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Monday, May 22, 2017

The Trump Trilemma

The currents of trade, President Donald Trump accepts, will ebb and flow. “Sometimes they can be up and sometimes we can be up,” he said in an recent interview with The Economist. To him, though, a long-term trade deficit—such as that between America and Mexico, which ran to $56 billion...
By Andrew Ross Sorkin Twenty years ago this week, Amazon.com went public. Skeptics of Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, have spent the better part of the past two decades second-guessing and vilifying him: He has been described as “a monopolist,” “literary enemy No. 1,” “a notorious international tax dodger,” impossible,...
When a video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight went viral last month, the American carrier’s Middle Eastern rivals were quick to mock its customer service. Qatar Airways updated its smartphone app to say that it “doesn’t support drag and drop.” The ribbing was justified. During...
By Jeremy G. Philips There is a growing drumbeat that the five leading tech behemoths have turned into dangerous monopolies that stifle innovation and harm consumers. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook—what the tech columnist Farhad Manjoo calls the Frightful Five—have a combined market capitalization of more than $2.7 trillion...
By Andrew Ross Sorkin "The tax system is not crippling our business around the world.”  That was Warren E. Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, at the recent company’s annual meeting, known as the “Woodstock of capitalism.” Buffett, in a remarkably blunt and pointed remark, implicitly rebuked his...
A new commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These...
The election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president dismayed most of New York: Trump’s home city had voted overwhelmingly for another local candidate, Hillary Clinton. Wall Street cheered, though. Between Election Day on November 8 and March 1, the S&P 500 sub-index of American banks’ share prices soared by...

The Buffetts of China

As the second-richest person in the world, and with a half-century record of investing success, Warren Buffett is a household name worldwide. In China, though, he is something more: a celebrity. In March a special edition of Cherry Coke, featuring a cartoon image of the 86-year-old investor, hit Chinese shelves:...
In 1662 a London haberdasher with an eye for numbers published the first quantitative account of death. John Graunt tallied causes such as “the King’s Evil,” a tubercular disease believed to be cured by the monarch’s touch. Others seem uncanny, even poetic: In 1632, Graunt reported, 15 Londoners “made...
By Andrew Ross Sorkin For a brief moment, Wall Street stopped on May 1st, as if time was suspended in an alternative reality.  President Donald Trump, for the first time as resident of the White House, said aloud that he was considering breaking up the nation’s biggest banks. Of course,...
"Well, I’m mostly there on most items,” President Donald Trump said of his 100-day plan. As far as trade policy is concerned, his self-assessment would indeed be true—if tweets and executive orders ratcheting up tensions in a growing number of trade disputes constituted progress. However, although Trump has withdrawn America from...
By Jack Ewing When Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, met with President Donald Trump in Washington, she brought three executives with her, all heads of German manufacturing or engineering giants. Their message? Germany is not a threat to the United States. For decades, the United States has been a kind of second...
As an example of all that is wrong with President Donald Trump’s view of trade, the probe into the steel industry that he has ordered is particularly hard to beat. If it results, as seems to be the plan, in blanket punitive tariffs slapped on steel imports, the consequences would...
North Korea can be as confusing as it is alarming. It is a hereditary Marxist monarchy. It has the world’s youngest supreme leader and also its oldest: The reigning tyrant, Kim Jong Un, is in his 30s, but his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, is the “eternal president” despite having...
Trump Tower, in midtown Manhattan, has become a modern-day Mount Vernon. Tourists have long visited President George Washington’s homestead. Now they venture through Trump Tower’s brass doors to ogle the décor—“it’s so gold,” said a German teenager standing near the lobby’s waterfall on a recent afternoon—or to buy souvenirs. The...
By Andrew Ross Sorkin Guess what Steven A. Ballmer has been up to for the last several years. (No, not just cheering for the basketball team he owns, the Los Angeles Clippers.) It’s a novel project.  When Ballmer retired as chief executive of Microsoft in 2014, he was only 57...
By Landon Thomas Jr. The International Monetary Fund has raised its outlook for global growth, citing a postelection surge in confidence in the United States, better prospects in large emerging markets and an uptick in global trade. The rosy forecast is something of a change of mind for the fund, which...
By Danielle Ivory For years, as Wells Fargo secretly set up millions of fake bank and credit card accounts without customers’ consent, the bank’s federal regulator was learning of hundreds of whistle-blower complaints against the company for its sales tactics. But that regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,...
Cars are getting bigger. For years motorists worldwide have been abandoning four-door sedans in favor of bulkier SUVs.   Carmakers have become bigger, too. Four car companies now make around 10 million vehicles a year in order to reap economies of scale, particularly in the mass-market sector of the business,...
By Andrew Ross Sorkin If you were to look for one ingredient that binds together the nation’s chief executives, top managers and boards of directors, you’d find a remarkably consistent commonality, now and in generations past: A disproportionate number of them are graduates of Harvard Business School. An MBA from HBS,...
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