Nonlinear Thinking: 20 Emerging Technologies

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The Best MLK Weekend Of All-Time

We are reposting a repost of a post in honor of Dr. King, one of our greatest Americans, a true patriot, and a modern-day saint.

Originally Posted on 

During my Lehman days as a bond strategist, the firm’s research group would do a January roadshow in many of America’s major cities to present our ideas to institutional investors.   One particular year, we were in Atlanta at the end of the week and scheduled for another “greatest show on earth” in Chicago the next Tuesday.

A Weekend In The Peachtree Hyatt

Rather than flying home to New York, I decided to stay over in Atlanta and migrate north on Monday evening.   It was MLK weekend and I wanted to attend services at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was baptized as a child and gave his first sermon. If my memory is correct, I believe his father also pastored the church.   His mother was shot and killed while she played the organ in that church in 1974.

Dr. King’s tomb is located just outside the side door of the church in the middle of a reflecting pool.

dr. king

Three Memories Of Ebenezer

I recall three of my main takeaways from that Sunday morning.

First,  I was maybe one of ten whites out of 600-700 people sitting in the pews.  Sadly, as Dr. King said almost 60 years ago.

I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hour in Christian America.  – MLK, Jr  Meet the Press, April 17, 1960

Nevertheless, I felt incredibly welcome and never — not for one nanosecond —  was conscious about such a silly thing as the difference of the color of my skin.  During the greeting time, the Ebenezers made me feel so welcome and a part of their family.

Second, not to contradict Dr. King, but I believe the service started at 9:30 AM and went to almost 1:00 PM!  Maybe it was a special MLK weekend service.  The pastors in the mostly white churches I have attended have trouble keeping the attention of the congregation for more than 20 minutes.

Third, the sermon was entirely different from those I had experienced in middle-class white churches.  Less doctrine, though similar theology, and more real life.  The struggles of raising children in poverty.  Grandparents raising their grandchildren. Troubles with children with drug addiction. The struggles of being black in white America, all of the life struggles which are just as ubiquitous in the white and all communities of color.  No pretense of being sinless and perfect, no holier than thou vibe, no judgment, no condemnation, no guilt, no shaming.  All love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness.  Just like the real Jesus.

Also, the sharing of the same joys and blessings.  New babies, college graduates, marriages, medical recoveries, and others.

Daddy King” was referred to several times.

It truly echoed the genius and saintliness of Dr. King.

I walked away convinced the Church for the African-American community was much more — that is a considerable part of their life — than what I had experienced in white evangelical America.

Yes, maybe some of us attend more than just Sunday services, but many, such as yours truly, often do so with the dubious motive of seeking the blessings of personal peace and personal prosperity.  The community of the Church, as it for the African-Americans, though not always, is secondary.

The next day, Martin Luther King Jr Day, I spent across the street at the King Center.

More Empathy, Less “Being A Dick

What great memories from that unforgettable MLK weekend.

I grew up lower-middle class in the white suburbs of Los Angeles, attending an all-white high school.  Fortunately, I had a father, who was politically left of the salad fork (out of a rebellion,  I became a conservative in college),  and also spent my first 25 years playing sports, fighting in the baseball trenches with, pulling for, breaking bread, and downing brewskies with my teammates of color; or as I grew to learn colorless.

I am very thankful for those experiences.  It helped me integrate into and see the real greatness of America.

I feel sad for my many brothers and sisters who have not had the same privilege and are stuck still watching black and white television:  unable or unwilling to embrace and enjoy the tremendous diversity of this great country.

Ditto for the similar ignoramuses from other races and ethnic groups.


I can’t imagine eating steak and potatoes every day and every night.

Ignorance And Racism Know No Boundaries

Let me finish by qualifying all of the above.

Racism is such a prominent feature of so many human societies that some evolutionary psychologists have concluded it is “natural” or “innate.”  We don’t know about that but are certain it is not just a “white thing”, a “black thing, or a “brown thing,” etc.

