BlackRock Fink’s Bully Pulpit: Accelerating Stakeholder Interests

If you have a bully pulpit, use it. That’s precisely what BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink did when he championed corporates’ engagement with purpose to staunch the pace of climate change and embrace the preservation of the public commons together with its specific stakeholders.

The State and Cryptocurrency

Expect state government agencies and legislators to move most quickly on providing regulatory clarity on FinTech regulation in the United States. U.S. federal regulatory agencies have initiated enforcement actions against some of the most egregious cryptocurrency investment practices and are watching the industry closely.

Round-Up: 17Q4 Real GDP Growth Likely to Stay at +2.6% in Second Report; Budget Deal Approved

With the government open for business as usual this morning, book-valuewholesale inventories were reported up +0.4% in December. Including revisions, these data were in-line with BEA’s estimates in the Advance Report of 17Q4 GDP. FMI is still tracking no net change to 17Q4’s +2.6% real GDP growth in the Second Report on February 28.  

EconVue Spotlight | Is the Global Financial Crisis Finally Over?

What a week it was!  Equity markets and cryptocurrencies, both of which appeared to defy the laws of gravity, and the US dollar took a dive.  However, the story of synchronized global growth does not seem to have changed. Have we finally escaped the long dark shadow cast in 2008?  Renowned Japanese economy expert Takatoshi Ito thinks that things are changing at the Bank of Japan, the institution that invented and led the world in quantitative easing. This could be a signal of things to come in a new global monetary policy environment.

Fortress Healthcare Meanders Toward Value

Heavy rain drenched San Francisco the first day of JP Morgan’s 36th Annual Healthcare Conference. Many reported seeing Noah building an ark in Union Square. The “big ship” metaphor carried into the conference. Healthcare giants across all sectors are scaling up to withstand transformational pressures while driving toward better outcomes, lower costs and more consumerism.

The Mobile Mainstream

"Changing consumer preferences and behaviors are focused on ease of use, convenience, and immediacy of payment that can be obtained through the mobile channel," reports the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its most recent mobile payments study.

Yet the mobile experience in the mainstream of U.S. commerce hardly meets that ideal.

Moreno Reviving Ecuador's Participatory Democracy

I am sharing my new article on the policies and challenges of Ecuador's recently elected president Lenin Moreno, with recommendations for US policymakers.  The article emphasizes the positive steps that President Moreno has taken in reviving an inclusive, democratic discourse in his country, as well as opportunities for the US to respectfully work with him and his government, despite persistent policy differences. The article is originally published through Newsmax.

US Corporate Governance/The New Tax Law Comes with Complications

While an optimistic consensus in corporate America is growing around last year’s passage of a sweeping US tax bill, corporate boards would be wise to pivot their spending deliberations to how companies can catalyze new technologies on behalf of improvements in real wages, growing jobs and educating the workforce. This should be the preference over stock buybacks and shareholder dividends if the US economy is to realize more than a one-time, feel-good growth spurt.

Davos and the anti-Davos Man (Trump)

The annual World Economic Forum (WEF) will convene this week in the ski resort of Davos.  The WEF, which was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab (who at age 80, continues to run the organization) is an annual meeting of the global economic, business and political power elites. (Tidbit: the aggregate annual compensation of the two dozen global leaders of industry attending Davos is estimated at $300 million).  While uber-elitist, the Davos meetings do reflect the major issues of the day and are useful sounding boards for discussing global economic and financial matters.