Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Mar 27th, 2022
“Without Courage, Wisdom Bears No Fruit” — Baltasar Gracian
- “The larger East European states benefit from their attachment to broader institutions of the West, like NATO and the EU, but they do not want to sacrifice any more of their sovereignty than they have to. Indeed, in a dangerous world they see those institutions primarily as supports for their national independence. Russia’s aggression only reinforces that double impulse towards both alliance and independence. It also confirms their broader diagnosis of the threat they face from the East.
As Michal Kranz explains in this nice piece for Foreign Policy,
Poland no doubt relishes its new centrality to the Western alliance. At the same time, however, as Glapinski’s comment illustrates, they are also acutely aware of the fact that they could easily find themselves relegated to a subordinate position.”
Chartbook #98: Eastern Europe in the financial frontline
In 2008 Eastern Europe was caught up in the global financial crisis. In 2021 it was hit late by the COVID crisis. In…
2. This is a really good take on why the Russia army has not been successful in Ukraine. Explains a lot.
Is Russia really failing at invading Ukraine?
Answer (1 of 25): Yes an no. The Russian military is a paper tiger. It's strong enough to effectively defend itself and…
3. “The world over, it had become fashionable to actively destroy a well-established, affordable industry (fossil fuels), and replace it with an experimental, expensive solution (so-called “renewable” energy). Anyone who pointed this out in an investment context will have received emails about their role in the coming death of humanity — I did!
All the while, our politicians are using monetary policies that try to defy the laws of nature. No matter what you call it — Modern Monetary Theory or something else — you still cannot print your way to prosperity. Anyone who claims otherwise should get their head examined.
This is a period of crazy, and the crazy train only seems to be picking up speed with each year that passes instead of slowing down. If you thought 2016 was crazy, what are you making of 2022 — and how will 2024 look like?
Yet, you are not supposed to speak or write about it. Much of the corporate media have become a tame, submissive mouthpiece of the special interest groups who are driving this nonsense. Or maybe they always were, and we simply noticed it less at the time.”
Ukraine crisis - where do we go from here? - Undervalued Shares
There is no getting away from it for investors: the current situation in Ukraine will have short-, medium- and…
4. Digital dollars are coming. USA as a disruptor in the world, not the policeman of the global order as per Zeihan.
5. “If you want to understand human nature it can be summed up as follows “how much you spend” is what a typical person views as rich while a future wealthy individual believe “how much you can spend forever” determines who is rich.
A person who makes $240,000 after taxes and spends it all is “rich” to the typical person as they can see the use of the money.
A person who makes $240,000 after taxes generated from his *assets* is rich according to an actual rich person.
They are not the same and yet you will see these two same people at the same bars, clubs, restaurants etc. Once you understand this you’ll understand why wealth and income cannot be confused. The guy making $1M a year is actually not rich if he spends all of it and the guy making $1M off of just dividends is rich (his assets are closer to $20M based a 4% payout ratio).
As a rule of thumb avoid people who say “you can’t take it with you when you die” as they are unlikely ever going to understand the difference.”
How CPI/Inflation Can Be Understated and Financial Literacy/Human Nature
Welcome Avatar! Two sections today: 1) calculating out Inflation and how inaccuracy can occur and 2) basic financial…
6. Agree here: Turkey is a critical player in region and the world.
“On Western support for Turkey at this difficult time it is clear that Turkey is set to bear the biggest impact amongst third party countries for the war. Higher energy and food prices and the loss in tourism revenues will make already critical balance of payments and inflation problems much worse and in fact unsustainable. It is indeed hard to see Turkey avoiding a balance of payments crisis now without outside help.
I would advise the West to provide financial assistance to Turkey. The US can provide loan guarantees to the Turkish Treasury and DM central banks should provide swap facilities to the CBRT.”
The West needs to provide financial support to Turkey
It is pretty clear that Russia will, and indeed is, using Turkey, and particularly its financial sector, to get around…
7. This shows how broken many of the Western institutions are….sadly.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was sure to kick off a chaotic series of unpredictable and historic moves in the global financial markets. The functional death of the iconic London Metal Exchange is but the first of what we expect will be many similarly situated institutions to get sucked under the steamroller.
