2017-2018 Call for Essays -- Debate Whether “This Time It’s Different”
The Investment Section is pleased to announce the opening of its 2017-2018 Call for Papers, “This Time It’s (Not?) Different.” Many of you may recognize that we’ve borrowed our premise from the great investor Sir John Templeton, who once said “The four most expensive words in the English language are ‘This time it’s different.’”
This time, the call for essays is different. It is structured as a Point/Counterpoint, and each Entry must be a pair of brief essays (less than 1500 words each) from different authors arguing opposite sides of an issue that might be different this time, or might not. Authors are encouraged to collaborate with their counterpart in developing and refining arguments so the two essays speak to each other’s key points.
Stuck for ideas about what might be different this time and would make a good topic for an essay? Possible topics include:
- Lower prospective equity returns (is it possible to earn 4% real returns in the future?)
- Whether currently high corporate profit margins will persist
- Low interest rates (will rates ever mean-revert to “normal” levels?)
- Low inflation/deflation (is inflation dead?)
- Secular stagnation (will we ever see a resurgence in productivity gains?)
- Impact of demographics on investments (shrinking and aging population, longer retirements)
- Displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy
- Potential impacts of autonomous vehicles on investing opportunities and the economy
- Impacts of climate change on investments
Got a good idea, but need someone to argue against? Challenge a friend, or submit an Interest Form to get matched with a debate partner.
The top Entries will be selected by an independent review panel, with input from Investment Section members.1 The review panel will consider the intellectual rigor, practical significance, investment content, educational value, and originality of the essays in determining the top Entries. Section members may be surveyed and vote for their favorite point/counter-point Entry and the results of the vote would be an additional criteria considered by the review panel.
The review panel may award up to $2,000 USD total in this call for papers, to be divided among the top Entries at the panel’s’ discretion; the minimum award for a selected Entry will be $400.002, with the more persuasive essay in the pair receiving 60% of the cash award.
In exchange for award money, selected authors will be required to assign all copyrights in their essays to the Society of Actuaries.
- All individuals are eligible to participate in this call for papers.
- Each essay in an Entry should be no more than 1,500 words, submitted in English, and may not have been previously published.
- Photos, charts, tables or graphics are encouraged for illustration; however, by submitting a photo or other graphic you represent that you own the copyright in it. Photos should be in either .jpeg, .tif, or .eps format with a print resolution of at least 300 dpi.
- By submitting an Entry for consideration, each author agrees to grant a perpetual, irrevocable license to their respective essay to the SOA, which shall permit the SOA to reprint or republish the essay as it deems appropriate with proper attribution to the author. In addition, each author agrees to abide by the SOA anti-trust rules.
- By submitting an Entry, authors agree to permit the SOA to use their likeness, name, and biographical information, or any portion thereof, in conjunction with their essay and the promotion of the Investment Section and/or SOA, in any and all media and formats, in whole or in part, throughout the world.
- Essays submitted to this call for papers are not eligible for the Risk & Rewards 2017-2018 Best Article.
Both point/counterpoint submissions should be submitted individually through the Submission Form by 11:59 PM CDT March 31, 2018.
Financial markets, by definition, thrive on differences of opinion between buyers and sellers. One of the defining characteristics of a successful investor is to think independently and know when to buck the prevailing opinion, so understanding both sides of an argument is a critical skill. We hope you find this call for papers thought-provoking and illuminating, and we look forward to reading your insights on some of the key issues facing investors today.
Interest Forms received after 1/15/2018 will be posted as they are received. Interested parties will be directed to write an email to SOA staff with their contact information who will forward to you.
|Max Rudolph||Climate Change and Demographics||I would argue that a warming planet, with increasing acidity in the air and water, combined with an aging developed world and coastal emerging population all lead to a poor era for investment returns. I would also likely bring in generational arguments from The Fourth Turning.|
|John Hegstrom||Displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy||I would write that not only is renewable energy going to replace fossil fuels, but that it will happen withing most of our lifetimes.|
|Nate Worrell||TBD||Against Robert Eaton|
1Judges are not eligible to participate in this call for papers.
2All taxes on the awards and other expenses related to accepting and/or using the awards are the sole responsibility of the winner, who will receive an IRS Form 1099 reflecting the final actual value of the Prize.