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Time to eliminate stock based compensation?
FT (Diane Coyle): A couple of remedies for pay excess
”I would … like to see investors call time on share incentive schemes altogether.” http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/18c572e6-b973-11e0-89ee-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1TV6Z7nO5
NYT (Floyd Norris): Usual Growth Leaders Absent From Recovery
“WHY has the job picture been so bleak in the current recovery? A large part of the problem can be traced to unusual weakness in two categories: construction jobs and government jobs.”
NYT (Paul Krugman): The Centrist Cop-Out
“I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.’”
Krugman’s commentary is a commentary on the practice of journalism. Of course, what should happen is for the reporter, whenever possible, to go the extra step — get a picture of the earth taken from above the earth and use it in the article too or put it in front of the leaders of the flat earth party and ask the flat earth party to explain why in the face of the picture they say the earth is flat. Of course many reporters do this – analyze the statements of respondents not just take them down. This takes time and requires the reporter to eschew the short-sightedness and/or pressures of his/her “bosses” (i.e. whoever they are trying to please or follow).
Psych Today (Nassir Ghaemi): Where are the new ideas?
“One of my Harvard teachers …Leston Havens… used to say: ‘Be careful about institutions. Between your boss’s needs and your eagerness to please, you can create a prison stronger than Alcatraz.’”
When the focus is on satisfing one institution or one person rather than a larger purpose and higher values, neither ethics nor true innovation will flourish.
The “Where are the new ideas?” article discusses the weaknesses in the current state of academic research. So does Paul Smalera’s article which focuses on economists.
Reuters (Paul Smalera) Krugman says Thoma’s right, except when he’s wrong
“Thoma rightly argues that too many of their academic colleagues don’t risk engaging at all — they are the ones that need to be coaxed out into the conversation, to shed some light on the dark corners of the economy before some other solid-seeming sector (technology, anyone?) implodes and nearly sinks the ship, yet again.”
I was invited early last decade as the only non-academic and non-FDIC executive to an FDIC conference to speak on market signals that might provide warnings of a run up in default at banking institutions. In my speech, I offered/encouraged the pure academics to reach out to practioners (like me) to select their research topics and make them relevant. (After all, that was part of the reason I was invited to speak.) No one called.
Regarding techology – technology is one of the only sectors looking to create jobs http://thevaluealliance.com/Blog/?p=47 which makes technology an even more important sector to watch.
Reuters (Felix Salmon): Chart of the day:Techs vs Industrials, Why Tech Stocks Deserve to be Cheaper than Industrials “in an area where change is unlikely to massively disrupt your business, income streams are more predictable and therefore more valuable.” http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/22/chart-of-the-day-techs-vs-industrials/ http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/07/25/why-tech-stocks-deserve-to-be-cheaper-than-industrials/
Besides the obvious difference in business models between industrials and tech companies, another explanation of lower P/Es at tech firms may be the governance at tech vs industrial firms. Good governance can act as a buffer and prevent issues spiraling out of control. The market places a premium on this stability. (The issue of governance which Buffett doesn’t mention is something he faced earlier this year.) http://management.fortune.cnn.com/tag/warren-buffett/ http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=BRK-A+Interactive#chart1:symbol=brk-a;range=1y;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on;source=undefined
WSJ (Nassir Ghaemi):Depression in Command
“the sanest of CEOs may be just right during prosperous times, allowing the past to predict the future. But during a period of change, a different kind of leader—quirky, odd, even mentally ill—is more likely to see business opportunities that others cannot imagine.” “As for Churchill, during his severely depressed years in the political wilderness, he saw the Nazi menace long before others did.” “Depression … has been found to correlate with high degrees of empathy, a greater concern for how others think and feel.”
I highly recommend this novel in which Churchill (and the black dog of depression) are featured protoganists. Mr. Chartwell : a novel by Rebecca Hunt. http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Chartwell-Novel-Rebecca-Hunt/dp/140006940