Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Move Over, Mall of America: Bigger Extravaganza Planned in Miami

More than four years ago, I wrote about how Miami would be one of the most popular cities on the planet; check out the developments being planned. Aivars Lode

Canadian developer would build U.S.’s biggest mall—including hotel, amusement park and sea-lion show

By Robyn A. Friedman 

Most shopping-mall operators are shying away from new construction, especially as e-commerce cuts into foot traffic. Apparently a Canadian firm doesn’t have the same concerns: It aims to build not only a new mall, but the biggest mall in the U.S.
The project, called American Dream Miami, was unveiled last week by Edmonton, Alberta-based Triple Five Group, which also owns Minnesota’s Mall of America.
At 4.2 million square feet and 520 stores, the Mall of America is considered the nation’s largest shopping destination. But in a statement last week, Triple Five said its Florida project “will exceed our other world famous projects in all respects.”
Executives at Triple Five declined to comment, but Miami-Dade County’s mayor said the project would cost about $4 billion. In addition to the retail space, the mall would include a ski slope, a water park, a sea-lion show, miniature golf, bowling, a submarine ride, restaurants, a performing-arts theater, a cinema, a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and a roller-coaster ride as well as hotels and condominiums.
The development would be built in an unincorporated part of the county, northwest of the city center.
Advertisement
If its plans seem like a tall order, consider this: Triple Five isn’t the only real-estate developer that has recently added retail in the Miami area or is in the process of doing so. 
Scheduled for completion at the end of 2015, Midtown Doral, under development by Optimus International Developers, will bring 300,000 square feet to the greater Miami area. At Brickell City Centre, considered the financial district of Miami, Hong Kong developer Swire Properties will deliver 565,000 square feet of retail space anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Mall at Miami Worldcenter, in the heart of downtown, will complete 765,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and entertainment space by 2017.
Whether Miami can support such a large amount of new retail space is a question. Some brokers say Miami’s retail market is strong and that while e-commerce has put a damper on retail growth in other locales, Miami has been little-affected.
That’s in part because of population growth. According to the Miami Downtown Development Authority, Miami’s downtown population alone has doubled from 40,466 in 2000 to 80,750 in 2014, and it is forecast to hit 92,519 by 2019. More broadly, the entire county grew to nearly 2.5 million residents in 2010, according to Census figures, from just over 2.25 million in 2000.
Miami also can count on a constant stream of tourists, many from Latin America, who come there to shop, analysts say.
“Miami for years was under-retailed,” said Jim Fried, managing director of Aztec Group Inc., a real-estate investment-banking firm in Miami. “I think there will be enough growth to support the additional retail.
Not everyone is so sure. Even though demand for Miami condos has been strong, many buyers are from Latin America or Canada and aren’t permanent residents. Others may not have the financial means to support the onslaught of luxury retail. Average incomes in Miami are lower than in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, other cities with lots of new pricey condos.
“A lot of the owners will live here only two or three months out of the year, and the rest of the time the place will sit empty,” said Jack McCabe, a housing industry analyst in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “Or they will rent the units out to people who are trying to make ends meet to live in downtown Miami and who don’t have the disposable income to support the retailers.”
What to Find at American Dream Miami?
  • ski slope
  • water park
  • sea-lion show
  • miniature golf
  • bowling
  • submarine ride
  • restaurants
  • performing-arts theater
  • cinema
  • Ferris wheel
  • ice rink
  • roller-coaster ride
  • hotels
  • condominiums 
But Triple Five is betting not only on strong retail demand and population growth, but also on a new model for retail real estate: shopping centers paired with entertainment, residential and hotel facilities, all located at the same property.
Such amenities are by nature risky, however, and can lead to delays and cost overruns. Case in point: Triple Five’s American Dream Meadowlands project, a 2.8-million square-foot retail and hotel complex near MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Triple Five agreed to buy the half-finished project, which also features an indoor ski slope and a giant Ferris wheel, in 2010, and had hoped to complete it by 2013. The $4 billion project still has yet to secure financing amid a swelling budget and delays in getting local government approvals. 
Questions also remain about whether Triple Five can obtain financing for the American Dream Miami. Still, city managers are bullish. “This project will be the largest in Miami-Dade history,” said Carlos A. Gimenez, the county mayor. “We are supportive of it but it still has to go through all of the regulations and environmentals before it can come to fruition.”
—Robbie Whelan contributed to this article

