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By Bilal Hafeez 20-11-2019
In: post | Newsletter

Macro Hive Deep Dives: Who Rules the World? / Superforecasting / Understanding Variance

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(total reading time: 3 mins)

You’ll learn a lot in this week’s letter. We take a look at an amazing new study profiling the political elites across 145 countries. You’ll find out how old they are, how they were educated, what languages they speak and much more.

Then, we review the work of political scientist Philip Tetlock – he’s an expert on identifying the traits of top political forecasters. We list his ingredients to become a superforecaster.

Finally, ever confused by terms like “variance”? Well, we have derivatives expert Thorsten Wegener explaining it by way of World War Two tanks and Tesla.





Who Rules the World? (4 min read) Elites. They’re all over the news these days. But who are they and what do we know about them? An excellent new study, Who Rules the World? A Portrait of the Global Leadership Class, takes a systematic approach to answer these questions. At its heart lies a new database, the Global Leadership Project (GLP), which covers 145 nation-states and 38,085 ‘leaders’, each of whom is given biographical information. In total, the database has approximately 1.1 million data points.


Academics at several leading institutions, John Gerring, Erzen Oncel, the late Kevin Morrison, and Daniel Pemstein, then sliced and diced this data to arrive at a compelling picture of today’s leadership elite.

(20th November, 2019 │Bilal Hafeez)




How to Become a Superforecaster (3 min read) The talking heads on TV give such a convincing forecast it’s hard to doubt them sometimes. But try pinning them down to a specific time frame and discrete future event – now that’s next to impossible! So it’s always a bit of a mystery whether they were right or wrong. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when such people are pinned down, their track record turns out to be very poor. It seems they are picked more for their entertainment value than their track-records. That, at least, is one of the findings of political scientist Philip Tetlock in his excellent book “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction”.

(20th November, 2019 │Bilal Hafeez)



Minimum Variance, German Tanks & Tesla (4 min read) Occasionally you stumble across an article on the old ‘worldwide web sphere’ (to borrow a phrase from Gordon Brown) that helps you articulate something you already knew but needed spelling out. And once it’s right in front of you, your trader brain (that bit right next to the lizard brain, just below the neo cortex) hopefully starts the process commonly known as lateral thinking. Well that happened to me the other day while pursuing one of my hobbies, reading military history.



I stumbled across this little gem of an article: “How the Allies guessed the number of German tanks using serial numbers”. Of course, Churchill, tied by the official secrets act, did not spill the beans in his memoirs as to how exactly they outsmarted the Germans, so sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper… And then one thing leads to another…

(20th November, 2019 │Thorsten Wegener)


(The commentary contained in the above article does not constitute an offer or a solicitation, or a recommendation to implement or liquidate an investment or to carry out any other transaction. It should not be used as a basis for any investment decision or other decision. Any investment decision should be based on appropriate professional advice specific to your needs.)