Did Cocaine Fuel the Financial Bubble? April 17, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle.
Tags: Banks, Cocaine, Economy & Business, Financial Crisis
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The controversial former drug tsar David Nutt told the London Sunday Times this weekend that cocaine-using bankers with their “culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more … got us into this terrible mess”.
Nutt, who was sacked for claiming that ecstasy was as safe as horse riding, told the Sunday Times that abuse of cocaine caused the financial meltdown.
“Bankers use cocaine and got us into this terrible mess,” he told the paper adding that the drug made them “overconfident” and led to them taking more risks. Nutt, who is professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, claimed that cocaine was perfect for a banking “culture of excitement and drive and more and more and more. It is a ‘more’ drug”
There were also lots of stories about some of the big swingers in New York enjoying a line or 10 of an evening. Bernie Madoff’s office was apparently known as “the North Pole” such were the gargantuan quantities of “snow” to be found there and most bankers are aware of the published allegations that Jimmy Cayne (former CEO of Bear Stearns) had an anti-acid medication bottle that was filled with cocaine.
Dr Chris Luke, an A&E specialist based at Cork University Hospital, Ireland, who has studied the effects of cocaine on bankers, has stated that “prominent figures in financial and political circles made irrational decisions as a result of megalomania brought on by cocaine usage”. He concludes that “people were making insane decisions and thinking they were 110% right … which led to the current chaos.”
Greed, selfishness, ignorance and ruthlessness also played their part, of course, but I think it would be foolish not to see the role that the drug played in creating the bubble.
Tags: Demographics, Money, Wealth
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Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks is an interactive map (created by Christopher Persaud, a data reporter for a bank website) showing the average income for every neighborhood in America. Type in your address, press search, and there you have it: Your city, shaded by income, according to data from an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau. The greenest blocks–Census blocks, that is, not city blocks–signify the richest areas, typically bringing in an average household income of $100,000 or more a year. The reddest blocks are the poorest, with annual income somewhere around $20,000. All the rest get some shade of red or green, depending where they fall.
Hackers Are Winning The CyberWar – So Far February 10, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle, Technology.
Tags: computer, Hackers, Malware, Software, Technology
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Virus writers are having a field day. A new industry has blossomed called Exploit Kits. Talented programmers sell their exploit kits for $3000 a pop to help their brethren malware writers deliver their payloads more effectively.
Late 2012, the NY Times published a controversial piece questioning the effectiveness of modern antivirus software. The shocking conclusion was that after an exhaustive analysis of over 40 antivirus products, there was only a 5% chance of detecting and defeating a new threat. That is, if a computer had 40+ antivirus products running simultaneously, there is a scant 5% chance that the computer would be safe from new threats.
The US Department of Homeland Security advised last week that users disable Java. This is unprecedented. The government felt this is a computing problem so severe that it must intervene. Java is a real and present threat to not only our national security but our computers, privacy and wallets. The DHS has no motivation to sow misinformation or fear, and they should be heeded. (more…)
Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor? January 12, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
Tags: Native Americans, Wealth
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At a time when there’s a spotlight on America’s richest 1%, a look at the country’s 310 Indian reservations–where many of America’s poorest 1% live–can be more enlightening. To explain the poverty of the reservations, people usually point to alcoholism, corruption or school-dropout rates, not to mention the long distances to jobs and the dusty undeveloped land that doesn’t seem good for growing much. But those are just symptoms. Prosperity is built on property rights, and reservations often have neither. They’re a demonstration of what happens when property rights are weak or non-existent.
The vast majority of land on reservations is held communally. That means residents can’t get clear title to the land where their home sits, one reason for the abundance of mobile homes on reservations. This makes it hard for Native Americans to establish credit and borrow money to improve their homes because they can’t use the land as collateral–and investing in something you don’t own makes little sense, anyway.
This leads to what economists call the tragedy of the commons: If everyone owns the land, no one does. So the result is substandard housing and the barren, rundown look that comes from a lack of investment, overuse and environmental degradation. It’s a look that’s common worldwide, wherever secure property rights are lacking—much of Africa and South America, inner city housing projects and rent-controlled apartment buildings in the U.S., Indian reservations.
When Will The College Bubble Burst? January 7, 2013Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
Tags: College, Student Loans
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Higher education’s business model is simply unsustainable.
Colleges have so far gotten away with their price hikes by making it easy for students to borrow money. But now the customers are tapped out. They owe $1 trillion, and they are having a rough time repaying that debt with the kinds of jobs available in today’s economy. Vedder notes that 115,000 janitors have bachelor’s degrees.