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sony Joins Crowd of Online TV Providers

More changes in the cable TV business. Aivars Lode


TOKYO—Sony Corp. is ramping up its online TV efforts in the U.S., but will face competition from a number of other companies targeting consumers who don’t have pay-television service.
Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, said Wednesday that the company would start commercial operation of the service, called PlayStation Vue, within two weeks in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, following invitation-only tests in those cities. The company plans to roll out the new service nationwide by the end of this year.
Vue is one of several new U.S. services aimed at “cord cutters,” people who have spurned traditional pay-TV services in favor of other forms of entertainment. PlayStation Vue will compete, for example, with Dish Network Corp.’s recently introduced Sling TV, which operates via a range of streaming devices.
Individual TV networks have also been rolling out subscription streaming services, including CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonvestold an investor conference Wednesday that its service has more than 100,000 subscribers, though he declined to give an exact figure. 
This week, Time Warner Inc.’s HBO said it would roll out its stand-alone streaming offering, “HBO Now,” in time for the season premiere next month of its hit “Game of Thrones.”
The challenge for media companies as they roll out these services is to target “cord cutters” and “cord nevers”—young people who never intend to get a pay-TV connection—without enticing existing customers to switch over from traditional services. That would cannibalize the hugely profitable pay-TV business that has driven the profits of every major media conglomerate in recent years.
A number of TV providers have made channels available for PlayStation Vue, including CBS, Viacom, Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox. News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, and 21st Century Fox were until mid-2013 part of the same company.
Sony sees Vue, which currently operates via PS3 and PS4 game consoles, as a way to broaden the appeal of the hardware beyond hard-core gamers. Vue is one of several new features on Sony’s PlayStation Network, including a music streaming service from Spotify AB that replaces Sony’s own music offering.
Sony hasn’t announced pricing of Vue, which the company also plans to make available via Apple iPads. A basic Sling TV package costs $20 a month.
Discussions with other content providers are “ongoing and are moving forward positively,” Mr. House said in an interview. He declined to discuss potential partners, but one big holdout is Walt Disney Co., whose ESPN sports network is popular with a young, videogame-playing demographic.
“We are in discussions but there is nothing to announce at this time,” said an ESPN spokeswoman.
Mr. House said that “even absent ESPN, we are very confident that we have a very robust offering in the sports area with existing partnerships.” PlayStation Vue’s current lineup includes Fox Sports, 21st Century Fox’s sports channel.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dish Network Unveils Streaming Service That Includes ESPN

More disruption in the digital media space as more and more users cut the cable TV cord. Aivars Lode

Sling TV to Cost $20 a Month; Won’t Carry NBC or CBS

By Shalini Ramachandran and Don Clark 

LAS VEGAS—Dish Network Corp. introduced a new online video service Monday that includes the popular sports network ESPN, culminating a three-year effort to create an inexpensive streaming TV service to reach a younger generation of viewers.

