One of the major advances in media in this decade surely must be the advent of "Free Exchange," the Economist Blog. Nearly twice daily some content of value seems to spill out from the electronic pages of the venerable publication and, as is typical of the Economist, those pages are not afraid to share credit, point to important thinkings outside its own firewall borders, and otherwise lay any number of reading hours on the sacrificial altar of knowledge.
Small wonder then that hedge funds have been a topic much revisited by the Economist, and its blog. Cause for wonder, however, that Foreign Affairs would get in on the act. Certainly, a noble publication, but not one I would have perused this quarter absent the pointer from the Economist blog. Any chance to read Sebastian Mallaby, (who's pieces on the World Bank, the worthy death of an intellectually dishonest movement against "Liberal Imperialism," crushing criticism for a weak executive, and, in perhaps his best known work, the case for America as an Empire, inject piercing and apt, if alarming, cases for wielding terrible powers, economic, military and political) however, is worth any temporal sacrifice. He is, with this most recent scribing, at his usual best:
Imagine two successful companies. Both are staffed by very smart people; both are innovative; both have an impact far beyond their industry, improving the productivity of the capitalist system as a whole. But the first, based near San Francisco, is the subject of adoring newspaper profiles, whereas the second, based in the New York area, is usually vilified.
Actually, you do not have to imagine any of this, because it describes a double standard that already exists. The first company in the story is a technology firm; the second is a hedge fund. As any newspaper reader knows, technology firms are the leading edge of the U.S. knowledge economy; they made possible the productivity revolution of the past decade. But the same could just as well be said of hedge funds, which allocate the world's capital to the companies, industries, and countries that can use it most productively.
Would that the authors on Economist's blog were less modest and more apt to sign themselves to their entries, then I could sing their praises by name.
As for the topic at hand, marketing seems to me the issue entangling hedge funds. This seems comic in the face of venture capital's reputation leaving the dot-bomb era, but there it is. Time to hire (buy?) the top public relations firms, I suspect.