Nickel In Front of a Steamroller
" A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. " - Yogi Berra On Monday, March 22, 2021, ViacomCBS (since renamed Paramount…
8. “The good news is that the rest of the world has ability to completely offset the impact. There is more than enough grain in storage to cover the loss of Russian and Ukrainian exports for several years, if need be. There is also substantial scope for U.S. farmers to produce more wheat if they cut back on growing corn and soy. Global coordination among the major consumers and the major grain producers (other than Russia and Ukraine) should be sufficient to ensure that everyone outside of the combat zone has plenty of food.”
Russia's Attack on the World's Food Supply
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is jeopardizing the global production and distribution of wheat, as well as barley, corn…
9. “The other implication is that while economic sanctions have not yet given the West much leverage over Putin’s war strategy they do offer it leverage over his peace strategy. While he may have convinced himself that Russia — with Belarus — has a self-sufficient autarchic option this is another self-serving fantasy.
The question of the future of sanctions and how they might be unwound is not one to be discussed separately from any peace talks. They are a vital part of the negotiations. As there can be no Western-led peace talks without Ukraine, it should be made clear to Moscow that for now this is a card for Zelensky to play. The future of the Russian economy can then be in his hands. Should a moment come to start to ease sanctions, some leverage will be required to ensure that any agreement is being honoured. There could be a link to reparations for the terrible damage caused.
“Fanaticism”, according to George Santayana, “consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” As his original war plans failed Putin has insisted his forces follow a disruptive and cruel strategy that has put his original aims even more out of reach and Ukraine with a say over the future of the Russian economy.”
The Bankrupt Colonialist
Kharkiv following Russian shelling, 14th March 2022 (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) The…
10. “Of course, CIPS is far away from replacing SWIFT itself. While CIPS is aiming to operate independently in the future, it is still working closely with SWIFT in order to access its wider network. Specifically, the flow of funds works through CIPS domestically, while the flow of information in international transactions has been handled by either CIPS of SWIFT. Moreover, comprising only 3.2 percent of international transactions, the RMB has yet to make a strong argument for many global banks to join an RMB-based financial messaging network.
Overall, with only one-third of its global trade with its largest trading partner settling in Chinese currency, and due to the limited member networks of SPFS and CIPS, Russia is a long way from being able to conduct international trade without SWIFT. Russia may employ foreign reserves and its outstanding BSA to increase its proportion of RMB-based trade; however, this cannot happen overnight, and in the near term this will fail to meet the needs of a globally connected Russia.”
Can China's SWIFT Alternative Give Russia a Lifeline?
Advertisement "Apply this economic, peaceful, silent, deadly remedy and there will be no need for force." Following…
11. “Putin’s attack on Ukraine has shifted the international balance. It has, to say the least, not been a success for Russia so far. In a protracted struggle with the West, Russia might still end up sliding into China’s more or less reluctant embrace. But China won’t rush to take up that role and it will surely guard against getting sucked into a further escalation of US sanctions. What is clear, is that above all its future depends on facing domestic challenges both in the medium and the short-term.
If Beijing suffers a devastating Omicron outbreak in the next few months the entire narrative of the period since 2020 will have to be rewritten.”
Chartbook #99 China under pressure
There is a changing of the guard in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang is retiring and Vice Premier Liu He cannot be far…
12. I feel for the Belarussian people. (obviously not a fan of the leadership)
“There’s a good reason for that caution. Joining the attack against Ukraine would be hugely unpopular — a survey found that only 3 percent of Belarusians support such an idea, according to Ryhor Astapenia, who leads Belarus Initiative at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Program — and it could break the military, which is one of the key pillars keeping Lukashenko in power.”
Lukashenko dodges and weaves over joining Russia in attacking Ukraine
Press play to listen to this article Alexander Lukashenko owes a massive debt to the Kremlin, and that check might be…
13. Customer success is a crucial role for all B2B Startups. This is good basics.
“This segmentation is a rough mental model and exceptions abound, especially when companies sell across segments. A startup might use two or three of these models to serve customers of different sizes through various sales motions.”
The Three Types of Customer Success Teams by @ttunguz
A decade ago, Gainsight championed the creation of the customer success category. People curious and passionate about…
14. “There you have it. An emotional call for help to underline how inadequate the efforts for real support have been so far. At the same time the speech may be laying the groundwork for more direct and consequential action from Canada, the US, and indeed from most democracies. Russia is being boxed in step by step, but it is not going nearly fast enough for Ukrainians on the ground.”
