Skip to main content

Items of interest

A bit of a weekend round-up; recent news stories and other items of interest.

(1) First off, Bloomberg reports that slave labor exists in the Brazilian Amazon. It's the old story; workers are recruited with the promise of a steady-paying job, only to be trapped into slavery via forced work-off of incurred debt.

Modern-day slaves in Latin America aren't bought and sold as slaves were in the U.S. before the Civil War. They're lured from impoverished cities in Brazil's northeast or from the Andean highlands of Bolivia and Peru.

Recruiters dispatched by slave camp owners promise steady- paying jobs, Campos says. Once at the Amazon camps, some workers are forced -- at times at gunpoint -- to work off debts to their bosses for food and clothing bought at company stores.

Many go months without pay or see their wages whittled to nothing because of expenses such as tools, boots and gloves. Lack of money, an impenetrable jungle and a long distance to get home make it impossible for the slaves to leave.

Sounds rather similar to the problems reportedly faced by migrant workers in the outlying encampments of Dubai. Let's hope that businesses and their customers do not turn a blind eye to such practices.

(2) Also at Bloomberg.com, audio of a Korean news conference Q&A with Jim Rogers. See, "Jim Rogers Says U.S. Economy Is Probably Already in Recession".

(3) Video of Matthew Simmons addressing the ASPO-USA conference in Boston on October 26,2006. Simmons is author of Twilight in the Desert and a prominent speaker on energy and issues relating to Peak Oil. One of the many interesting posts you'll find at theoildrum.com.

(4) Fairfax Financial said that a recent rebound in the company's share price can be partially attributed to the success of a lawsuit against overly aggressive hedge funds. From FT Business and The Australian:

the lawsuit, launched last July, halted what they claim was a dirty tricks campaign against the company by hedge funds including SAC Capital Management and Exis Capital.

In the lawsuit, Fairfax claimed that the hedge funds generated bogus analyst reports critical of the company, sent threatening letters to Prem Watsa, Fairfax's chief executive, and his friends and family, tried to intimidate employees into providing sensitive inside information and attempted to plant negative news stories about the company.

The hedge funds deny all of the allegations and are vigorously contesting the civil lawsuit.

Will the measures taken by Fairfax shine a new light on short sales that are allegedly helped along through share manipulation and various other underhanded tactics? See, "Hedge funds halted as insurer fights back".

(5) "Money 'Aint a Thing". Rapper Jay-Z is profiled in the weekend edition of the Financial Times. In, "I'm with the brand", writer Carl Wilkinson describes how Shawn Carter made a mint by building his music career into a personal brand.

Popular posts from this blog

The Dot-Com Bubble in 1 Chart: InfoSpace

With all the recent talk of a new bubble in the making, thanks in part to the Yellen Fed's continued easy money stance, I thought it'd be instructive to revisit our previous stock market bubble - in one quick chart.

So here's what a real stock market bubble looks like. 

Here's what a bubble *really* looks like. InfoSpace in 1999-2001. $QQQ$BCORpic.twitter.com/xjsMk433H7
— David Shvartsman (@FinanceTrends) February 24, 2015
For those of you who are a little too young to recall it, this is a chart of InfoSpace at the height of the Nasdaq dot-com bubble in 1999-2001. This fallen angel soared to fantastic heights only to plummet back down to earth as the bubble, and InfoSpace's shady business plan, turned to rubble.

As detailed in our post, "Round trip stocks: Momentum booms and busts", InfoSpace rocketed from under $100 a share to over $1,300 a share in less than six months. 

In a pattern common to many parabolic shooting stars, the stock soon peaked and began a…

New! Finance Trends now at FinanceTrendsLetter.com

Update for our readers: Finance Trends has a new URL! 

Please bookmark our new web address at Financetrendsletter.com

Readers sticking with RSS updates should point your feed readers to our new Finance Trends feedburner.  



Thank you to all of our loyal readers who have been with us since the early days. Exciting stuff to come in the weeks ahead!

As a quick reminder, you can subscribe to our free email list to receive the Finance Trends Newsletter. You'll receive email updates about once every 4-8 weeks (about 2-3 times per quarter). 

Stay up to date with our real-time insights and updates on Twitter.

Moneyball: How the Red Sox Win Championships

Welcome, readers. To get the first look at brand new posts (like the following piece) and to receive our exclusive email list updates, please subscribe to the Finance Trends Newsletter.

The Boston Red Sox won their fourth World Series titleof the 21st century this week.

Having won their first Series in 86 years back in 2004, the last decade-plus has marked a very strong return to form for one of baseball's oldest big league clubs. So how did they do it?

Quick background: in late 2002, team owner and hedge fund manager,John W. Henry(with his partners)bought the Boston Red Sox and its historic Fenway Park for a reported sum of $695 million.

Henry and Co. quickly set out to find their ideal General Manager (GM) to help turn around their newly acquired, ailing ship.

This brings us to one of my favorite scenes from the 2011 film, Moneyball, in which John W. Henry (played by Arliss Howard) attempts to woo Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) over to Boston with an excellent job off…