Text

Physicist, Startup Founder, Blogger, Dad

Sunday, March 06, 2005

View from Omaha (Warren Buffett)

From the annual Berkshire Hathaway report (total mkt cap is about $135B, so FX component is 15%):

Berkshire owned about $21.4 billion of foreign exchange contracts at yearend, spread among 12 currencies. As I mentioned last year, holdings of this kind are a decided change for us. Before March 2002, neither Berkshire nor I had ever traded in currencies. But the evidence grows that our trade policies will put unremitting pressure on the dollar for many years to come – so since 2002 we’ve heeded that warning in setting our investment course.

...But as I argued in a November 10, 2003 article in Fortune, (available at berkshirehathaway.com), our country’s trade practices are weighing down the dollar. The decline in its value has already been substantial, but is nevertheless likely to continue. Without policy changes, currency markets could even become disorderly and generate spillover effects, both political and financial. No one knows whether these problems will materialize. But such a scenario is a far-from-remote possibility that policymakers should be considering now. Their bent, however, is to lean toward not-so-benign neglect: A 318-page Congressional study of the consequences of unremitting trade deficits was published in November 2000 and has been gathering dust ever since. The study was ordered after the deficit hit a then-alarming $263 billion in 1999; by last year it had risen to $618 billion.

...Americans end up owning a reduced portion of our country while non-Americans own a greater part. This force-feeding of American wealth to the rest of the world is now proceeding at the rate of $1.8 billion daily, an increase of 20% since I wrote you last year. Consequently, other countries and their citizens now own a net of about $3 trillion of the U.S. A decade ago their net ownership was negligible.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Americans end up owning a reduced portion of our country while non-Americans own a greater part. This force-feeding of American wealth to the rest of the world is now proceeding at the rate of $1.8 billion daily, an increase of 20% since I wrote you last year. Consequently, other countries and their citizens now own a net of about $3 trillion of the U.S. A decade ago their net ownership was negligible."

There is the problem in future. We have less and less relative claim on our own income. This is the household saving problem perfectly described.

Anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/arts/dance/06kour.html

Dancing a Dream, From a Child of Mao's Revolution
By GIA KOURLAS

NOMAD: THE RIVER
Yin Mei

LIKE millions of girls who had come before her, the choreographer Yin Mei was staunchly devoted to her diary. But the thoughts she poured onto its pages were drastically different from those of a typical angst-ridden adolescent. She grew up in a town in central China during the Cultural Revolution. At age 7, she, along with her classmates, started a journal to record, as she puts it, "her progress along the revolutionary road."

"We were the children of Chairman Mao," Ms. Yin, now 42, said recently. "We wanted to offer our life to him. It was real. From the ages of 7 to 14, I sincerely wanted to become a farmer or a soldier. During the Cultural Revolution, everybody spoke the same meaningless words. But as I was reading my later diaries, I can tell I started to have other feelings and sensations. I started to think about myself."

Around the same time she began her diary, Ms. Yin watched a ballet film and fell in love with dance. One of her most treasured childhood memories occurred when her father surprised her with a pair of ballet slippers.

"As students, we had to work on the farm to help with harvest time," she said. "We were basically doing all kinds of things except studying in school. I came home from the country and saw this pair of slippers. I was so excited that I did not even wash my feet. From then on, I was dancing." ...

Anne

Anonymous said...

Yin Mei

During the Cultural Revolution, Ms. Yin, whose outward fragility belies a tougher inner core, performed with a traditional Chinese company before moving to New York in 1985. In her newest piece, "Nomad: The River," to be performed at Dance Theater Workshop beginning on Wednesday, she strives to resolve the experiences of her childhood, not through a linear depiction but through strange and bewitching imagery that is pieced together like a dream.

"Nomad," a quartet, features a set by Christopher Salter so extravagant it could be taken for an installation. Mr. Salter collaborated with the choreographer William Forsythe and the director Peter Sellars before helping to found Sponge, an art and research organization. He met Ms. Yin last spring at Brown University, where he was teaching a course in performance technology.

He watched a showing of "Nomad," which she had staged with a group of students there, and was riveted.

"I've worked on and seen a lot of dance, and what impressed me about Yin Mei's work was the sheer visceral quality of it," Mr. Salter said. "There's very little work happening where you really feel it in your gut. I was also interested in the mix of vocabulary. You see edges of Asian movement traditions, but you also see a lot of German expressionist dance and European influences. I was struck by the fact that it was very organic. It's rooted in a real place." ...

Anne

Anonymous said...

Shall we dance :) ?

Anne

Anonymous said...

So I suppose we are left to joking that if we all know we have a destructive fiscal policy, if we all know there will be consequences that are not the least pleasing, then we will be wrong because we all agree. Bah!

Anne

Blog Archive

Labels