The Stingy News Weekly (09/09/2013)
The tragedy of the commons
"The problem with Hardin's logic was the very first step: the assumption that communally owned land was a free-for-all. It wasn't. The commons were owned by a community. They were managed by a community. These people were neighbours. They lived next door to each other. In many cases, they set their own rules and policed those rules."
Quality Minus Junk
"We define a quality security as one that has characteristics that, all-else-equal, an investor should be willing to pay a higher price for: stocks that are safe, profitable, growing, and well managed. High-quality stocks do have higher prices on average, but not by a very large margin. Perhaps because of this puzzlingly modest impact of quality on price, high-quality stocks have high risk-adjusted returns. Indeed, a quality-minus-junk (QMJ) factor that goes long high-quality stocks and shorts low-quality stocks earns significant risk-adjusted returns in the U.S. and globally across 24 countries. The price of quality - i.e., how much investors pay extra for higher quality stocks - varies over time, reaching a low during the internet bubble. Further, a low price of quality predicts a high future return of QMJ. "
Francis Chou seminar
"Francis talks value at the Ivey business school"
Canadians can afford retirement
"A recent study from Statistics Canada on 'The Adequacy of Household Savings' explicitly takes wealth into consideration. It found that two-thirds of Canadians exceed optimal savings for retirement; for the rest, the 'undersaving is small' at less than $30,000 on average and concentrated among low income earners, who already get substantial pension supplements from government. These arguments are validated by the OECD Report on pensions that found that Canada has one of the lowest rates of elder poverty in the world."
Hard-wired for giving
"The Darwinian principle of "survival of the fittest" echoes what many people believe about life: To get ahead, you need to look out for No. 1. A cursory read of evolutionary doctrine suggests that the selfish individuals able to outcompete others for the best mates and the most resources are most likely to pass their genes on to the next generation. Then there is classical economic theory, which holds that given the choice, we will often opt for a personal benefit over a personal loss, even if that loss involves a benefit to someone else. The philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill championed the self-centered theory in the mid-1800s, describing man as a creature that "does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessaries, conveniences and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labor and physical self-denial." But the latest science shows that, in fact, we are also hard-wired to be generous."
Munger on milk
"Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why milk is in the back of the grocery store. Michael Pollan and others argue that milk is in the back so that customers, who often buy milk, will be forced to walk through the entire story and be encouraged by the trek to buy other items. Munger and Roberts argue that competition encourages stores to serve customers and that alternative explanations explain where milk is found in the store."
"Charlie Munger is Warren Buffett's co-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and an investing genius in his own right. He's almost 90, six years older than Buffett, but every bit as sharp and cagey even in his advanced age. And also, he kicks the shit out of all you momentum investor hotshots, what with your risk parities and your quant factors and your newfangled social networking stocks. Munger has run into more burning buildings than the NYFD, dodging scores of other investors fleeing in the opposite direction without even a second's hesitation."
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