June 21, 2012

Frank Newman's Six Myths -#1: Asian nations are bankrolling the U.S.

Charles Perrottet
Partner

Today we examine the first “myth” from Frank Newman’s book Six Myths That Are Holding Back America – the idea that Asian nations are bankrolling the U.S.

 

The key to understanding the impact of foreign purchases of U.S. Treasuries is that, except for the very small amount of cash physically carried by tourists, cash never leaves the country.  Money is never “used up”.  It merely changes ownership.  A deficit in the U.S. balance of trade creates a call on U.S. dollars by foreigners.  This in turn results in a transfer of dollars from one account to another,...Read more

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June 21, 2012

The Problem With Everything: Them

Patrick Marren
Partner

So far I have soft-peddled my actual politics on here. It's only seemed like the sensible thing to do on the website of a commercial enterprise to keep my political opinions to myself.

But there comes a time when you just have to say what you really believe.

There are two types of people in the world: the sensible ones who can see that we are headed down a very bad path, and the nutty ones who want to hit the accelerator until we fly right off a cliff.

Good, sensible people are on a long losing streak, you see. I blame the Internet, in part. It causes bad ideas to...Read more

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June 20, 2012

We're Doomed! No, We're Saved! Euro Scenarios

Patrick Marren
Partner

Scenario consulting has rarely had a better promotional material than Europe has been pumping out the past year or so. Uncertainty abounds.

Sunday's election in Greece has once again caused the Very Serious People in Europe to breathe a sigh of relief. "New Democracy, the mainline conservative party that wants to stay in the euro, won the election and can form a government! We're saved!" 

But Sunday's result guarantees nothing. The ultimate fate of Greece's membership in the Euro Zone rests not on which party is in power – the Coalition of the Radical Left, Syriza, had also...Read more

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June 18, 2012

Book Review: Six Myths that Hold Back America

Charles Perrottet
Partner

Frank Newman's book, Six Myths that Hold Back America, exposes what he says are six false beliefs that are widely held in the United States – even or especially among people who are in a position to make policy.Read more

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June 11, 2012

Why Scenario Planning Works

Patrick Marren
Partner

Say you have a strategic decision to make. And you have several experts giving you different expert opinions about how you should make that decision. And you are not an expert. What do you do?

This is hardly an academic question. In fact, it is a fairly good description of what top management has to do every day. Especially in this era of the Internet, experts can be found to disagree on everything from interest rates to global warming to whether it is raining outside. 

Organizational leaders...Read more

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June 08, 2012

Pray for Austerity to Work in 2013...

Patrick Marren
Partner

Another quick and filthy Friday Scenario Planning exercise.

Someone is holding a gun to your head and asking what the impact of the 2012 election will be on your organization.

Here's your answer: Austerity -- either moderate or less moderate. 

Damnable 2 x 2 consultant matrix for today: Obama vs. Romney on one axis; Keynes Is Right vs. The Austrians Are Right on the other.

The first axis is self-explanatory: Obama gets re-elected versus Romney gets elected. The second is as follows: "Keynes Is Right" means that John Maynard Keynes' analysis of the original Great...Read more

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June 01, 2012

U.S. Election Scenario Data Points: June 1, 2012

Patrick Marren
Partner

May job numbers come in weak for yet another month, after some hopeful signs in the first quarter. Some scenarios for the election campaign are coming into focus.Read more

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May 25, 2012

Friday Scenario Warning: Check Your Ideology at the Door

Patrick Marren
Partner

In election season as in any other season, when making business decisions in conditions of uncertainty, ideologies can be deadly - and we all have them. Scenarios can help.Read more

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May 24, 2012

Scenario Planning for Global Trade & Logistics

Peter Kennedy
Managing Principal

In mid-May, FSG principals facilitated a scenario-planning exercise for the Port Commerce Department of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Under the guidance of FSG and our partner, Cargo Velocity, some 60 workshop participants devoted three days to exploring the strategic implications of five alternative future operating environments for maritime trade and logistics. Scenario planning is part of a broader Port Commerce effort known as Project Port Horizon to think proactively about, and begin to prepare for, emerging...Read more

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May 16, 2012

Types of Scenario Planning

by Charles Thomas

The term “scenario planning” encompasses a surprisingly diverse range of activities. While there are many potential schemes for categorizing these activities, the discussion below presents a fairly comprehensive view of them, and indicates – if imperfectly – the relationships among the various approaches.Read more

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