The system is ripe for an upheaval. Cheap online courses seem poised to deliver it. Traditional colleges at opposite ends of the glamour spectrum will probably survive. At one end, community colleges could deliver bankable skills in fields like nursing and computer network installation. At the other end, elite institutions like Princeton will carry on for a few more centuries.
Balancing the 3 Types of Innovation November 25, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
Tags: Financial Crisis
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efficiency innovations are liberating capital, and in the United States this capital is being reinvested into still more efficiency innovations. In contrast, America is generating many fewer empowering innovations than in the past. We need to reset the balance between empowering and efficiency innovations.
America today is in a macroeconomic paradox that we might call the capitalist’s dilemma. Executives, investors and analysts are doing what is right, from their perspective and according to what they’ve been taught. Those doctrines were appropriate to the circumstances when first articulated — when capital was scarce. But we’ve never taught our apprentices that when capital is abundant and certain new skills are scarce, the same rules are the wrong rules.
It’s as if our leaders in Washington, all highly credentialed, are standing on a beach holding their fire hoses full open, pouring more capital into an ocean of capital. We are trying to solve the wrong problem. The author presents solutions at the end of the article
Tags: Economy & Business, Plutocrats, Wealth
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Extractive states are controlled by ruling elites whose objective is to extract as much wealth as they can from the rest of society. Inclusive states give everyone access to economic opportunity; often, greater inclusiveness creates more prosperity, which creates an incentive for ever greater inclusiveness. Elites that have prospered from inclusive systems can be tempted to pull up the ladder they climbed to the top. Eventually, their societies become extractive and their economies languish.
Several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising.
Economists point out that the woes of the middle class are in large part a consequence of globalization and technological change. Culture may also play a role. In his recent book on the white working class, the libertarian writer Charles Murray blames the hollowed-out middle for straying from the traditional family values and old-fashioned work ethic that he says prevail among the rich (whom he castigates, but only for allowing cultural relativism to prevail).
The crony capitalism of today’s oligarchs is far subtler than Venice’s. It works in two main ways.
The first is to channel the state’s scarce resources in their own direction. This is the absurdity of Mitt Romney’s comment about the “47 percent” who are “dependent upon government.” The reality is that it is those at the top, particularly the tippy-top, of the economic pyramid who have been most effective at capturing government support — and at getting others to pay for it.
Exhibit A is the bipartisan, $700 billion rescue of Wall Street in 2008. Exhibit B is the crony recovery. The economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that 93 percent of the income gains from the 2009-10 recovery went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers. The top 0.01 percent captured 37 percent of these additional earnings, gaining an average of $4.2 million per household.
The Dirty Solar Panel Fight Over Clean Energy October 10, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Environment, Renewable Energy, Solar, Solyndra
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Chinese technocrats set out to create an industry that would dominate the world, and they succeeded. They aided solar cell manufacturers with easy credit from state banks—perhaps as much as $18 billion of cheap loans—and, some say, subsidies. As a result of central and local government support, Chinese manufacturers began to expand rapidly. Chinese competitors now own 70% of the world’s wafer-producing capacity.
Make that overcapacity. “Massive subsidies and state intervention have stimulated overcapacity more than 20 times total Chinese consumption and close to double total global demand,” said Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun, in a statement released late last month. The company alleges that 90% of Chinese production had to be exported and that Beijing used subsidies to keep its manufacturers in business.
The powerful Chinese National Development and Reform Commission wants to see two-thirds of panel makers go out of business. Only the largest producers, which are presently nonviable, will survive.
In short, central government technocrats, to salvage their industrial policy, will now have to destroy what they worked so hard to create.
Tags: Economy & Business, Financial Crisis
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The analysis links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions (IR’s), that is, IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830; IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900; and IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present. It provides evidence that IR #2 was more important than the others and was largely responsible for 80 years of relatively rapid productivity growth between 1890 and 1972. Once the spin-off inventions from IR #2 (airplanes, air conditioning, interstate highways) had run their course, productivity growth during 1972-96 was much slower than before. In contrast, IR #3 created only a short-lived growth revival between 1996 and 2004. Many of the original and spin-off inventions of IR #2 could happen only once – urbanization, transportation speed, the freedom of females from the drudgery of carrying tons of water per year, and the role of central heating and air conditioning in achieving a year-round constant temperature.
Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative “exercise in subtraction” suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades.
Rise of the Asian Welfare State September 22, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics, health, Lifestyle.
