BlackSummit Financial Group, Inc. proudly introduces The Monthly Barometer.

The Barometer is written by Thierry Malleret, a professional with whom we collaborate with. Thierry brings a uniquely insightful perspective to global economics and geo-politics. We have found his writings to be mind-stimulating, full of wisdom, perception, and characterized by intellectual honesty.

Thierry is a former top executive for the World Economic Forum (WEF) that organizes the Davos Conference. He has also served as Chief Economist and Strategist for Alfa Bank managing a team of experts for capital markets in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Thierry has also served with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was a resident fellow with the Institute of East-West Security Studies, and was assigned to the Office of the Prime Minister of France between 1988-’90. Thierry has a doctoral degree in economics from Oxford University.

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We hope that you enjoy his publication over the next few months.

5 insightful op-eds or articles to help make sense of today’s world

Mickey Levy, “Clarifying the Debate about Deflation Concerns”
(VOX, February 21, 2014)
The risk of deflation is one of today’s most prominent macro themes in developed markets. The chief economist of Bank of America argues that deflation risk needs to be disaggregated by countries / regions. In the US, he says, the risk is nil, as disinflation is attributable to positive supply-side developments. He puts the risk of mild-deflation in Europe at 20%, and he’s unsure about Japan.

Geoff Dyer, “US Vs. China – Is This the New Cold War?”
(Financial Times, February 20, 2014 – metered paywall)
A rather detailed, longish view on the military competition that opposes the US and China in the Pacific. In the opinion of Dyer, who’s just authored a book on the subject, this will become the defining geopolitical contest of the 21st century.

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, “The Dawn of the Age of Artificial Intelligence”
(The Atlantic, February 14, 2014)
Recently, we’ve reported a lot about the fight between techno-optimists and techno-pessimists. The co-authors of “Race Against the Machine” belong to the camp of the former. They find many reasons “to cheer the rise of the machines”, and argue with force that the emergence of real artificial intelligence (AI) and the connection of most people via a common digital network will fundamentally change our growth prospects.

Josh Bersin, “The Bell-Curve is a Myth”
(Quartz, February 19, 2014)
The reason why so many companies (not least Microsoft!) are abandoning performance measurement systems is because human performance follows a “power law” distribution rather than their bell-curve one. This post argues that good companies should try to attract “hyper-performers”, but also that “hyper-performance” can be developed and rewarded.

Micah Zenko, “The More you Talk, the Less you Know”
(Foreign Policy, February 20, 2014)
We live in a “celebrity”, (social) media-obsessed society in which experts’ reputation is often correlated with the number of followers, Facebook “likes” and so on. Zenko, an academic / policy-maker, disagrees and states that: “Over time, I have found that the most-informed and thoughtful people (…) are private intellectuals, who are totally unknown to the general public”.