When I'm lecturing to students I like to ask them how much a $100 pair of shoes costs. The most common answer is $100 plus tax. Would you believe me if told you it could be as much as $1,376.46? As a 20-year-old, if you convinced yourself not to buy the shoes, and invested it instead -- with an assumed rate of return of 6 per cent -- you'd have $1,376.46 by the time you were 65 years old.
Depending on one's perspective, 2011 will be viewed as disappointing, bordering on terrible; or, it will be looked back on as a year where we should be thankful. Investors were brought face to face (finally) with the reality that solving the 2007-08 housing and credit crisis merely kicked the can down the road to the next bus stop; that being government debt.
Now that it no longer aspires to take over the world -- or at least subvert Western countries -- Russia is not the threat to peace that it once was. Even when I lived in Moscow, true communism was never really practiced. Most Muscovites had clandestine deals going on, where they could manipulate or cheat the system.