Bitcoin is down but not out

bitcoin-logo-3dRegular readers will know that I’ve had my doubts about Bitcoin. Recent events in the Bitcoin world, especially the failure of Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange, have caused further problems for the crypto currency. But I’m oddly cheered by these events and am beginning to think Bitcoin may actually have a chance of surviving as a currency.

Willy Sutton, who made his career robbing banks, once explained that he robbed them “because that’s where the money is.” Well recent bad news in the world of Bitcoin follows a similar theme: yes there have been thefts, corruption, and a suicide, but all this is based not on Bitcoin’s failure but […]

I have my doubts about Bitcoin

bitcoin-logo-3dAlmost every week some reader asks me to write about Bitcoin, currently the most popular so-called crypto currency and the first one to possibly reach something like critical mass. I’ve come close to writing those columns, but just can’t get excited enough. So this week when yet another reader asked, it made sense to explain my nervousness. Bitcoin is clever, interesting, brilliant even, but I find it too troubling to support.

But first, why should you believe me? You shouldn’t. Though I’m year after year identified by the Kauffman Foundation as one of the top 50 economics bloggers in America, that only means I get to hang out occasionally with the real experts, eating Kansas City […]

Is cyber insurance AAA for data or another back door?

GMCtowA few days ago I promised “tomorrow” a column about the future of data security. Then, just as the electrons were flowing on that DefCon column, I bought on eBay a 1978 GMC Royale motorhome in Bismarck, North Dakota that Channing and I have been trying to bring home ever since. We’ve so far broken down in Fargo, North Dakota (air suspension leak) and Brookings, South Dakota (ignition failure), but are now back on the road headed for California. We met Rick, the tow truck driver who used to be a rodeo bull rider, and Wayne Westerberg, the RV mechanic who gave up his Friday night to get us back on the road. Try Googling […]

Where have you gone, Engine Charlie?


first-corvette-1953Charles Erwin Wilson, known as “Engine Charlie,” was president of General Motors and later Secretary of Defense under President Dwight Eisenhower. He is broadly — and incorrectly — quoted as having said during his Senate confirmation hearing “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” His actual quote is more nuanced: “For years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

This is a fascinating bit of history because we aren’t talking about today’s General Motors or even today’s United States of America but the GM and the USA of 1953 — a time when both were leading the world. Yet look at the equivocation in […]

Dr. Al explains the so-called “so-called fiscal cliff”

forkintheroadMost of us have had mentors and when it came to becoming a writer three of mine were the late Bill Rivers at Stanford who taught me to think and not just report, legendary book editor Bob Loomis at Random House who felt I might be able to stack enough of those thoughts together to fill a book, and a guy most of you know as Adam Smith, who let me copy his style. 

Smith, named after the English economist and writer, helped start both New York and Institutional Investor magazines while at the same time punching out books like The Money Game and Paper Money — huge best sellers that taught regular people how the financial […]