Vikas Shah MBE Interviews the world's leading thinkers, and the people shaping the century.

The Toyota Recall

“[Shares in] Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest carmaker, fell in Tokyo as it expanded a U.S. recall by more than 1 million vehicles to 5.35 million, adding to concerns its reputation for quality may be permanently tarnished.” The article continues, “…Toyota’s “reputation for long-term quality is finished,” said Maryann Keller, senior adviser at Casesa Shapiro Group LLC in New York, a strategic adviser to the auto industry. ‘People aren’t going to buy Toyotas, period….

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Dictators, Democracy and Some Home Truths…

As Foreign Policy Magazine reports, “Equatorial Guinea’s economy depends almost entirely on oil, which generated revenues last year of well over $4 billion, giving it a per capita annual income of $37,900, on par with Belgium.” While this has given the country’s ruler (Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) an estimated net worth of over $600m (which in reality will be many magnitudes higher) it has left the population impoverished with one in three dying before the…

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The Start of The Great Unwind?

“The Federal Reserve Board sent its most explicit signal yet that the emergency supply of liquidity to financial markets is done and the most aggressive monetary policy easing in its 96-year history will eventually reverse.” – February 19th, Bloomberg. Citing “continued improvement in financial market conditions”, the US Federal Reserve raised its discount rate (the rate banks are able to borrow directly from the Fed) by 25 basis points to 0.75% (from 0.50%).  This may…

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Could Greece End the Euro?

As I write this, my Bloomberg feed shows that, “Euro-region leaders [have] ordered Greece to get the bloc’s highest budget deficit under control and said they are prepared to take “determined” action to staunch the worst crisis in the currency’s 11-year history.”, with the FT adding, “Under an agreement hammered out in last minute negotiations in Brussels, the 16-country eurozone stopped short of providing immediate financial support for Greece, but gave an implicit assurance to…

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How The Internet and Digital Culture Affect Rights and Liberties.

History has seen humanity exist in a near constant battle for social, economic, political and (since the enlightenment) individual freedoms. These battles have been set against a backdrop of great change and conflict, as states, commerce and other bodies struggle to reconcile their needs for utility, their risk aversion and so forth, with an individual’s right to autonomy. In the modern age, we exist in a society which is largely defined using economics, and where…

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The Truth About Democracy

In recent weeks, we have seen uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Jordan where members of the populous have taken to the streets, demonstrating and disrupting a country over issues ranging from food inflation, corruption, freedom of speech, living conditions and basic human and economic rights.  Most notably of these have been the actions in Tunisia and Egypt which, at least academically, have forced some degree of regime change.  For the first time within…

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The Post Crisis Economy

In this article, we talk to John Brynjolfsson, Managing Director of Armored Wolf LLC, a global macro hedge fund. Previously, Mr. Brynjolfsson was a Managing Director with PIMCO, firm with in excess of $750 billion of assets under management. Mr. Brynjolfsson discusses the risks, opportunities and the future of the world’s economy—covering the range from inflation to interest rates, commodities to equities, and currencies to emerging markets

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Being Ruthless about Ruthlessness

The industrial revolution created the archetypal businessman, characterised by their ruthless attitude towards commerce. In a controversial paper, Jerry Bergman discusses the Robber Barons’ (a pejorative term used to describe businessmen in America) attitude to workers in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  He describes how, “The robber barons’ lack of concern for the social welfare of the community, and even their companies’ own workers, ruined millions of lives. Injuries on the job due to…

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The Future of Humanity

In this article, we talk to Professor Nick Bostrom, Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, discussing the profound changes humanity could experience over coming years including artificial intelligence, machine consciousness, the direction of human evolution, and risks to humanity itself.

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The Future of the US Dollar

In this article, we talk to Marc Chandler, Global Head of Currency Strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman and discuss the future of the US Dollar, its role as a global reserve currency, its future, relationship to interest rates and inflation, and the state of the US economy.

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