Tags: Asia, China, Geopolitics, Welfare
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Although poorer countries still limit themselves to ad hoc welfare offerings, fitting the spending level to revenues one budget at a time, there is an increasing trend towards entitlements served by statutory institutions that will outlive the budgetary cycle. As these systems mature, welfare provision will be demand-led, not supply-driven; welfare will become integral to the state. Asia’s tigerish economies are turning marsupial, carrying their dependants along with them as they prowl.
Some of the national leaders who unleashed those tiger economies would be shocked and disturbed by the development. To them the welfare state was a Western aberration that would serve only to undermine thrift, industry and filial duty.
It seems that every country that can afford to build a welfare state will come under mounting pressure to do so. And much of Asia has hit the relevant level of prosperity (see chart 1). Indonesia is now almost as developed as America was in 1935 when it passed the landmark Social Security Act, according to figures compiled by the late Angus Maddison, an economic historian. China is already richer than Britain was in 1948, when it inaugurated the National Health Service (NHS) which, to judge by political ructions—and Olympic opening ceremonies—has become crucial to its sense of national identity.
You Can’t Blame Your Stress On Work September 15, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, health, Lifestyle.
Tags: health, Stress, Work
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Work stress, job satisfaction and health problems due to high stress have more to do with genes than you might think.
The lead author of “Genetic influences on core self-evaluations, job satisfaction, work stress, and employee health: A behavioral genetics mediated model,” published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Judge studied nearly 600 twins — some identical, some fraternal — who were raised together and reared apart. He found that being raised in the same environment had very little effect on personality, stress and health. Shared genes turned out to be about four times as important as shared environment.
Everything You Think You Know About China Is Wrong September 1, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Financial Crisis, Geopolitics
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For the last 40 years, Americans have lagged in recognizing the declining fortunes of their foreign rivals. In the 1970s they thought the Soviet Union was 10 feet tall — ascendant even though corruption and inefficiency were destroying the vital organs of a decaying communist regime. In the late 1980s, they feared that Japan was going to economically overtake the United States, yet the crony capitalism, speculative madness, and political corruption evident throughout the 1980s led to the collapse of the Japanese economy in 1991.
Could the same malady have struck Americans when it comes to China? The latest news from Beijing is indicative of Chinese weakness: a persistent slowdown of economic growth, a glut of unsold goods, rising bad bank loans, a bursting real estate bubble, and a vicious power struggle at the top, coupled with unending political scandals. Many factors that have powered China’s rise, such as the demographic dividend, disregard for the environment, supercheap labor, and virtually unlimited access to external markets, are either receding or disappearing.
The current economic slowdown in Beijing is neither cyclical nor the result of weak external demand for Chinese goods. China’s economic ills are far more deeply rooted: an overbearing state squandering capital and squeezing out the private sector, systemic inefficiency and lack of innovation, a rapacious ruling elite interested solely in self-enrichment and the perpetuation of its privileges, a woefully underdeveloped financial sector, and mounting ecological and demographic pressures.
How Our 1% Compares August 25, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: 1%, China, Economy & Business, United States
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It’s right out of 1880s America:
In China, less than 1% of households control more than 70% of private financial wealth.
In the US today, we’re talking somewhere between 40 and 45 percent.
Globally, says, John Bussey in the WSJ, the number is “nearly 40%,” so America’s not much off the norm.
China’s Cash Crunch August 20, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Financial Crisis
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At first glance, that proposition seems preposterous. After all, the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, held $3.24 trillion of foreign currency reserves at the end of the first half of this year. Yet foreign currency, no matter how plentiful, has limited usefulness in a local currency crisis. In any event, the PBOC’s foreign currency holdings are almost evenly matched with renminbi-denominated liabilities that were incurred to acquire all those dollars, pounds, euros, and yen. As a result, the central bank cannot use the reserves without driving itself deep—actually, deeper—into insolvency.
When shops close to avoid predatory officials, we know China’s coffers are almost empty. And to make matters worse, the country’s financial problems will be harder to solve now that the country’s balance of payments has turned negative. The net outflow in the second quarter of this year was the first since 1998. The country’s reserves also dropped in Q2. We should not be surprised: there was perhaps $110 billion of capital flight during that period, and the gusher outflow looks like it continued in June. Chinese citizens are losing confidence fast.
No developing country has ever escaped a major financial crisis. The People’s Republic of China is about to have its first one now
Return of the disparaged “Limits to Growth” Prediction August 4, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, Geopolitics.
