Archive for the 'PB Video Analysis' Category

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PB Video Analysis: The UK Economy – It’s Not About The Brexit

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018


From the outside the UK economy looks pretty healthy. Unemployment is low and economic growth has been more consistent than any of its EU peers. Little wonder its politicians regard it as a success story.

There’s only one problem. The UK economy is built on an edifice of consumption and debt. The work we do? It’s selling things to each other that have been made abroad.

It’s a dangerously fragile situation, where we congratulate ourselves on maxing our credit cards out. This video explains where it all went wrong.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: Demographics – What We Can Do

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018


Demographics discussions can depress. The problems – ignored by most politicians – seem vast but distant. Better to let someone else, elected later, worry about them.

But we can diminish the demographic drag. We just need to do a few things. Admittedly, we need politicians to do politically unpopular things.

In this video, we look at what they are, and how they help.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: Optionally Rewarding – The Dark Side of Share Options

Saturday, September 29th, 2018


Look in any company report, and you’ll see pages of details about executive compensation. And the biggest part of this is – however dressed up – share options.

Get the share price moving, and management is set to make serious money. But what if share options made companies, and the economy, more fragile and encouraged poor decisions.

This time, we’re talking about the dark side of share options.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: Demographics Two. The Big Drag

Friday, September 28th, 2018


In my last demographics piece, I looked at the boost developed countries got from falling fertility freeing up females from childcare duties. (I adore alliteration.) This piece looks to the recent past, to the experience of Japan, and asks what next?

And the picture isn’t, if we’re going to be honest, a pretty one. Rising life expectancy, and birth rates below replacement almost everywhere mean that population pyramids will continue to invert. Old people produce less economic output than young ones. And they require more healthcare and expensive pensions.

This is not good for economic growth. And intergenerational squabbles will increasingly become a feature of our politics. It’s always harder to distribute losses than to share gains.

But, hey, at least it probably means lower house prices.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: The Changing Nature of Work

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018


In the old days, careers would be long, mortgages cheap and job titles easy to understand. But the nature of working is changing. Our grandparents would struggle to understand what we do… YouTuber, anyone?

Income inequality has risen. Job security has disappeared. Is this the result of rapacious capitalists? Is it because of globalist politicians and George Soros? Or are there fundamental forces at work: do the people who employ us just know too much about our economic output?

Computers, the Internet and smartphones have combined to allow the value of our economic output to be constantly measured. This brings insecurity and inequality. Politicians have tried to legislate the effect of employers having ever greater knowledge, but to no avail. The veil of ignorance, once discarded, can never be worn again.

In this video, I’m talking about the changing nature of work.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: Demographics, First They Lift You Up…

Thursday, September 13th, 2018


Economically speaking, the last two centuries have been pretty good for much of Europe, North America and Asia. People live longer, are healthier, and are richer than ever before.

Before about 1850, economies grew slowly, barely more than a percent a year on a per capita basis. Since 1850, they’ve powered ahead.

This spurt is usually attributed to technology – you know, the industrial revolution, electricity, Angry Birds, that kind of thing. But something else also matters: demographics. In short, much of the world has benefited from a two hundred year rise in the proportion of people who work. Good news, no? But first they lift you up…

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: Five Questions

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

So, I started doing these videos a couple of months ago, and some of them have been very successful. And others are about the Italian economy.

In doing so, I discovered something: if you put video content out onto the web, you will get deluged in comments. So, I’ve been accused of being a racist, and of being soft on illegal immigrants. I’ve also received a ton of emails asking me questions, some of which were not (metaphorically) written in green ink.

Here then are answers – in an informal, unedited and unscripted style – to five of the questions I’ve been asked:

Do cryptocurrencies have a future?
Where’s the US Dollar going?
What happens if there’s a US-China trade war?
Which way did I vote in the Brexit referendum?
Who am I to put these opinions out on the Internet???

ps, sorry about the lighting…

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’




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PB Video Analysis: What Chance a US-UK Free Trade Deal

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

Brexit is approaching. And with it – in President Trump’s mind – comes an opportunity for a transatlantic free trade deal, bringing together the World’s two largest English speaking democracies. Atlantacists in Britain are excited, those who believe we should be supping with the Europeans are scared.

But before the trigger is pulled, what are the compromises that would be needed to put together a US-UK free trade deal? Could Dr Liam Fox get something in place before the 2020 election?

Unfortunately, a deal will not be simple. There are at least four major stumbling points: Dispute Settlement, Local Content Rules, Agriculture and Intellectual Property. How willing will the government be to make the compromises needed to get a deal moving quickly? And is it worth doing so?

All this and more in… What Chance a US-UK Free Trade Deal…

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’