal Reserve chairwoman’s logic around that statement. Although the jury’s still out on the long-run impacts of aggressive quantitative easing strategies, evidence seems to support the opposite view: very low interest rates have widened the gap between the richest and the poorest.

The Fed’s low interest rates are increasing inequality


We expect the issue of global inequality to remain pronounced in forthcoming months. It would not surprise us if the political pendulum, which in the 1980s moved away from labour and towards freer market capitalism in western economies, swung back to models focusing on greater redistribution of wealth. Indeed, we are already seeing evidence of this growing sentiment in politics around the world.

This month also saw tensions around the flow of refugees continue to percolate and reach a boiling point in some areas. Europe’s migrant crisis represents the largest flow of refugees since World War II and has evolved into a major moral dilemma for the union. At the same time, a low but surprising number of Americans seem to be embracing anti-immigration policies such as building a massive wall on the border of Mexico. The anti-immigration sentiment points to a noticeable trend of nations regressing inwards instead of embracing more open international stances.

The Syrian refugee crisis explained in one map


But there was at least one finding that did bring us great joy this month:

Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit” which was featured on Brainpickings.


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