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The China Conundrum. Separating Fact from Propaganda

The China Conundrum. Separating Fact from Propaganda

A “conundrum” is defined by the Collins dictionary as a problem or puzzle which is difficult or impossible to solve.

How do you make authoritarianism, communism, and capitalism work together? Attempting to bring fundamentally opposing economic and cultural value systems together in a comprehensible and effective mix seems a near impossible task. However, this is what the modern Chinese economic and cultural experiment has been about.

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Understanding Economic Cycles, Sentiment and Valuations

"Nothing is so treacherous as the obvious" observed Joseph A Schumpeter the famous Austrian political economist who is regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest intellectuals and best known for his theories on business cycles and the development of capitalist economies as well as for introducing the concept of entrepreneurship.

Cycles, whether they be seasonal, economic, or personal, are inextricably tied to life. History has proven that economies rise and fall, and asset prices rise and fall as sure as night follows day. An economic cycle for example is defined as consisting of four distinct phases: expansion; peak; contraction; and trough. Each economic cycle comprises of these four phases. It is also fair to say that one can observe larger economic cycles within which several economic cycles may play out. If you could anticipate, plan, and organize around each stage of these cycles you would inevitably become more astute in any number of professional fields that require the purchase and sale of any asset, service or commodity. If economic cycles are inevitable which they are, why are they not then more predictable? This brings us back to the opening quote in this article by Joseph A. Schumpeter "Nothing is so treacherous as the obvious". How often do we grapple with an issue - any issue - only to say after days. months or years have gone by that the answer or solution had been staring us in the face, except for the fact that we did not see it.

The obvious is sometimes anything but and can be easily obscured by the very human attributes that make us...human. Whether it is hope, denial, greed, doubt, disbelief, attachment to an ideal, theory or assumption that we learnt or inherited in our past or took at face value from an expert, any of these factors can obscure the "obvious".

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Fed Now and The Crossroads to a Global Digital Payments Economy

The Biggest Upgrade to the US Financial Payment Rails Since SWIFT

The biggest upgrade to the payment rails of the US financial industry - since the SWIFT system was introduced in 1973 - is going to be unveiled in July 2023. The system known as FED NOW will enable instant payments that take seconds to complete and can occur 24/7, 365 days a year, all with integrated clearing functionality allowing financial institutions to deliver end-to-end instant payment services to their customers. This means the recipient of funds will have immediate availability and access to utilize these funds. To put this in perspective ACH transfers typically take anywhere from one to three business days to complete, domestic wire transfers can take 24+ hours to complete and international wire transfers can take up to a week to complete. Fed Now will not replace the Automated Clearing House Network (ACH) - at least not anytime soon - and is expected to complement ACH services. However, the writing is clearly on the wall as Fed Now grows its track-record, adoption, sophistication, and capacity.

Instant payments are digital payments which have the capacity to be "programmable" and generate rich data. What is rich data? Rich data is the process of compiling data to determine when and where a person is most likely to buy something, as opposed to relying on trend forecasts. Rich Data is used to predict consumer behavior. While this may sound like a godsend to businesses of all types as well as the Federal Reserve and other agencies who rely on financial data for forecasting and decision making, this "potential to invade privacy" will simultaneously cause consumers to sound the "alarm". Who wants their every transaction to be trackable?

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The Three Interests Shaping The Economy

THE THREE INTERESTS SHAPING THE ECONOMY

Self Interest, Government Interest & The Inverted Yield Curve Interest

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AI, The Singularity & Quantum Leap Beyond

In this article we are going to discuss the evolution of AI, its origins and development to here and where it may be heading. Many books have been written on the subject, so this is going to be a short but hopefully informative and abbreviated history to here and a peak into the beyond. We will continue to write about the evolution of AI in our blog and bi-monthly newsletter and build upon this article.

The Singularity

We are entering a period of technological accelerated change over the next 3-20 years, the likes of which has never been experienced by humankind. Some technologists have identified or labelled the culminating point to which this accelerated change will lead as "The Singularity" which can be viewed as the "end of the beginning" after which the singularity epoch of human history begins. What exactly is "The Singularity"? The “Singularity” is a projected future point in time when exponential developments in computer (artificial) intelligence and computational power result in the most dramatic and irreversible change in human history. The origins of the term lie in physics where "The Singularity" is described “as a point at which a function takes an infinite value, especially in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. “The emphasis in this sentence is "takes an infinite value".

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