The satellite TV provider said the service, dubbed Sling TV, will launch in January at $20 a month and won’t require a contract or commitment. The app will be available to consumers who aren’t currently Dish subscribers. 
At launch, Dish said the new service will carry channels of both live and on-demand content from partners that include ESPN from Walt Disney Co., TNT from Time Warner Inc., and Food Network from Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. 
The inclusion of ESPN could be especially significant, marking one of the cheapest ways that so-called cord-cutters, who shun conventional TV services, can tap into the channel’s trove of live sports programming. ESPN is a key selling point for cable and satellite TV providers, and the most expensive cable channel to carry.
Dish’s service also will offer Web videos from Maker Studios, one of the biggest producers of programming on YouTube.
Advertisement
But notably missing are big channels like NBC, CBS, Nickelodeon, Fox and Discovery, from Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, CBS Corp., Viacom Inc.,21st Century Fox and Discovery Communications Inc.
Some of those companies have been reluctant to license their networks for the new service because Dish wants just a subset of their popular channels, rather than the whole bundle, including lesser-watched channels. They fear that striking such a deal could undercut the current, lucrative pay-TV model.
Still, consumers can pull network TV channels like NBC and CBS out of the airwaves using an antenna. 
Another sticking point: Dish has proposed to relegate broadcasters Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC to a separate tier that would cost consumers more, a move that would flip on its head the longtime practice of cable and satellite operators offering broadcast networks in their lowest-cost packages.
Still, Dish’s ability to reach deals with even some major TV programmers shows a shift in thinking over the past year in the TV industry. In November 2013, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said he was “0 for 50” in talks with content company CEOs.
But that has changed as more people are dropping their pay-TV subscriptions, and declining ratings for many major TV networks are forcing media companies to look for new routes to grow in a mature business.
Dish maintains that its aim is to increase revenue for all parties involved, rather than chip away at the existing model. Chief Executive Joe Clayton, at a news conference at CES, said the service should expand its audience by reaching millennial consumers rather than cannibalize its existing business. 
“Why? Because we don’t reach them today,” Mr. Clayton said.
Dish believes it can aim its service narrowly at cord-cutters and “cord nevers”—younger consumers who have never paid for television. To that end, the service will only allow one stream per subscription at any given time, to limit its appeal for families with varying tastes among members. Curbing simultaneous streams would also deter households from sharing subscriptions. 
Unlike traditional satellite or cable TV, Dish’s new service won’t require customers to wait for technicians to visit the house and install equipment; it’ll be instantly available as an app on popular devices that can stream video.
Customers also can cancel their subscriptions any time, and Dish says it won’t require contracts or credit checks that are typically required when signing up for pay TV.
The service will be available on a number of devices, including tablets, smartphones, computers, gaming consoles and devices from companies like Roku Inc., Microsoft Corp.—with its Xbox videogame console—and Amazon.com Inc. that stream video to TV sets.
While the service won’t have a digital video recorder, a replay feature will allow viewers to watch many of the shows that have aired in the past three days on demand. Dish says viewers will be able to pause, rewind and fast forward most live channels and on-demand content. The satellite provider hinted at additional deals to come for children’s and news genre programming.
Streaming TV is a crowded field. Netflix Inc., Amazon and Hulu already stream shows from many of the networks Dish will carry. Sony Corp. launched an online version of pay TV late last year, complete with a cloud-based digital video recorder. Meanwhile, TV networks like HBO plan to release their own stand-alone streaming services this year.
Roger Lynch, Dish’s executive vice president of advanced technologies who was named chief executive of Sling TV LLC, said the new service will be promoted with an ad campaign under the slogan “Take Back TV.”
Sling TV has no direct connection to Sling Media, which was purchased by EchoStar Corp. in 2007, that makes the Slingbox streaming device. EchoStar is Dish’s sister company, also controlled by Mr. Ergen.
Among other CES announcements, Dish said it would begin offering a new set-top box that is specifically designed to carry the new Ultra HD, or 4K, content that some of the latest televisions support.

U.S. Airlines Battling Gulf Carriers Cite Others’ Experience

Interesting how the Aussies had to deal with the middle east airlines' encroachment back in 1996 and this is just now representing the same issue here in the USA. Aivars Lode

