January 21, 2014 4:42 AM
If the secret to economic prosperity was the erection of Che Guevara murals, Cuba would be the wealthiest nation on Earth. Unfortunately, revolutions are meant as transitions between an inferior form of government, and one that is supposed to be better. Revolution itself isn’t a form of government and socialist sloganeering only takes you so far. In the end, you need to produce things that people need. As one Cuban pointed out, Cuba produces cigars, sugar and more Cubans. That isn’t exactl... more
January 11, 2014 4:12 PM
Cathedral restored for the tourists.
Renaissance era philosophers wandering the ruins of the Roman Empire wondered: What sort of super-humans could have built these structures? What sort of knowledge did they possess that was no longer available? Why did they let it all slip away? The Europeans simply could not comprehend how it could have been lost until Gibbon tried to explain it two centuries later.
As I wandered Cuba, I had the same feeling; who were these people and how was it all l... more
December 31, 2013 5:32 PM
It all started as I was grabbing coffee with a close friend of mine. After a very successful, but exhausting year in Mongolia, I was looking for a holiday location where I could unwind. The prerequisites were that there be limited phone or internet access to avoid roping me back into work. I wanted a place that I could truly escape to and that business could not find me. I was worried that it would take some far-away land to achieve this goal—an African safari—or some deserted Pacific isla... more
December 18, 2013 12:30 AM
In the 9 years that I have lived on Miami Beach, I have always rented instead of buying a home. To me, it was simple math, my rent was less than the combination of property taxes and condo fees—I felt like I was way ahead, even before considering all of the other expenses of property ownership like maintenance and insurance. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been a seamless leasing experience. Over those 9 years; I have had my landlords sell the places I rented five times now. Let’s just say... more
December 11, 2013 9:56 AM
I’ve spent my investing career accepting improbable events when the world thinks such events are impossible. I’ve also spent a lifetime hiding from popular investment ideas. Often, when contemplating unpopular investing ideas, you don’t have to get the timing right—you just have to be early enough to be prepared for them and avoid becoming trapped looking the wrong way.
I remember back in early 2009, when I told people that QE would solve all financial problems—at least in the short term. P... more