30 April 2019   Leave a comment

Institutional Investor publishes an annual list of the world’s richest hedge fund managers. The amount of money these men (and they are all men) made in 2018 is staggering. We only have a rough idea of how rich the rich actually are (and the rich have no clue about how poor the poor actually are). But one also has to remember that these people did not produce anything nor did they employ a large work force. They all made money by manipulating money. It is also important to note that last year was a nad year for hedge funds.

NameAnnual Compensation

Ray Dalio

2019: $2 billion

James Simons

2019: $1.5 billion

Kenneth Griffin

2019: $870 million

John Overdeck, David Siegel (tie)

2019: $820 million 

Israel (Izzy) Englander

2019: $750 million

Crispin Odey

2019: $530 million

David Shaw

2019: $500 million

Chase Coleman

2019: $465 million

Alan Howard

2019: $390 million

There were widespread clashes between protesters and law enforcement in Venezuela as the Interim President, Juan Guaido, urged the Venezuelan military to stop supporting Nicolas Maduro. Guaido stood by Leopoldo López, an opposition leader who has been under arrest since 2014 for staging protests against the government. López claims that he was released by members of the military, lending credence to the idea that the military’s support for Maduro may be weakening. The Guardian published a graphic and disturbing video of military vehicles being driven into crowds of protesters. The US is apparently heavily involved in supporting Guaido, but the details of that support are not fully known. But Newsweek assesses the US position:

“White House national security adviser John Bolton has said that the U.S. was actively backing opposition forces seeking to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Amid clashes Tuesday between Venezuelan security forces and defectors supporting U.S.-endorsed National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, Bolton told reporters that the administration’s ‘principal objective’ was ‘the peaceful transfer of power,’ but reiterated President Donald Trump’s stance that ‘all options are on the table’ in ensuring Maduro was unseated.

“The U.S. has recognized Guaidó as acting president since January, cutting all ties with Maduro and targeting him with increasingly restrictive sanctions.

“‘We’re providing support in a variety of respects, certainly we have done everything we can to get humanitarian assistance into the country, we’re doing a lot of other things, some of which I’m not going to talk about,’ Bolton told said.”

The US involvement comes as both Cuba and Russia are increasing their involvement as well. The situation is becoming more intense and fraught as the violence escalates. The US should not become more involved in this power struggle–it has very little legitimacy in intervening in the internal affairs of states in Central and South America.

Alex Ward has written a very informative article for Vox on Japan’s recent defense build-up. With the encouragement of the US, Japan has been drifting away from the pacifist constraints imposed on it by the constitution written by the US at the end of World War II. States in East and Southeast Asia have not forgotten the behavior of the Japanese state during that war, and they are apprehensive about the change. In particular, the Chinese believe that the build-up is specifically intended to constrain Chinese power. Ward gives excellent background on Japan in world affairs to provide context for the recent decisions. It remains to be seen how far Japan can move in this direction; public opinion polls indicate that the Japanese population is still committed to a pacifist tradition.

Posted April 30, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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