Air Canada Strained Diplomatic Ties While Lufthansa Lost Traffic

By Susan Carey 

To understand why leading U.S. airlines are mounting a political campaign against growing competition in their markets from Persian Gulf rivals, look at the experiences of flagship airlines in Canada, Germany and Australia.
Canada has so far contained the Gulf trio’s growth, to the benefit of Air Canada—though its efforts have strained diplomatic ties. German carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which has lost significant traffic to Gulf rivals, is asking the European Union for help in leveling the playing field. Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd. chose to cooperate rather than fight, forging an alliance with Emirates Airline in 2013.
The U.S. government is considering a new request for help from American Airlines GroupInc.,United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. The U.S. carriers want Washington to limit expansion by Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, alleging the growth is unfairly fueled by subsidies from the Gulf airlines’ state owners.
Etihad, Emirates and Qatar insist that they are profitable companies that aren’t subsidized and that they offer Americans access to cities around the globe that U.S. airlines ignore. The chiefs of Emirates and Etihad are expected to address the dispute in separate speeches in Washington on Tuesday.
Supporters say the Gulf airlines are simply emulating a strategy pioneered decades ago by other carriers with small home markets, including Singapore Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Build a big home airport and scoop up international traffic between other countries’ airports via that hub.
The Gulf three have accomplished this in record time, developing hubs that easily connect travelers between Asia Pacific and Europe or North America. They recently began adding U.S. flights—they now collectively serve 10 U.S. airports—and their available seats have more than doubled since 2009. By choice, Delta and United each operate just one daily round trip to Dubai.
Air Canada is “aligned on most if not all of the points” the U.S. carriers are making about the Gulf trio, said Benjamin Smith, the Canadian flagship’s president of passenger airlines. “It’s a very serious issue.”
Canada’s air treaties with Qatar and the U.A.E. are more restrictive than the U.S.’s “open skies” accords. They have enabled Canada to limit the Gulf carriers to three round-trip passenger flights a week each. Some in Ottawa believe that number already far exceeds actual demand for travel to the Middle East and includes Canadians traveling beyond the Gulf. Air Canada doesn’t fly to the region, but it intends to start thrice-weekly service from Toronto to Dubai in November.
The U.A.E. showed displeasure with the lack of expansion in 2010. Its then-ambassador to Ottawa said it was “frustrating” that five years of negotiations hadn’t increased flights. “The fact that this has not come about undoubtedly affects the bilateral relationship,” the envoy said.
Within days, Canada’s then-defense minister said his nation would abide by the U.A.E.’s wishes and withdraw from a military base near Dubai that Canada was using as a staging area for the war in Afghanistan. Canadian officials decline to say whether the air talks were linked to the base closure. Soon after, the U.A.E. began requiring Canadian travelers to apply for pricey visas when they visited, a rule later rescinded.
U.A.E. officials in Abu Dhabi didn’t respond to requests for comment. The U.A.E. embassy in Ottawa said the ambassador was unavailable. Its embassy in Washington said the liberal U.S.-U.A.E. air treaty has supported a successful economic and trade relationship between the two countries and generates new flights that are creating thousands of U.S. jobs. It also noted that its two airlines are the largest buyers of Boeing Co. jets in the world. 
Emirates remains interested in expanding in Canada, but it leaves that up to the Canadian and U.A.E. governments, a spokeswoman said. Etihad said it would be improper to comment on government-to-government issues, although it entered a code-sharing agreement with Air Canada in 2013.
Canada’s government says only about 2% of its international traffic is covered by air treaties that contain constraints. “What we are not supportive of is deals where the balance of benefits is heavily skewed to one party,” said Air Canada’s Mr. Smith. The Gulf carriers “aren’t creating new trips,” he added. “They’re just transferring traffic.”
In Germany, whose air treaties with Gulf states are more expansive, the Middle East carriers now offer 181,000 monthly seats on 529 flights from five German cities to their home airports. Etihad also owns 29% of Air Berlin, a rival of flagship Lufthansa. Air Berlin offers more flights to Abu Dhabi alone than Lufthansa operates to all three Gulf destinations.
Lufthansa said its Frankfurt hub has lost nearly a third of its market share on routes between Europe and Asia since 2005, with more than three million people now flying annually from Germany to other points via Persian Gulf hubs. Lufthansa said it is responding in part by cutting flights, including Munich-Singapore, Frankfurt-Hyderabad, India, and, coming next month, Frankfurt-Abu Dhabi.
Jens Bischof, Lufthansa’s chief commercial officer, says the market-share erosion will affect its United and Air Canada partners because Lufthansa won’t be able to offer as many connections to North American customers who change planes in Germany en route to points in Europe, Africa and South Asia.“The phenomenon we see here in Europe is more and more affecting the U.S.,” Mr. Bischof said.
In December, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM SA asked the European commissioner for transport to press the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf to agree to “fair competition” provisions for current and future air treaties. Without that, Lufthansa and Air France said in a letter, “both the economic and strategic role of European aviation will be permanently impaired.”
The European Commission said that it has met twice with the six-nation Gulf council and that a third meeting is envisioned this spring. The EU intends to lay out its aviation strategy by year-end and will seek public comment on provisions related to fair competition.
The Emirates spokeswoman said the airline has long seen potential for adding cities such as Berlin and Stuttgart, but it respects the German government view that more service “is currently deemed unnecessary.”
Australia was an early expansion point for Emirates, which started serving Melbourne in 1996. Qantas—hampered by high costs and a market-share battle with Virgin Australia Airlines, which is 22% owned by Etihad—teamed up with Emirates. The deal has helped stabilize Qantas’s finances and end losses on international routes as the airline halted unprofitable flights to Europe via several Asian transit points and concentrated on promising markets in North Asia and North America.
Still, the Gulf buildup is changing travel patterns. In March, the trio offered 434 flights and 166,000 seats to their hubs from five Australian cities. Qantas has 31,000 seats on 60 flights from two Australian cities to Dubai. Both go on to London, the airline’s sole European destination.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, speaking in February when the company announced interim results, said his airline is receiving high consumer ratings for its “Dubai hub” and the increased range of destinations it now offers in Europe through the Emirates partnership. The deal also allows Emirates customers to fly to smaller Australian cities on Qantas’s domestic network.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Activists in Commodities Should Beware of Cliffs

