Will Technology Make Us All Jobless?

According to a recent study at Oxford University, nearly half of U.S. jobs are at risk of computerization. 45% of America’s occupations will be automated away over the next two decades. That sounds scary, and my bet is that it proves to be true. But it’s also nothing new.  Technology has been making jobs obsolete […]

The Long Divergence: What Turned the Tables Between the West and Islam?

For centuries the Islamic world dominated the West militarily, economically, and culturally.  As late as 1683, when Ottoman forces laid siege to Vienna, Muslim military domination was a legitimate fear for the Christian world. Excluding the sophisticated Byzantine Empire—which Muslim Arab forces nearly conquered and Muslim Turkish forces did conquer

Volatility: So Old It's New Again

Writing for the New York Times, Louise Story and Graham Bowley note that large market swings are becoming a lot more common than they used to be.  (See “Market Swings are Becoming New Standard”) “It has become more likely for stock prices to make large swings—on the order of 3

John Law: Rake, Murderer, and Father of Central Banking

I commented in a previous article that “if you think that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is unpopular, consider the tragic case of Takahashi Korekiyo, who served as Bank of Japan governor from 1911-1913 and as finance minister and prime minister in the 1920s and 1930s.” Mr. Takahashi helped to pull

The Price of Sin

The title above was from a 2005 paper authored by Princeton professor Harrison Hong and University of British Colombia professor Marcin Kacperczyk (full paper available at It has been widely accepted that “sin” stocks—i.e. publicly-traded companies involved in producing guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco, and gaming and politically

Death Elasticity and Taxes

The following is an excerpt from an article I originally wrote in June 2008.  Today, with the Bush tax cuts set to expire, the insights of this article are more important than ever. Moving on to a different area in human predictability, Gerald Prante of the Tax Foundation recommended a

Making Sense of Information Overload

“The Internet’s sheer scale means that listening to all of the noise would result in information overload. Before it can be understood effectively, it needs to be harnessed into usable data.” –Dalrymple and Chrysafis, 2010 The quote above is particular true in the financial markets, where we at The Sizemore