Here are eight fascinating things I read this week.
A common complaint is that CEOs aren't long-term thinkers. Can you blame them?
CEOs can be forgiven for pursuing a "get rich quick" strategy; since the 1970s, the average tenure of a CEO has fallen from almost 12 years to six. Why would they care about long-term value? And while buy-backs may return money to those shareholders who take advantage of them, they may damage long-term investors; the peak for buy-backs was in early 2008, just when the market was about to crash. As Warren Buffett has said, this was the equivalent of buying dollar bills for $1.10.
Jeff Bezos explains why Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) can get away without earning any money:
The way Bezos sees it, he built a lemonade stand that did really well. So he took the money from the lemonade stand and he built a hot dog stand, and a hamburger stand, and so on.
That has always been the plan for Amazon. Invest its profits in new lines of business. Amazon's investors know that's the deal and are OK with it.
This is why Apple couldn't suddenly shift gears and say, "We're going to forgo profits to pursue market share!" That's not the company people are investing in.
So, if you're starting a company and you want to be like Amazon, do it from day one.
Those married in 2000 have a lower rate of divorce at the same point in marriage than most generations before them:
Hamilton Nolan has a smart idea for paying politicians:
How much should an elected public servant be paid? They should be paid the same amount that their average constituent makes. Politicians at the national level should make what an average American makes. (We're using the per capita GDP figure to be nice; the actual median personal income is significantly lower. GDP, household income, personal income, or even minimum wage income could all be plausible choices, depending on how harsh you want to be.) State politicians can make the average income in their respective states. What better way to ensure that our elected leaders are keeping the interests of the middle class in mind than to give them a middle class paycheck?
Outflows from mutual funds have been matched almost perfectly by inflows into ETFs:
If the increase in U.S. oil output since 2008 were the total output of a single country, that country would be one of the biggest members of OPEC:
Since 2008 -- when fear of "peak oil," after which global output would supposedly decline, was the dominant motif -- U.S. oil production has risen 80%, to nine million barrels daily. The U.S. increase alone is greater than the output of every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia.
Have a foreign-sounding name? It's harder to find a job:
Job seekers with foreign-sounding names have to send out twice as many resumes as candidates with "native" names before landing an interview.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found that a foreign name makes the job search harder for applicants across all 17 developed countries it surveyed.
In the United States, the situation is the worst for people with distinctively "Black names," such as Jamal and Lakisha, researchers noted.
They have to send out twice as many resumes.
Americans feel good again:
For the first time since 2007, a majority of Americans think things are going well in the nation, a new CNN/ORC International poll found.
It's a slim majority -- just 52 percent of Americans said things are going well, while 48 percent said things are going badly -- but it's the most positive appraisal of the state of the nation that the poll has found since January of 2007.
Have a good weekend.
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