Another Silicon Valley reckoning is on the horizon. We have seen cyclical events like this before, the 2001 bubble burst being the most recent memorable reckoning. The talk in 2001 was about too much “dumb money.” The coming reckoning, however, is on a massive, unprecedented scale, fueled by the same excess of global capital that has fueled the bubbles in housing markets in attractive locations around the World. The problems with Uber, Travis Kalanick, and the now obvious difficulty of the Uber Board of Directors to exercise meaningful governance should have been the “canary in the coal mine.” CNBC’s reporting on the excessive Silicon Valley “unicorn” valuations and media reports that New Enterprise Associates would divest $1 Billion in startup investments that cannot be made liquid have made the situation blatantly obvious. After a long silence, the Wall Street Journal has finally joined the reporting on the crisis. What more does one need to take to the exit?
As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out this week in the Washington Post and on CNN GPS, we now have a Trump foreign policy doctrine, and it is not reassuring for the World. Obviously heavily influenced by Bannon, who many had thought had been relegated to backseat status by McMaster, we have been fooled again. As Trump demonstrates his RealPolitik admiration for authoritarians like Putin, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, and Duterte, more sinister scenarios begin to crystallize. Trump’s speech justifying the withdrawal of the United States from the COP21 Paris Climate Change Agreement is a frightening exposition of this new Trump Doctrine. It is Trump thumbing his nose at the World. It is the United States against the World, led by a coterie of plutocrats and their money. The reality is that the evidence points to an ongoing seizure of executive power by Trump that destroys our Constitution in the name of our national security. The question is what we can do about it.
The global agribusiness industry has recently seen a feeding frenzy of merger and acquisition activity. The announcement this week of Bayer’s proposed purchase of Monsanto after months of difficult negotiation is only one among other such industry consolidation deals. Dow Chemical and DuPont agreed last year to merge their crop science businesses, a deal currently under Justice Department review. Canadian fertilizer companies Potash Corp. and Agrium also agreed to merge this week. Finally, Swiss pesticide giant Syngenta AG agreed to a $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp., a state-owned conglomerate that already sells generic agricultural chemicals. The bigger picture suggests severely reduced competition, higher prices for farmers and consumers, and increased global corporate control of crop seeds, particularly GMO’s. So what is going on here?
I am sharing this because of its particular relevance to the ongoing revelations about connections between global tax evasion shell companies and real estate markets: London, Miami, New York City, San Francisco and Vancouver.
Four senior executives from the Belfast office of international accountancy firm KPMG have been arrested on tax evasion charges. KPMG acknowledged in a press release that four of its top executives in Northern Ireland were arrested Wednesday.
Pfizer’s announcement this week of its intricate $160 Billion merger/acquisition with Irish pharmaceutical company Allergan, revealed that Pfizer will be moving the new corporate headquarters to Dublin. Essentially, Pfizer, the much larger company, is providing a bridging loan to Allergan to purchase Pfizer so that it may move to Ireland. This enables Pfizer to avoid paying U.S. taxes, even after receiving massive support for R&D from U.S. government programs.
I found this important editorial opinion piece in The Guardian, the UK journal. The point of this is, […]
Some people seem to be having a problem with Nick Hanauer. He seems to have pissed off a lot of people, but at the same time, he seems to be talking sense and to have achieved significant traction. This often seems to happen in times of turmoil and change. A multi-millionaire in his own right, but also someone with a profound liberal arts and humanities grounding, Mr. Hanauer has called “foul,” with the behavior of the 1%. I am personally fascinated with people like this, because I sense that Hanauer is somewhat like me. I worked with Ivy League MBA’s at Intel who said to me that they wished that they had my humanities education, while I told them that I wished I had their management education. I now teach management in a prestigious university and can comment intelligently.
At The New Yorker, George Packer considers one significant way in which this Gilded Age differs from the last one. Amazon, Apple and Google are not Standard Oil, Ford or General Motors, but there are parallels. We are facing monumental economic and social issues that we need to be prepared to address.
This weekend, the media and blogosphere have been ignited with reaction to the open letter to the Wall Street Journal by venture capitalist Tom Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the blowback from Atlantic Magazine writer Jordan Weissmann. The overwhelming reaction has been disbelief and outrage at Perkins comments. I am so angry and sad to see this article and interview of legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Tom Perkins. It is further evidence to my earlier post on the “Silicon Valley Jerk Conundrum.”
Ironically, if Perkins had kept his thoughts to himself and his mouth shut, he could have avoided what is now a firestorm likely to engulf him and insure further scrutiny of income inequality.