The late historian Barbara Tuchman, in her work The March of Folly, chronicles how governments throughout history have regularly and repeatedly pursued policies contrary to their self-interest. Looking as far back as the ancient Trojans, who imprudently took the wooden horse within their walls, through the Vietnam War, Tuchman shows how nations persist in pursuing self-defeating policies. She suggests governments do this even when those policies are known to be counterproductive and when a feasible alternative course of action is available. Tuchman notes that this happens when “wooden-headedness” and self-deception play a significant role in government.

For the United States…

Following the Thanksgiving weekend, the US is experiencing a spike in daily recorded COVID-19 cases well above the summer’s previous highs. Hospitals and medical facilities are once again showing signs of extreme strain. Yet given the massive impact to the economy and human welfare of the second quarter’s ‘Great Pause,’ the possibility of renewed nationwide lockdowns and other restrictions has sent chills down the collective spines of employers and employees alike.

Early 2020 was a period of time when fear and panic seemed more contagious than SARS-CoV-2 itself. Leaders reached for the nearest blunt instruments available-lockdowns and travel restrictions-which shutdown…

https://ceoworld.biz/2020/11/18/decoding-the-coming-economic-crisis/

Millions of Americans awoke today knowing only what they knew before: that the nation is fractured down the middle, the 2020 election is the most contentious in their lifetimes, and the process is likely to drag on for days if not weeks before we see an outcome. Not since the 19th century, with the two sundering elections of Abraham Lincoln and the deeply flawed Compromise of 1877 elevating Rutherford B. Hayes to the presidency, have America’s politics been so horribly divisive and her society as ripe for wide-scale unrest and violence. …

It has been called the most contentious and controversial US presidential election ever. The nation never seemed more divided. Throughout the campaign, the Democrats called the Republican candidate everything from a liar, to a madman, a cheat, a traitor, an enemy of America, and a would-be tyrant. Firing back, the Republicans accused the Democratic challenger of being past his sell-by date and in ill health, of being corrupted by financial ties to industrial parties, and as being a dull and lifeless prop for the dark forces conspiring behind him. Suspicion of voter fraud was rampant, and heavily armed and marauding…

For economists, tales of hyperinflations are the academic equivalent of a reading of the Apocalypse in the book of Revelation. They are for the monetarily-minded a campfire story of the horrible wraith beyond the woods, or the morbid fascination of an automobile crash from which one cannot turn away. The terror is understandable when one considers how high- and hyper- inflations destroy lives by eviscerating savings and wages, impoverishing pensioners and the middle classes, and ultimately undermining the fabric of society itself.

For my generation growing up in the U.S. or Europe, hyperinflation is like a medieval fairy tale, occurring…

“Winter is Coming” is a widely recognized phrase from the popular TV show Game of Thrones. It is also the title of an important, if polemical and somewhat finger-wagging, book by Garry Kasperov on Putin’s rise to power and the West’s ongoing complacency in the face of what Francis Fukayama called our “greatest foreign policy challenge.”

Winter is Coming should now also be a catalyst for America as we head into our national election season alongside a resurgence of the pandemic in our cities and economic hubs, unprecedented unemployment, widespread social unrest, and a host of fundamental and largely ignored…

When Shakespeare had King Henry IV sleeplessly mutter, “ Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” the Bard was speaking a human truth that resonates across centuries and cultures to anyone in leadership whose responsibilities entail decisions that affect human lives.

Today, around the world, national, regional and local political leaders, along with their corporate and business peers, are facing in COVID-19 a leadership test unseen in generations.

These leaders’ constituencies, and the experts advising them, all have opinions about what should be done. …

Africa’s high urban population densities, high numbers of day workers, and weak medical systems would seem to make it highly vulnerable to COVID-19. But Africa could emerge from the pandemic with less lasting damage than many fear.

In The Fortunes of Africa, author Martin Meredith describes a Dutch sailing ship that dropped off a load of laundry for the Khoikhoi, the local inhabitants of the southwestern cape of Africa whom Europeans called Hottentots. The year was 1713. The Khoikhoi washed the laundry and were duly paid. But the laundry was carrying smallpox. Over the next year, the community was laid to waste. Nine out of ten Khoikhoi died, and the tribe eventually disappeared from the Cape. Thus marched the biological expansion of Europe in the colonial age over much of Africa and the Americas.

Once again, a…

Michael Wilkerson

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