Clever activists in commodities NOT. Aivars Lode

Even a rational plan to shake up a miner or a big oil company can run into the reality of slumping commodity prices

By Liam Denning 

Activists have gotten bolder in terms of targets, with even a giant like Apple fair game these days.
But taking on China? That is what Casablanca Capital did, albeit indirectly. In January 2014, the fund said that it had taken a 5.2% stake in iron-ore miner Cliffs Natural Resources. At the time, Cliffs shares traded at about $19, and Casablanca had paid about $25 a share for its stake. But it said that, under its plan, they could be valued at $53.
On Friday, the stock closed at less than $5. Casablanca actually won its proxy fight last year and installed a host of directors and a new chief executive, Lourenco Goncalves. Yet its plan to split Cliffs looks beside the point given a roughly 50% decline in iron-ore prices the past year.
That is largely because of chief buyer China’s slowing growth. Rather than relying solely on self-help, Mr. Goncalves urged big, rival miners last week to curb output to help rebalance the iron-ore market, which would help Cliffs sell international assets. His call likely won’t be heeded.
Even the U.S. business, around which Casablanca wants Cliffs to focus, faces issues as steel plants contend with weak demand and surging imports from, you guessed it, China. Moreover, Cliffs said last week that many bondholders are holding out against a proposed debt exchange.
Advertisement
Casablanca’s case is a harsh one, but it isn’t completely alone. A year before its own campaign, Elliott Management began pressing for change at Hess. Elliott got much of what it wanted; the stock rose as high as $104 from less than $50. Hess is undoubtedly a stronger company now, yet the stock is back below $70. The reason? Oil also has slumped. When it comes to going after commodities producers, even when you win the argument, the world won’t always listen.

Decline of Australian dollar set to deepen

After our trip to Australia three years ago, i talked about how the Aussie economy would have difficulty and why; so, here we are now. Aivars Lode

