Investing in Water

March 30, 2008

Here’s an article from Saturday’s WSJ about why it’s tricky to invest in the water sector.  I think it’s a good primer for people interested in participating in this trend: Water’s Slippery Seduction

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End of an Era

March 29, 2008

Dave, my roommate for the last three years, has moved to Calgary.  I am sad.  

As my friend Brian told me yesterday, “times are a’changing.”

Here are a few pics from the move:

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Malthus Makes a Comeback

March 24, 2008

From today’s WSJ: New Limits to Growth Revive Malthusian Fears

As the world grows more populous — the United Nations projects eight billion people by 2025, up from 6.6 billion today — it also is growing more prosperous. The average person is consuming more food, water, metal and power. Growing numbers of China’s 1.3 billion people and India’s 1.1 billion are stepping up to the middle class, adopting the high-protein diets, gasoline-fueled transport and electric gadgets that developed nations enjoy.

The result is that demand for resources has soared. If supplies don’t keep pace, prices are likely to climb further, economic growth in rich and poor nations alike could suffer, and some fear violent conflicts could ensue.

 

Related Posts:
Everyone Wants to Eat Like Americans

Book Review: The Great Wave by David Hackett Fisher


Be Careful What You Wish For

March 22, 2008

NYT: You Say Recession, I Say ‘Reservations!’ 

For many of the city’s middle class, especially those in the creative class, who have felt sidelined as the city seemed to become a high-priced playground for Wall Street bankers, the implosion of the brokerage house Bear Stearns raises a tantalizing possibility: participation in an economy they have been largely shut out of.

“The environment right now is definitely more favorable to people who don’t make those Wall Street bonuses,” Mr. Cox said.  

On Web sites devoted to New York, there was a healthy dose of schadenfreude.

It’s true:  those of us not making huge bonuses over the past couple years are bitter.  Problem is, the city relies heavily on hefty taxes on Wall Street bonuses to pay for all the things that make NYC such a great place to live.  NYC is already cutting back on cops because of budget cuts


A new direction for the blog?

March 21, 2008

Yesterday was my last day of work at the bank. Today, I enter a new chapter of my life which promises to be a lot less structured.

I plan to attend business school in the fall (haven’t decided where yet). Until then, I will focus my energy on the following pursuits (in no particular order of importance):

  • Building my business: William R Wright, CPA, P.C.
  • Working out a lot and getting in great shape
  • Reading
  • Spending lots of time with friends
  • Flag Football & Basketball
  • Perhaps taking a cool trip in June (once football is over)

I also plan to move this blog in a new direction: I will post a lot more “personal interest” topics. That doesn’t mean you will find them interesting, just that the posts will be more personal in nature and more frequent.

 

Thoughts on Blogging:

I still don’t understand what personal blogs are supposed to be. Is blogging about self improvement? Is it for narcissists or people who need affirmation? Is it for fun? Is it personal PR?

For me, maybe it’s all of these things; I can’t decide. What I do know is that it can be a powerful tool for self improvement. The work I’ve done on my personal portfolio, and documented quarterly in the blog, has been invaluable. I have a contract with myself to do a lot of homework each quarter. Writing about my investments and my asset allocation clarifies my thinking. I believe this work saved me thousands of dollars in 2007 and is the reason why I didn’t own any financial stocks last year. Without the blog, I would be thousands of dollars poorer.

The challenge I face over the next three months is to make the most of my time. I will write more about it on the blog and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading!


Everyone Wants to Eat Like Americans

March 8, 2008

Fascinating article in today’s NYT: A Global Need for Grain That Farms Can’t Fill

wheat-1.jpgEverywhere, the cost of food is rising sharply. Whether the world is in for a long period of continued increases has become one of the most urgent issues in economics.

“Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe,” said Daniel W. Basse of the AgResource Company, a Chicago consultancy. “But if they do, we’re going to need another two or three globes to grow it all.”

Around the world, wheat is becoming a precious commodity. In Pakistan, thousands of paramilitary troops have been deployed since January to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Malaysia, trying to keep its commodities at home, has made it a crime to export flour and other products without a license. Consumer groups in Italy staged a widely publicized (if also widely disregarded) one-day pasta strike last fall.

What’s going on here is really simple: as incomes and standards of living rise all across the world, people want to eat more. Farmers cannot keep up with all of this demand so prices are rising rapidly.

With inflation in the news every day, now would be a good time to read David Hacket Fisher’s The Great Wave. Or check out my review of the book here.


I am a “moderate” morning person

March 5, 2008

Here’s a fun and interesting article in today’s WSJ Health Journal:  Learning to Live Like an Early Bird

I took the “chronotype” test and was diagnosed as “moderately a morning person.”  I’m happy with this result… “severe morning person” might be more accurate, though.  Just ask anybody who’s ever slept over.