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Wednesday 26 March 2014

The American Dream - Renewing Wealth Creation

The process of making money is the best education for making more money, our society’s wealth can grow only if the people who create it control it. Divorce the financial profits from the learning process and the economy stagnates.

Although many of today’s entrepreneurs are too busy to notice, they are indeed performing a near miracle of personal wealth creation. Most started their companies only a few years ago on relatively meager capital. Now, zapping their companies with police radar as they zoom by at a growth rate of some 50% per year, we can guess that dozens of those entrepreneurs command a net worth of scores of millions. 

Soon they will be knocking on the doors of truly supreme wealth… like their predecessors Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Steve Jobs of Apple and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook among others.

In sharp contrast, many American intellectuals today think there ought to be a law against such a reckless rags to riches. Tax it away, they say, and give it to people who need it more. Capitalism, it is widely believed, would work better without all these superrich capitalists.

Read More: The American Dream

Thank you, 
Ziad K Abdelnour

Monday 24 March 2014

Last bastion of capitalism falling?

In the wake of the financial crisis, opponents of the banking industry are always eager to find new sticks with which to beat the villains of Wall Street. The latest one they have stumbled upon is banks’ participation in physical commodities.

On July 19, the US Federal Reserve Board issued a statement saying it was reviewing a 2003 determination that paved the way for banks to increase their involvement in the transport and storage of physical commodities. 

Separately, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have both made disclosures that suggest the Fed is reviewing the additional latitude the two banks have to engage in physical activities – a legacy of their pre-2008 status as investment banks.

These developments have come amid a torrent of criticism from commentators, politicians and regulators. At a one-sided US Senate hearing on July 23, banks’ physical commodity trading was linked to an array of negative consequences, including inflated commodity prices, rising systemic risk and even a potential shortage of beer cans.

Read More: What is this big fuss about banks being involved in physical commodities?

Thank you,

Thursday 20 March 2014

Chemical Weapons Attack on Syria | Chemical Weapons Moving out of Country

The head of the opposition Free Syrian Army recently told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour he has intelligence showing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government is moving its chemical weapons out of the country.

If the allegations are true – and I strongly believe they are – it could fundamentally shift the assessments of U.S. intelligence officials.

Assad would disperse his stockpile of chemical weapons because he knows the United States would not bomb it, hence allowing Syrian security forces to always have the edge – directly or by proxy – and this will ensure him the last word no matter what.

The Syrian opposition on the other hand is afraid that Assad’s forces will then use those weapons sometime in the future – even after the international effort to collect and destroy its chemical weapons arsenal is finished…. Another reason why the arms race would be going on for years … at least as a deterrent to Assad.

Read More:  Chemical Weapons are the only Problem with Syria

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Wednesday 19 March 2014

Religious Fervor and the Future of Lebanon

As a Lebanese myself, I would say the existence of over 18 different sects (Alawite, Armenian Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic, Copts, Druze, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Isma’ili, Jewish, Latin Catholic, Maronite, Protestant, Sunni, Shi’a, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Orthodox) in Lebanon has always been both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing because the liberal Lebanese value the diversity of sects and appreciate the cultural flavors it adds to the society. They see it as an opportunity to influence and be influenced by others on an intellectual, social, cultural and even educational level. 

They cherish this engagement and try to promote it whenever they talk about Lebanon. They accept it as a fundamental aspect of Lebanese society and very rarely (if ever) this diversity, negatively influences our choices of friends, life partners, lovers and other aspects of our daily lives.

Read More:  Religious Fervor and the Future of Lebanon

Thank you,

Tuesday 18 March 2014

This Isn’t Your Father’s Middle East Stupid Wake Up

I am a Lebanese-American, a conservative and a capitalist. I was born in Lebanon, and had one dream and one dream alone – to come to America, and make my fortune as a capitalist. I did just that. 

I studied at The Wharton School, went to work at the most entrepreneurial firm on Wall Street, Drexel Burnham Lambert, became a global entrepreneur-financier, and made my mark dealing with some of the largest capital pools in the world, orchestrating large scale buyouts and recapitalizations.

Today, the Middle East is a very different place than the one I left 25 years ago. “This isn’t your father’s Middle East,” a good friend with whom I do business in the region loves to tell me. 

And yet he is disappointed that most Americans seem stuck in the 1970s when it comes to how we think and describe the place – as if all Arabs are the same, none worthy of our trust or respect.

Read More:  Stupid Wake Up

Thank you,