Monday, September 29, 2014

Walter Isaacson: Where Innovation Comes From

Today's biggest innovations are coming from the combination of human inspiration and computer-processing power. From WSJ.

Brad Delong on Robots

The rise of the robots.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. Raises $70M, Preps for IPO

From WSJ.

Along with the healthy lifestyle and cleaning products, which will soon include formula for babies and beauty products for moms, the startup is selling a feel-good mission. Like Toms Shoes Inc., Warby Parker Inc., Etsy Inc. and other e-commerce companies that use business to benefit social causes, Honest donates product and revenue.
The company established programs like diaper and crib donations as part of its business model, earning it a B Corp certification from nonprofit group B Lab.
“Nowadays it’s about corporate responsibility. The consumer today demands this of companies and we are doing our part to help in any way we can,” Mr. Lee said.
Although the company has expanded its retail distributors during the past year from Whole Foods and Costco to include Target, Buy Buy Baby and Nordstrom, just 20% of sales occur offline.
Mr. Lee said that mix is a good balance for the company for now and the company has intentionally held back on marketing efforts because it is now at capacity fulfilling orders.
The Series C funding round will be used to bankroll growth both in the U.S. and abroad.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tree Population and Density

Mankiw on Corporate Tax

One way to fix the corporate tax: repeal it.

After Overwhelming U.S. Visa Program, Where Will China’s Emigrants Go Next?

From WSJ.

A U.S. State Department official told the Journal that the EB-5 program—which grants visas to those who invest $500,000 in a range of development projects—has hit its quota of 10,000 visas for the fiscal year and won’t receive new applicants until Oct. 1. Chinese applicants made up about 85% of the 10,000 visas granted under the program. It’s the first time in the program’s 24-year history that the quota has been reached.

China Is Awash in Grain Crops

From WSJ.

"As the harvest looms next month, the country is on track for an 11th year of bumper grain crops. But production is too much, even for the world's most populous nation, with warehouses bursting at the seams and posing a dilemma for policy makers.
Estimates from state media say the government will be sitting on 150 million tons of grains that include three of the most important crops for China: rice, wheat and corn. That is double the 75 million tons last year and adds to an oversupply of these agricultural commodities that is pressuring prices lower."
"China's surplus couldn't have come at a worse time for U.S. farmers, who are expected by the USDA to harvest a record 14 billion bushels. Corn futures have dropped 15% this year after falling 40% last year, and China's unwillingness to buy U.S. corn will further pressure prices, said Jason Britt, president of brokerage Central States Commodities Inc. in Kansas City, Mo."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Economic Activity During the Government Shutdown

CEA has this interesting report.

China's Coming Economic Slowdown

From WSJ.

Under Hitler, the Flying Hamburger train covered the distance between Berlin and Hamburg in 138 minutes; in postwar democratic Germany, it took the railroad 66 years to match that record. The reasons are simple. The Nazis didn't have to worry about local resistance and environmental-impact statements. A German-designed maglev train now whizzes back and forth between Shanghai and the city's Pudong International Airport; at home, it was derailed by a cantankerous democracy rallying against the noise and the subsidies.

History does not bode well for authoritarian modernization, whether in the form of "controlled," "guided" or plain state capitalism. Either the system freezes up and then turns upon itself, devouring the seeds of spectacular growth and finally producing stagnation. (This is the Japanese "model" that began to falter 20 years before the de facto monopoly of the LDP was broken.) Or the country follows the Western route, whereby growth first spawned wealth, then a middle class, then democratization cum welfare state and slowing growth. This is the road traveled by Taiwan and South Korea—the oriental version of Westernization.

The irony is that both despotism and democracy, though for very different reasons, are incompatible with dazzling growth over the long haul. So far, China has been able to steer past either shoal. It has had rising riches without slowdown or revolt—a political miracle without precedent. The strategy is to unleash markets and to fetter politics: "make money, not trouble."

Can China continue on this path? History's verdict is not encouraging.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mankiw Explains Why He Is A Republican

From NYT.

"...the tendency of people to interpret evidence in a way that is consistent with their previous beliefs. No one can escape his or her own history."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Have a Great Idea. Now What Do You Do?

From WSJ.

How to Tell if You Would Be a Bad Entrepreneur

From WSJ.

  • Why Entrepreneurs Can't Shut Up
  • If You Can't Collaborate, Forget Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurs Can't Sit Still
  • Entrepreneurship Isn't a Profession. It's an Obsession.
  • Hate Changing Plans? Don't Be an Entrepreneur.
  • What It's Really Like to Be Your Own Boss
  • An Entrepreneur Who Hates Risk Isn't an Entrepreneur
  • The Kiss of Death for Entrepreneurs: Passivity

Wall Street Is Losing the Best and Brightest

From WSJ.
Not long ago, Wall Street attracted many of the smartest people in America—brilliant economists and mathematicians, but also the nation's most promising college graduates. Not anymore. Five years after the financial crisis, evidence suggests that students have lost their enthusiasm for beginning careers in finance.

I think this is a natural development toward a right direction.