By Netty Ismail

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens will get a drop in the nation's dollar that's even steeper than his target, the world's biggest money manager says.
BlackRock, which oversees $US4.65 trillion ($6 trillion) worldwide, expects the Aussie to fall 9 per cent to US70¢ as the RBA cuts record-low interest rates to offset the pain caused by tumbling commodity prices.
The currency is approaching the US75¢ level Mr Stevens identified in December as his ideal exchange rate, declining to an almost six-year low of US75.61¢ last Wednesday.
BlackRock says the Aussie will keep sliding, because Mr Stevens will need to act to revive an economy struggling with the collapse of a once-in-a-century mining boom and a slowdown in China, which buys more than a third of Australia's exports.
The RBA held borrowing costs steady last week, after a reduction in February spurred concerns the housing market may overheat.
"We anticipate further rate cuts; we're seeing significant declines in the prices of Australia's commodity exports," Stephen Miller, the Sydney-based head of Australian fixed income at BlackRock, said. "If we put all those things together, we could well see the Aussie dollar down towards US70¢ in the second half of this year."
The Aussie has slipped 6 per cent against the US dollar this year, heading for a third straight quarterly decline, as expectations that the US Federal Reserve will raise rates support the greenback.
It fell 1.2 per cent to US76.13¢ on Friday.
Even with its recent drop, the local dollar was still "relatively high" given the state of the economy, RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent said last Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs estimates a one-in-three chance Australia will fall into recession in the next 12 months, while a Bloomberg survey of economists suggests the probability of a contraction has increased in recent months.
The economy grew 2.5 per cent in the 2014 fourth quarter from a year earlier, compared with 4.6 per cent growth in early 2012.
The Aussie was about 2 per cent overvalued last month and could still be considered too high to achieve "desired domestic economic outcomes", RBA documents, released under a Freedom of Information request, said.
Mr Miller is more bearish than most analysts.
Strategists see Australia's currency levelling off in 2015, with the median of more than 40 forecasts compiled by Bloomberg putting it at US74¢by year end.
Mr Miller said he expected the RBA to reduce interest rates twice more this year to 1.75 per cent, from a record-low 2.25 per cent.
Another cut to 1.5 per cent was also a possibility, he said.
Swaps traders see about 50 per cent odds that the RBA will reduce rates when it meets on April 7, prices compiled by Bloomberg show.
They are expecting at least one reduction by June and see about a 20 per cent chance of a 1.5 per cent rate in September, the data show.
Australia's central bank ended more than a year of inaction when it cut its benchmark interest rate in February, joining an avalanche of global policy easing led by the European Central Bank's decision to buy government bonds.
"A period where the currency is potentially undervalued relative to its fundamentals is something that the RBA seems to think would be a good thing for the economy," said Ray Attrill, global co-head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank.
"They haven't got anything to fear from an inflation standpoint."
Consumer prices rose at an annual 1.7 per cent pace in the fourth quarter. It is the slowest pace in 2½ years and below the 2 per cent to 3 per cent range the RBA seeks.
The Aussie's "fair value" level would continue to fall as the price of commodities exports slumped and US interest rates rose, said Paul Lambert, head of currencies at Insight Investment Management.
The money manager, which oversees the equivalent of about $US18 billion in currencies, was adding to bets that would profit from a weaker Aussie because it expected the RBA to cut rates again, Mr Lambert said.
The local dollar might have to fall even further than BlackRock forecasts to give the economy the boost it needed, said Greg Gibbs, head of Asia-Pacific markets strategy at Royal Bank of Scotland.
"The Aussie may have to become cheap," Mr Gibbs said from Singapore. "It could mean the currency has to go to US65¢ in the context of the stronger US dollar."

A Better World, Run by Women

For many of you that have heard me talk about how the world will have peace in the next 20 years due to women, here is some back up data. Aivars Lode

Male biology has brought the world war, corruption and scandal. Women are poised to lead us to a better place

