Politics and History

Our editors look back to previous periods in politics and history to discover the parallels with today’s market and how this can help your investing.

History doesn’t repeat, as writer Mark Twain once wrote, but it rhymes. For an entertaining and informative romp through financial disasters and bull markets of yesteryear, plus the legendary investors who made a fortune and the foolish knaves who lost their shirts, read on…

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War Criminals Still at Large
They said our troops would be greeted like liberators. They claimed the war would pay for itself with Iraqi oil. They are the war criminals.
Hugo Chavez, RIP
Hugo Chavez was such a great entertainer, he was bigger than life; real life was too small for him. He had to stretch the truth out...to bend the real world into a larger, more fantastic shape...to puff it up with hot air, until it could hold him.
The Dead Philosopher Society
We can work from almost anywhere. But with each day that passes behind us, there is one fewer ahead. We have to figure out how to use it wisely.
History: The Truth of the Facts
History books are full of facts. And facts are nothing without nuances. Out of context, they mean zero. The truth, as Ernest Renan remarked, is in the forgotten nuances...not in the logic of the narrative.
The Curse of Leadership
We're reading a good book, Furies by Lauro Martines. It is the story - as told by eyewitnesses - of the European wars between 1450 and 1700. What makes it important from our standpoint is that it helps us understand the role of leadership in human affairs.
High Tide on Main Street?
Never before has an animal figured out how to use this stored-up solar energy. Never before, too, has an animal significantly altered the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere... and potentially altered the earth's climate.
The 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War
Next month brings us to the tenth anniversary of the war against Iraq. In the US it was a very popular war at first. Americans wanted to strike a blow against someone. Iraq was available. But after a few years, the public lost interest and then turned against it.
Why Paper Money Was the End of Honest Money
The introduction of paper money wasn't necessarily the work of the devil, but Satan had a hand in it. When you can counterfeit money and get away with it, it's a hard habit to stop. You are soon hooked on it.
The Fed's Old Tricks in New Times
Nearly overnight, thanks to its magical money creating powers of buying debt with funds it created, the Fed's balance sheet shot up like straight up. In fact, it tripled from $900 million to more than $3 trillion. It's not stopping either: the Fed will soon have $4 trillion in its coffers.
How Money Buys Freedom
One of the rarely cited advantages of having money is that you're less beholden to others who have it too. The more you have, at least in theory, the more you can ignore the other fellow with it, and go about your business.
Dishonest Leaders and Delusional Voters
Leadership is all about - solemn and pompous lying. The greatest leaders are those who do it most grandly. Leaders should only open their mouths to lie. That's what people expect of them. Which was Chuck Hagel's big mistake.
US Health Care Policy: Tales From a Perverted Economic System
The US Healthcare system has been taken over by zombies. The rewards go to those who curry favours. Elizabeth Fowler knows how it works. She laboured at the left hand of Senator Max Baucus, drafting the collection of crimes and punishments that came to be known as 'Obamacare'.