US Growth

What is the long-term growth rate of the United States?

Are our assumptions about the future, and therefore investment predictions, way wrong?

What if we have an economy growing at long-term trend of, say, 2%?

How should we look at our income, savings, interest rates and spending needs for the future based on this?


Edward de Bono writes supremely intelligently about everything he touches. My first contact with him was when my brother, Mark, gave me one of his books as a birthday gift waaaaaaay back in the seventies. A better, more thoughtful present there could not have been.

I do not remember the title of that particular book, but I went on to read much of his work. de Bono coined the term and first described lateral thinking, the kind of insight one needs only once to launch a successful career as a public intellectual. I plan to re-read as much of his stuff as I am able as soon as I can.

Off the top of my head, de Bono also wrote “The Happiness Purpose”. I plan to buy this first because I sense that it’s a good place to start. Happiness is a slippery concept. We all find it easy to answer the question:

When do you find yourself being happy? At what point of your life/day/career are/were you happiest? and so on.

Try this, however: What is happiness?

Is happiness a binary, on/off thing, or a range of feelings?

Happiness is a mixture of many other elements, for me anyhow. Security, in terms of money and living arrangements, is a part of it. Confidence makes me happy. Being healthy makes me happy. Cups of milky tea make me happy. Cats make me happy. You see how quickly we revert to the circumstances of happiness rather than describing the thing itself.

In a book recently, I noted the guy talked about happiness as being located within ourselves. The idea of happiness being somewhere, of it residing at an address I found intriguing. Eventually, he went on, we either find it or we don’t…but the critical point is that happiness is always within reach.

But we’ll see what de Bono reckons.

Wages of Doom

If you earn less than $20 per hour, your job will be automated.

This brilliant headline is a sub-editor’s dream, simultaneously creating interest, fear and need to know more. But is it true?

Well, nobody really knows. It is way too general for a start. But I like the spur to action that it might create in someone who knows they can do better but lacks the drive to do so.

Service. Not.

One always imagines reputations aren’t as bad as that. There are two sides to most stories after all, right?

Consider the United States Postal Service. This irredeemable dodo cannot be made extinct too soon. Taxpayers have no reason to fund this loss-making collective any longer. Why we tolerate desultory service, awful interactions and the air of a soviet five-year make-work plan is beyond me.

Can someone about to be made president make it a central platform pillar to declare open season on this steam-era excrescence?