The Perfect “You” Comes at a Cost

We are living in the age of the “wellness” guru – influencers who peddle an idealized lifestyle of serene productivity, glowing skin, glamourous travel….and the almost comically expensive products that facilitate this.  The New York Times introduces us to the implausibly named Amanda Chantal Bacon, whose vegan brand of “dusts” and elixirs is easy to mock…until you realize she is selling a LOT of $75 jars of herbs.

The Economics of Rare Disease

Pharmaceutical pricing and sales practices have been under enormous scrutiny. Nowhere is that confluence more magnified than with rare disease drugs, where annual treatment costs in the hundreds of thousands lead to the worst in sales tactics. Bloomberg take a fascinating and disturbing look at Alexion, whose Solaris drug has only 11,000 users but generates $3 billion in revenue.

A Concentrated Market

As the FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) continue to propel US equities higher, there is worry that the majority of benchmark returns are being driven by so few companies. Bloomberg offers a good primer on market breadth and the advance/decline line: when the overall stock market is rising but more individual securities are declining than are rising, that can be a signal that the market is not “acting right” and the uptrend could be in trouble. This has yet to occur in US equities but is well worth monitoring.

Personalized Pricing Perspective

Everyone loves online shopping. But does online shopping love us back? The Atlantic investigates the variable pricing strategies of online retailers, where big data is allowing them to achieve “perfect price discrimination” – extracting the maximum price that you will pay at any given time.