By Melvin Konner 

Hillary Clinton seems to be preparing to run for president, and the former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina may yet enter the race on the Republican side. Whoever wins the White House in 2016, today it seems easily possible that within the next decade, the U.S. will follow Britain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, India, Israel, Thailand, Norway and dozens of other countries in electing a woman to our most powerful office. 
Can we predict the consequences? Yes, we can—and the news is good.
Research has found that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future, and it isn’t just a matter of culture or upbringing—although both play their roles. It is also biology and the aspects of thought and feeling shaped by biology. It is because of chromosomes, genes, hormones and brain circuits. 
And no, by this I don’t mean what was meant by patronizing men who proclaimed the superiority of women in the benighted past—that women are lofty, spiritual creatures who must be left out of the bustle and fray of competitive life, business, politics and war, so that they can instill character in the next generation. I mean something like the opposite of that.
All wars are boyish. People point to Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir as evidence that women, too, can be warlike. But these women were perched atop all-male hierarchies confronting other hypermasculine political pyramids, and they were masculinized as they fought their way to the top. 
Advertisement
There is every reason to think that a future national hierarchy staffed and led by women who no longer have to imitate men, dealing with other nations similarly transformed, would be less likely to go to war. But that’s not all. Sex scandals, financial corruption and violence are all overwhelmingly male. 
We must give up the illusion of sameness between the sexes. The mammalian body plan is basically female. The reason males exist is that a gene on the Y chromosome derails the basic genetic plan. It causes testes to form, and they produce testosterone while suppressing female development. 
Testosterone goes to the brain in late prenatal life and prepares the hypothalamus and amygdala for a lifetime of physical aggression and a kind of sexual drive that is detached from affection and throws caution to the winds. (I know, not all men, but way too many.) By contrast, almost all women, protected from that hormonal assault, have brains that take care of business without this kind of distracting and destructive delirium.
Our own species hasn’t always suffered from male supremacy. Among our hunter-gatherer ancestors, living in small, mobile communities, group decisions were made face to face, among men and women who knew each other intimately. Men tried to dominate, but it wasn’t easy. They could show off by hunting, but war, that universal booster of male status, wasn’t common. 
This changed when hunter-gatherers settled in larger, denser populations. Such cultures could have nobles, commoners and slaves, and they made war often. Men became more aloof from families, and women increasingly became the objects of male strife. Politics became a male game, played in public spaces where men could shame and exclude women, and these tendencies grew more powerful with the rise of farming and chiefdoms and empires. 
The Bible, the Iliad, the great Indian epics—all of them are full of sex and violence. I don’t know whether Helen’s face was what launched a thousand Greek ships against Troy. I don’t know whether David really fell in love with Bathsheba and had her soldier-husband sent to die at the front, or if Solomon had seven hundred wives. But all the evidence suggests the plausibility of such stories, and this culture of male domination didn’t come to an end with the ancients. It prevailed throughout the middle ages and the Renaissance as well.
But then what happened? Why did some men begin at last to let go of their privileges?
The great transformation of the past two centuries—the slow but relentless decline of male supremacy—can be attributed in part to the rise of Enlightenment ideas generally. The liberation of women has advanced alongside the gradual emancipation of serfs, slaves, working people and minorities of every sort. 
But the most important factor has been technology, which has made men’s physical strength and martial prowess increasingly obsolete. Male muscle has been replaced to a large extent by machines and robots. Today, women operate fighter jets and attack helicopters, deploying more lethal force than any Roman gladiator or Shogun warrior could dream of. 
As women come to hold more power and public authority, will they become just like men? I don’t think so. Show me a male brain, and I will show you a bulging amygdala—the brain’s center of fear and violence—densely dotted with testosterone receptors. Women lack the biological tripwires that lead men to react to small threats with exaggerated violence and to sexual temptation with recklessness. 
Growing evidence shows that women leaders operate differently. The government shutdown of October 2013 ended, despite a complete congressional impasse, when three women Republican Senators broke ranks from their party. Two women Democrats followed their lead, and men on both sides came along. The bipartisan committee that worked on the final deal was gender balanced, but John McCain perceptively joked that the women were taking over.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who had started it all by courageously calling for compromise, told a reporter, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence…. Although we span the ideological spectrum, we are used to working together.” While male colleagues crossed their arms and sulked, women crossed the aisle with phone calls, email and social media. The men saw a deal they could live with and followed suit. 
What about women in executive office? There are not yet enough women heads of state to study them systematically, but there are enough in other governing roles. In a 2006 study, political scientist Lynne Weikart and her colleagues surveyed 120 mayors—65 women and 55 men—in comparable cities of over 30,000. Women mayors were far more likely to alter the budget process and seek broad participation. 
Perhaps it is time for us to consider returning to the hunter-gatherer rules that prevailed for 90% of human history: women and men working at their jobs, sharing, talking, listening and tending children. Men didn’t strongly dominate because they couldn’t; women’s voices were always there, speaking truth to male power every night around the fire. There was violence, and it was mainly male, but it was mostly random, accident more than ideology.
Women won’t make a perfect world, but it will be less flawed than the one that men have made and ruled these thousands of years. My grandson, I think, will be happy in the new world. It will be better for him because women will contribute so much more to running it.