Zelensky's Urgent Message
Ukraine's President just addressed US Congress, yesterday he spoke directly to Canada's Parliament in what is a major…
15. Title says it all.
“The Web3 world is exciting, but it does break many of the orthodoxies we’ve come to expect in venture. Yet I truly believe it is still the case that great founders need patient investors who will back them and support them through crypto winters to come. The best of Web 2.0 VC ethos are still relevant for Web3, but it is far from a case of copy-pasting what we knew.”
Web 2.0 Investors Aren't Cut Out for the Web3 World
Solana was my very first token investment, and it was not an easy one to make. Back in 2018 when I first met Solana…
16. Good stuff. Truth always comes out with a little help from Anonymous.
Anonymous Says It Has Sent 7 Million Texts To Russian Cell Phones 'To Tell The Truth' About Ukraine
Anonymous has commented on its latest stunt amid its "cyberwar" with Russia. The hacking collective first announced it…
17. “My expectation is that the West won’t end up in a cold war with the Chinese and the Russians together. China will continue to sit on the fence, maintaining normal trade relations with Russia where sanctions allow it while refusing to directly come to Putin’s aid to avoid decisive breaks with the West.
But as long as Beijing refuses to distance itself from its new strategic partner and Russia becomes more and more integrated with China economically, financially, and technologically, the risk of knock-on decoupling will remain elevated. The China-West relationship is therefore likely to get worse for the foreseeable future.”
Russia-Ukraine war: Where China stands and why it matters
How far Beijing is willing to go in support of Putin will determine nothing less than the future of the global order.
18. “The point is: Until the Maidan, Ukraine existed in the same bucket of excrement in which Russia has lived since the revolution. They’ve had one strongman after another robbing the nation blind and subjugating the people.
But then a small miracle happened: The young people of Ukraine had enough. And they managed to overthrow Putin’s puppet and elect someone with eyes squarely on the West.
Now Putin can’t have this.”
Why Ukraine Is Dangerous to Putin
Vladimir Putin's stated concern about NATO is obviously a pretext while his admission that he sees Ukraine as part of…
19. The future of war? Or an important aspect of it. Volunteer hacker army.
'It's the right thing to do': the 300,000 volunteer hackers coming together to fight Russia
Kali learned how to use technology by playing with his grandfather's phone. Now, the Swiss teenager is trying to…
20. “Wherever you live in the world, it’s possible that everything might seem fine and normal today. But one key lesson we keep learning over and over again is that everything can change in an instant. It’s possible that tomorrow will look nothing like today.
So it’s imperative to think about your Plan B well before any proverbial hits the fan.
Freedom of movement is important. You might need the ability to leave, as well as a place to go.
At a minimum, that means having a valid passport… and ideally a second residency abroad, or even a second citizenship.
Financial security is also important, and that means making sure that your money isn’t concentrated solely in your home country’s financial system.”
Valuable Lessons From Bad Planning: Russia and Ukraine Edition | Sovereign Man
Editor's Note: The below article was written by our team member, Marat, who is from Russia originally ] To say that…
21. So hesitant to post this but this write up at first glance seems so reasonable & pro-America. He ignores the fact that Russia actually did invade & wants to subsume a sovereign country.
And the reason Russia has not mass bombed cities and civilians earlier in war was due to logistical issues, not lack of intent.
This is the Russian way of war: just like in Chechnya & Syria.
I get his distrust for the American political & media class (I share it) but Ukraine actually is important from resource perspective, general peace in Europe (US has major economic interests there as trading partners) & also international law one too.
Sadly many people don’t read & lean toward fringe ideas on both left and right side.
The forgotten question: What is the American interest in the Russia-Ukraine war?
Lost in the Ukraine war conversation is the reality that almost none of it has anything to do with the interests of the…
22. “What is at issue in the current moment is not the stability of the financial system as such, or the survival of particular trading houses, but the general sense of crisis and instability. Along with the war in Ukraine, the extreme spikes in oil and gas prices are a major manifestation of that instability. If there is a relevant lesson from Lehman in this context it is less a matter of financial technicalities than the realization that in a precariously balanced situation it can be very dangerous to let a major domino fall. And right now, the European gas market, is a very big domino indeed.
Another lesson from Lehman is that once the crisis has passed you must engage in wholehearted structural reform. The window of opportunity is narrow. And if you do not seize it, the structures that generated the risk in the first place will resume their growth and their vice grip on the political economy will become ever firmer.
If commodity businesses are part of the shadow banking ecosystem they too should be included in a major new regulatory push, drawing the lessons from 2020–2022.”