A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.
The successful test of a driverless Mercedes Benz transport truck provides an excellent example of technological advancement that will require drastic restructuring of developed world economies.
It might take a while before Google Inc.'s driverless car becomes popular but for trucking companies, the cost-savings of not paying drivers means there is now a "Best Before" date on truck driver careers.
The same dilemma – how quickly to replace workers with technology and what to do with the subsequently unemployed – will be faced in a wide variety of industries, from assembly line workers to accountants. The question is how fast, and with how much economic-related pain will be felt as, the trend is adopted.
"Daimler's self-driving truck isn't good for nervous highway drivers " – Gizmodo
University of Sussex economics professor Mariana Mazzucato believes that the widespread adoption of technology can raise standards of living for all, but only with drastic changes to economic policy. Ms. Mazzucato writes, "To make sure that growth is not only 'smart' innovation-led, but also 'inclusive' in order to reverse rising inequality, we must make sure that the collective risk taking in the innovation eco-systems we build, are matched by collective reward sharing."
"Is inequality an inevitable result of technological change?" – Mariana Mazzucato
See also: "Towards a new golden age " – Frances Coppola, Pieria
In another example of disruptive technology, The Guardian reports on the remarkable expansion of solar power in Australia that is quickly making coal-generated power obsolete.
"The impact [of rooftop solar] has been so profound, and wholesale prices pushed down so low, that few coal generators in Australia made a profit last year. Last week, for the first time in memory, the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day."
"Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn't compete" – Guardian
Business Insider presented a chart highlighting the biggest reason mutual fund investors (and likely ETF investors) underperform the market. "The average mutual fund investor is missing out on 2 percentage points of annual returns by making one terrible psychological mistake: They're putting more money into funds after periods of strong returns, and then they're yanking their money out of funds when performance is weaker.
"An obvious psychological mistake is costing investors a fortune " – Business Insider
Former chief economist at UBS George Magnus believes the correction in China's real estate market has only just begun and that financial markets are vastly underestimating the implications.
Writing for the Financial Times, Mr. Magnus writes, "If this leading edge of China's growth model saw a fall in investment growth from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, economic growth would slide by roughly 2 per cent, taking into account secondary effects…Direct commercial bank property loans form about a fifth of bank assets, but perhaps half of all bank loans are collateralised [sic] by property and land."
"End to China's property boom has barely begun" – George Magnus, Financial Times (subscription may be required)
Tweet of the day is from @mbusigin, hedge fund portfolio manager at U.S.-based New River Investments, who offers a terrific chart on the market effects of demographics. "Don't get caught projecting the past 10 years onto the next. pic.twitter.com/pcgvdikmtv "
Diversion: Don't watch this video if you're afraid to fly. "Boeing 767 pilot avoids crash with Airbus A340 crossing runway" – Gizmodo
Follow Scott Barlow on Twitter @SBarlow_ROB