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Circle of Competence Issue #44

Quote of the week: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” - Mark Twain.


Book Review - The Worldly Philosophers

I finished a copy of Robert Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers this week after it was recommended by a friend of mine (H/T John W.). Overall, it gives a concise treatment of the history of great economic ideas from Adam Smith's Invisible Hand to Marx's Communist Utopia to Keynes' General Theory on money and employment. This is a great read for those looking for a solid introduction into the philosophical and historical contexts of the great economic ideas and thinkers from Adam Smith onward. I would venture as far as this - before reading Smith's Wealth of Nations, Marx's Communist Manifesto, or Keynes' General Theory, read the chapter on each economist to paint the landscape in which each work took place.

I would love to hear from some subscribers on their latest and greatest Holiday reading!

Market Cycles Update

I wrote about my thoughts on the current market cycle back in issue 33 and issue 38 so I wanted to update these two posts with a couple more thoughts.

- the Federal Reserve has increased fed funds rate to 2.5% as of December 19th, the highest rate since April 2008.

- Stock markets around the world are nearing bear market territory after their December selloffs

- The Dow just experienced one of the worst performances in December on record

- 10 year minus 2 year treasury curve is at a very modest 20 basis points, up from around 10 basis points late last week, hovering above an inversion