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We have all encountered persons whose demeanor could be said to be neatly reflected in one of the four seasons. Some souls are so chilling in their outlook and so despairing in the barrenness of their emotion that we feel certain they belong to Winter.  Others are hopeful and flexible and nourishing; they think to the future, perhaps as Eliot suggests “mixing memory and desire.”  These, entrepreneurs among them, must surely belong to Spring. The children of Summer are the lightest, of course.  They practically float through life upon clouds. They seem to get their energy from the Sun. Smiles don’t wrinkle their faces, though frowns do. They experience rain as a chance to shower, and look up into it while others turn their heads

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Markets

If you don’t follow the stock market, you might not know that after a few weeks of declines, global stock indexes surged north for five days (if it stays up today). You might not even think that it was unusual, unless you watch the market daily, as I do.  Let me assure you: After twenty years of watching and sometimes trading the markets, this is some very odd stuff! Though I have seen about five market “bubbles” (and nearly as many crashes) in my career, I am still amazed when I see markets do things they are not supposed to do. When I am amazed, I become curious. I want to know “Why?”  And even if I have to resort to conspiracy theories to get

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One of the most dangerous assumptions a person can make is that there are simple answers, solutions, or viewpoints regarding the major issues out there today. Gun control, Wealth gaps, Defense spending, censorship: there are no easy answers to these or many other important issues of our day. The pat or smug one-liners you hear on the radio or get from talking heads on TV suggest that these sages have it all figured out. And for a second many of their pronouncements actually ring true–unless you have the tools to know better. One of the most important lessons students can derive from their education is the idea that the answers to the big questions are fraught with tradeoffs . What’s worse is that the more

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I am in the North for a family visit. My elderly parents manage their simple life with a grace that humbles me. They could be threatened by the simplest acts. My minor setbacks would be their calamities: a fall, the flu, a minor accident driving to the store. Today they were mirthful and sweet and I could not decide if they were revisiting childhood or auditioning to become angels. Last month, I wrote a review of the movie “Amour,” an intense look at a couple managing change after half a century of life together (they managed it as one). Since I am not a filmmaker, but more a writer, I would display what I witness here, in the North, with the images formed of words,

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Markets

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, begun in 2004 and completed in 2009, soars skyward for more than half a mile. You can make a lot of comparisons between the fact that we erect structures and edifices ever taller and ever more dazzling in that they soar skyward from progressively smaller bases, and the fact that we use financial engineering to try and create greater asset wealth from an existing economic base of activity. The two concepts are certainly related; the use of lighter and stronger materials and the application of better science have helped us overcome natural forces that thwart our attempts to build Olympus on Earth. And it’s also true that financial engineering has made our economies more efficient; the advent of derivatives, which

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