Tags: Drought, Environment, Geopolitics, Global Warming
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Carlton Palmer shares this gem with these comments:
Thoughtful, analysis and personal take from a Financial realist . Civilized not a Rant! Long, Worth the effort. Ex Pat Brit.Jeremy Granthams take on the ongoing food crisis plus the Game changer implications for the Human condition. Of note “the ethanol/gas” idiocy.
Click on the link to download the .pdf file and take the time to read this 22 page analysis
No free beer when frugal Swiss get their say July 21, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
Tags: California, Democracy, European Union, Financial Crisis
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Swiss research shows that giving citizens a direct say over how their taxes are spent leads to lower public debts, more cost-efficient services and even less tax evasion. “Because Swiss citizens feel they can control politicians’ spending through referendums, they are more prepared to give the government money and have a more positive attitude towards the state,” said Daniel Kuebler, co-director of the Centre for Democracy Studies in the northern Swiss town of Aarau.
To be sure, direct democracy is not the only driver of the Swiss success story. The country’s neutrality, bank secrecy, liberal labor market, low taxes and stable government have all played their part in drawing investment and driving growth. But the system has forced politicians to be more frugal than elsewhere.
In the United States, direct democracy is frequently blamed for the fiscal mess in California, where a 1978 referendum known as Proposition 13 changed the state constitution to ban increases in property taxes in line with inflation. Supporters say the measure put a sensible limit on state spending, but opponents say it warped the property market to benefit the rich, forced other taxes up and made it impossible for towns to keep pace with the cost of public services. This year, three Californian cities filed for bankruptcy in the space of weeks.
Kuebler said Switzerland’s referendums, which allow voters to overrule spending decisions by the legislature, do a better job of encouraging fiscal responsibility. “You might think that direct democracy would lead to greater public spending because anyone can put forward an initiative, for example, proposing free beer for all,” said Kuebler. “But it would never have a chance, because the preference of Swiss citizens is fiscally conservative and not redistributive.”
The 11 Ways That Consumers Are Hopeless at Math July 8, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Life.
Tags: Best Deals, Consumers, Rip-Offs, Starbucks
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You walk into a Starbucks and see two deals for a cup of coffee. The first deal offers 33% extra coffee. The second takes 33% off the regular price. What’s the better deal?
“They’re about equal!” you’d say, if you’re like the students who participated in a new study published in the Journal of Marketing. And you’d be wrong. The deals appear to be equivalent, but in fact, a 33% discount is the same as a 50 percent increase in quantity. Math time: Let’s say the standard coffee is $1 for 3 quarts ($0.33 per quart). The first deal gets you 4 quarts for $1 ($0.25 per quart) and the second gets you 3 quarts for 66 cents ($.22 per quart).
The upshot: Getting something extra “for free” feels better than getting the same for less. The applications of this simple fact are huge. Selling cereal? Don’t talk up the discount. Talk how much bigger the box is! Selling a car? Skip the MPG conversion. Talk about all the extra miles
California Doesn’t Learn From China’s Train Wreck July 7, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, News and politics, Technology.
Tags: California, China, High-Speed Rail
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In California’s Legislature just authorized to spend, with Federal assistance, an under-estimated $100 billion to build a route between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will consist of a government monopoly riding on tracks near one of the largest earthquake faults in the world for most of its length, all to deliver passengers slower and at greater overall cost between two fixed points. Airlines give consumers a choice of carriers and airports on either end of that route, will deliver passengers more quickly, and probably with a much wider choice of departure and arrival times.
In China the problem — beyond the idea of spending untold billions on the antiquated technology of static choo-choo trains — is that the three people making all these wonderful decisions now have a high-speed rail system plagued by failure, corruption, out-of-control costs and legitimate safety concerns
The fact is that China’s train wreck was eminently foreseeable. High-speed rail is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires huge borrowing upfront to finance tracks, locomotives and cars, followed by years in which ticket revenue covers debt service — if all goes well. “Any . . . shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial stress,” warns a 2010 World Bank staff report.
Such “shortfalls” are all too common. Japan’s bullet trains needed a bailout in 1987. Taiwan’s line opened in 2007 and needed a government rescue in 2009. In France, only the Paris-Lyon high-speed line is in the black.
Trends In The Spread of Civilization May 3, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, European Union, Financial Crisis, South America, United States
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In his latest book, Civilization, The West and the Rest, the economic and financial historian Niall Ferguson argues that Western civilization’s rise to global dominance over the past 500 years was due mainly to six killer apps, as he calls them: competition, science, rule of law, modern medicine, consumerism, and the work ethic.