I have shared the story of my brother who was murdered by an undocumented worker, who stated, after stabbing him, “all anglos need to be exterminated.”   This sociopathic asshole killed my brother not because he was brown, or undocumented, but because he was one sick and crazy mother f$@ker.

Now, more than ever it is time to commit to expanding our menu.  Let’s make it a point to understand and enjoy the perspectives and various cultures of all the different races and ethnic groups.

Allegorically, and literally, let’s eat more balaedas, falafel, babaghanoush, borscht, moussaka, and bouilli, among others.  The steak and potatoes will taste sooo much better.

Sorry to end on a note that violates the spirit of Dr. King but I can’t help myself.

Any white man (probably less so for a white woman) who thinks he knows what it is like to be an African-American growing up and living in America, has his head…well…you know where.


Bring on the hate mail.

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Week In Review In Charts

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Global Risk Monitor – Week In Review: Jan 13

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Inflation: Components Of CPI Monthly Change

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Shipping Rates, Excess Demand, & Inflation

Shipping rates are a real-time indicator of excess demand and are down yuuge, now 93 percent lower than the September 2021 peak.  We have always maintained that the inflation the economy is/has experienced has primarily been driven by excess demand and not supply shocks. 

Durable Goods

Inflation in the goods sector was initially caused by a demand shock, coupled with a supply shock. Consumers, stuck at home during the Covid lockdown,  shifted their spending away from services, such as restaurants, to durable goods, such as computers, used cars, and bicycles during a time when supply was shuttered (D2 and S2).  The massive stimulus packages boosted demand further, leading to higher demand (D3), higher prices (P3), and output (Q3).    

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Traffic Jams At The Ports

We are amused that many claim the traffic jams at the major ports over the past few years are supply shocks, which is complete nonsense.  The bottleneck at the ports was fundamentally driven by too much demand caused by too much stimulus highlighted by excessive monetary injections, which short-circuited and swamped the logistics of moving goods.  

We concede upstream suppliers did suffer “supply shocks” as many of their inputs or intermediate goods sat offshore waiting to dock and unload.   If, however,  a supply shock is caused by excess demand downstream or at point of sale demand, is it really a supply shock?   

On January 9, 2022, 109 container ships sat off the coast of California waiting for their turn to unload at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. One year later there are almost none. The easing of port traffic and the opening of other supply-chain bottlenecks have led to a collapse in freight rates from the all-time highs reached during the pandemic. The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from China to America’s west coast is now $1,400, down 93% from its peak of $20,600 in September 2021, according to Freightos, an online freight marketplace.  – Economist

NY Fed model

The New York Federal Reserve bank has analyzed how much of the inflation was/is caused by supply constraints, 

The current debate on whether the Federal Reserve can engineer a soft landing needs to disentangle the drivers of U.S. inflation. Our work shows that inflation in the U.S. would have been 6 percent instead of 9 percent at the end of 2021 without supply bottlenecks. Our quantitative results clarify why some pundits were wrong to predict a transitory surge in inflation, while others were right in predicting high inflation, but for the wrong reasons. Put differently, fiscal stimulus and other aggregate demand factors would not have driven inflation this high without the pandemic-related supply constraints. In the absence of any new energy or other shock, it is therefore possible that the ongoing easing of supply bottlenecks will cause a substantial drop in inflation in the near term. – NY Fed

They may be right, we may be crazy.  Stay tuned. 

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QOTD: Human Capital Formation

QOTD = Quote of the Day

h/t: Donna Brazilie 

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Global Risk Monitor – Week In Review

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QOTD: China’s Wild Horses

After Chinese tech giants, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., experienced their first-ever quarterly revenue drops and cut jobs by the thousands in 2022, hear this:

Xi Jinping has tamed the wild horses of the private sector… But the problem is that he did such big damage with his policy that the confidence of some entrepreneurs and foreign investors is already destroyed. – Ming Xia, City University of New York.

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The Year Ahead 2023 | Economist

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