Weekend Reading

13 May 2016 | by Paul Perrino, CFA®

A summary of this week’s best articles. Follow us on Twitter (@INTRINSICINV) for similar ongoing posts and shares.

ONE SWEDE WILL KILL CASH FOREVER—UNLESS HIS FOE SAVES IT FROM EXTINCTION (Mallory Pickett @mallorylpickett, Wired)

Over 350 years ago, Sweden was the first European country to print paper currency. They are once again trying to be a trail blazer by eliminating physical currency. The combination of tech-friendly civilians and SWISH (a bank backed app similar to VENMO), has caused the use of physical currency to decline, but not everyone is on-board. Two men lead the debate over the future of paper currency. Björn Ulvaeus (member of the band ABBA) is trying to abolish paper currency, while Björn Eriksson is trying to save it.

How to Bet Big on the American Dream (Debby Bielak and Jim Shelton @JIMSEDU, The Atlantic)

An in-depth review of a recent report by The Bridgespan Group, “Billion Dollar Bets To Create Economic Opportunity For Every American.” The goal of the report was to identify and analyze strategic investments that will allow more people reach the American dream. In addition to outlining the social benefits of the various endeavors, it also explains the overall economic impact of the charitable donations. As you would expect, the more people that are educated and healthy, the greater economic growth for that region. The strategies to accomplish this range from providing pre-public school educational tools to underprivileged children, so they’re better equipped to start the school system; to education for young women to reduce the number of unplanned births. The social benefit and return on investment is very promising.

How Breakfast Became a Thing (Alex Mayyasi @amayyasi, Priceonomics)

Breakfast as many Americans know it today, a nice bowl of cereal, is a relatively new idea. As America prospered in the 1800s, “Americans wanted meat, meat, meat. And potatoes. And cake and pie,” as described by Lowell Dyson. This caused many Americans to suffer chronic indigestion. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was one of the first to recommend reducing meat intake and eat more whole grains. Out of this, he developed corn flakes. The rise in demand for cereal didn’t start until a marketing campaign in the 1940’s by General Mills. Part of the message of the campaign was “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” This is a great example of how some things become very sticky to consumers, and a marketing campaign can shape the way a nation eats.

On a lighter note…

Calvin would do great on the financial news shows!

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