Lose a Million

The Make a Million competition, as I’ve mentioned before, is an awful idea. It doesn’t promote investing or even “normal” trading, but rather massive, speculative risk-taking trading because the prize for performing well is nothing and the prize for performing best is significant. I’m continually disappointed that Moneyweb continues to partner with this distraction. As …

SA population pyramids and brain drain

The world’s population is now estimated to be 7 billion. That’s a big number, but with slowing growth rates (and negative population growth in several developed countries) the most headline grabbing stories of rapid overpopulation are nothing more than echoes of the same stories of the last few thousand years. Some of the stories around …

Compounding wisdom from a surprising source

I really struggled when Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced (many sources, but here is one) that private healthcare costs have increased by 121% over the last decade. He continued: “Over the past decade, private hospital costs have increased by 121%, while over the same period, specialist costs have increased by 120%.” Anyone who measures growth …

The value of spurious precision

From a TimesLive article on looting: A millionaire’s daughter, Laura Johnson, 19, was remanded in custody when she appeared in court in Bexley near London after being arrested behind the wheel of a car filled with stolen electrical goods and alcohol worth about £5000 (R56385.90). So the goods were worth about GBP50,000 GBP5,000 (a good …

The Primary Cause of Structural Unemployment in South Africa: Poor Education Standards and Policy

South Africa’s unemployment is a different creature from that in the US and in the developed world’s papers at the moment. We don’t have a cyclical lack of demand (although demand isn’t as robust as I’d like).  We have massive, unmanaged structural unemployment in large sectors of the economy. I say “in large sectors of …

Productivity, GDP per capita and life choices

I really enjoyed Paul Krugman’s analysis of differences between French and US GDP per capita. (It’s very short and very readable.) In short, the French are less productive than the Americans, they just work less (for good and bad reasons).  This highlights the dangers of using measures and analytics lightly without understanding/allowing for other differences.