Weekend Reading

I came across a few interesting articles this weekend that I thought were important to share. The first is from Barron's regarding Citi's institutional survey. The same participants were very bullish at the April top, very bearish at the July lows and are now very bullish once again. From Barron's:
Levkovich said that as a whole respondents were upbeat, as they expect an approximately 9.0% gain for the S&P 500 in 2011. Only 5% expect a flat-to-down market, with almost 69% thinking a 20% rally is more likely than a 20% pullback.

...The survey shows that cash as a proportion of assets have declined to 6.4% from the 7.5% reading in the October survey and are well below July 2010’s 11.0% when investors were fearful of an economic double dip. The current position is still above April 2010’s 6.0% but dramatically below December 2008’s 17.0% cash position.
The first column I read each week in Barron's is Michael Santoli's Streetwise. He tends to be correct more often than wrong and errs on the side of bullishness. I find it interesting that has also turned cautious. From Barron's:
The past two quarters of stock-market gains, combined with a stubbornly positive investor outlook, suggest that this is a time for caution.
The third article I wanted to share has nothing to do with the stock market but I found it extremely interesting. It is on Chinese parenting from the Wall Street Journal:
First, I've noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.
For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child. Other Western parents will sit their child down and express disapproval, but they will be careful not to make their child feel inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their child "stupid," "worthless" or "a disgrace." Privately, the Western parents may worry that their child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that there is something wrong with the curriculum and possibly the whole school. If the child's grades do not improve, they may eventually schedule a meeting with the school principal to challenge the way the subject is being taught or to call into question the teacher's credentials.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting chart. Isn't IQ hereditary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

Tsachy Mishal said...

I think nurture has some effect as well.

Anonymous said...

Praising mediocrity the current American spirit. Think the "nothing bad can happen" mentality is a bubble.

Anonymous said...

It's very British/Roman..

Onlooker said...

There's much I agree with in that article about Chinese parenting vs. "Western", but the implication that you should call you child "stupid", "worthless", or "a disgrace" is beyond the pale. There is a happy medium between the two approaches. I'm betting there are plenty of Chinese out there that are embittered, resentful souls having been raised in the manner described. Again, a nice balance of the two, with maybe a hint toward the Chinese approach, IMO.

Using that approach can no doubt raise a driven child, but one who is not emotionally balanced and may be driven in the wrong manner, by the wrong motivations.

The last bit really strikes a cord with me though. I can't stand that parents have been inclined to "side" with their children and lash out at teachers for their shortcomings, without first gathering all the facts. It really undermines the school/teachers.

That said, I think it's quite proper to question a teacher's approach or grading practices, etc., but not in front of the children, and in a reasoned and cautious way. And teachers need to be open-minded about that, which has been made difficult due to the defensiveness they have developed due to the aforementioned parents.

Much more could be written...

Tsachy Mishal said...

I couldn't agree more. I believe the answer lies somewhere in between, as it usually does.

Anonymous said...

It really depends on what phase one's civilization is at. If you are leaving capitalism and entering oligarchy and socialism like the United States is, there is no need to push your kids. If your society is moving towards capitalism like China is, there is much incentive to invest and cultivate into your child's educations.

Anonymous said...

In the United States, quality of education is not so correlated to wealth.

revelo said...

The correct approach is to explain to the kid that schools are yet another racket, but a racket that must be dealt with. What matters is that the kid both learns and gets at least a C or whatever is the lowest passing grade. There often isn't that much correlation between learning and grades, in my experience.

Also, in general, A students go to grad school and become student-loan debt-peons, B students work for someone else and have a happy life, C students run the business world, D students run the political world.

Anonymous said...

REvelo, that's true. Also, ugly guys make more money than good looking guys cos they have to overcompensate. This is making for the extinction of beauty. Notice kids look uglier and uglier in each new generation. Check out recent movie and pop stars