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  • We are creatures of habit. We find it reassuring when day follows night, spring follows winter and lunch follows breakfast. But that doesn’t stop us worrying about the future because anxiety is at the core of our instinct for self-preservation. By not thinking how things go wrong, we put ourselves at risk.

  • In capitalism, wealth surges to the top but only trickles to the bottom, as was illustrated between 1870 and 1900 when a band of US industrialists became enriched beyond the realms of avarice.

  • Five years after the credit crisis began we have entered a bull market for regulation. It is stretching further, and faster, than most of us realise. The process is inevitable, following recent excesses. Some aspects of it are beneficial. But the line between market regulation and capital punishment is becoming increasingly thin.

  • To be sure, yields on high yield bonds – or junk, as it was once called – look less enticing than the 15% on offer three years ago. But those yields reflected fears that the global banking system was close to collapse. These have now receded, making high yield safer.

  • It’s getting hard to avoid noticing the impact of climate change, but mankind (true to form) is trying its best to do so.

  • Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish economist, was a renowned critic of multinational companies whose directors not only enjoyed limited liability, but also profited by taking advantage of state monopolies, or quasi-monopolies.

  • Austerity? What austerity? In the wake of the 2008 credit crisis, the weathy have rarely had it so good. According to surveys by Royal Bank of Canada/Capgemini and Boston Consulting Group, global net worth has recovered over the last four years.

  • The failure of Europe’s politicians and central bankers to debate the eurozone plan properly is one of the notorious examples of “groupthink” of recent times.

  • The result of the first French presidential vote, the collapse of the Dutch coalition government and riots in Spain suggest voters are getting more than a little weary of the European project.

  • Pundits are starting to wonder how much longer the good times will roll. Strategist Marc Faber fears that wealth is doomed to be destroyed by a combination of war and inflation. Wall Street Journal correspondent Robert Frank argues the rich, with their sense of entitlement, are becoming a danger to themselves and the rest of society.

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