While “the Rest” lacked these concepts, they might not for much longer, as emerging markets are quickly catching up. Someday, they could even surpass the West. (On May 22 and 29, PBS will air a program based on Civilization.)
What made the West unusual was that risk takers were not only rewarded but honored, whether in science, exploration, or in trade. Spreading across the Atlantic from Europe is an anti-risk culture that manifests itself in two ways. One is the welfare state, designed to remove risk from your life by guaranteeing you an income from the cradle to the grave. That’s great because it means that nobody is starving in the streets for want of work. But it isn’t great if you create poverty traps and disincentives, so that people in the bottom quintile never work, which is the case in much of Europe.
The other way in which the anti-risk culture manifests itself is with the manic regulatory mentality that tries to prescribe rules for every eventuality, including the tiny, tiny risk that an asteroid will hit this building. Regulations that protect from every eventuality end up being paralyzing because the more things are proscribed, the more the ordinary entrepreneur has to be afraid that if he doesn’t comply, he will get sued.
Boomer or Bust – The War Against Youth March 30, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle, Politics.
Tags: Boomers, Debt, Economy & Business, Youth
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The recession didn’t gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.
David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: “This isn’t conservatism: It’s a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation.”
The impasse of the moment is, tragically, the result of the best aspects of the Boomers’ spirit. The native optimism that emerged out of the explosively creative postwar world led them to believe that growth would go on forever; that peace and prosperity were the natural state of things. Their good intentions seem like willful naivete today, but the intentions were genuine. Clinton actually believed that globalization would export the First World rather than bring the Third World home; it did both.
1% Getting Richer In European Welfare States Too March 9, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
Tags: 1%, Economy & Business, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street, one percent
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As the chart from the Roine and Waldenström study shows, the share of income for the top 1% in these seven countries generally follows the same trend line. That means domestic policy can’t be the principal reason for the current spread between high earners and others. Since the 1980s, that spread has increased in nearly all seven countries. The U.S. and Sweden, countries with very different systems of redistribution, along with the U.K. and Canada show the largest increase in the share of income for the top 1%.
The main reasons for these increases are not hard to find. Adding a few hundred million Chinese and Indians to the world’s productive labor force after 1980 slowed the rise in income for workers all over the developed world. That’s the most important factor at work. The top 1% gain relatively because they are less affected by the hordes of newly productive workers.
But the top 1% have another advantage. Many of them have unique skills that are difficult to replicate. Our top earners include entrepreneurs, rock stars, professional athletes, surgeons and lawyers. Also included are the managers of large international corporations and, yes, bankers and financiers
Which Countries Have Profited the Most from Globalization February 22, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Economy & Business, Globalization
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Who owns America? Hint: It’s not China January 29, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Geopolitics.
Tags: China, Debt, Financial Crisis
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Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:
- Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
- Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
- Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
- Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
- Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
- Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
- Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
- State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
- Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
- United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
- Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
- State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
- Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
- U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
- China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
- The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
- Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)
So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion
China Cost Advantages Erode as U.S., Mexico Gain January 5, 2012Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business.
Tags: Asia, China, Economy & Business, Mexico, Trade
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China, which is experiencing negative pressure as an exporter because of wage inflation, exchange-rate pressures and higher freight rates, could lose its cost advantage vis-à-vis U.S. production in four years if freight rates rise at 5 percent annually, according to the 2011 U.S. Manufacturing-Outsourcing Cost Index.
Since 2007, Mexico, some locations in Europe and locations in Asia other than China have gained a competitive advantage for offshore manufacturing. In addition to Mexico, emerging LCCs, including India, Vietnam, Russia and Romania, had lower landed cost for their exports to the U.S.
In the Future Everything Will Be A Coffee Shop December 28, 2011Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
Tags: Coffee, College, Education
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But what’s the advantage of a good job if the salary difference between that job and a non-college-level job is lost servicing student debt? It’s a reasonable question that has become more pressing as the amount of student debt required to get an education has risen.
At the same time several universities with world renown branding have begun offering online courses for free. MIT has been the pioneering institution in this. They were first to make practically all classes available online. Now they are beginning to offer some level of credential for completion of online courses through a new program they’re calling MITx.
We’re going back to the future: the modern office was birthed in 17th century coffee shops. Steven Johnson has argued that coffee fueled the enlightenment. It was certainly a more enlightening beverage than the previous choice of alcohol.
The need for offices grew as the equipment for mental work was developed starting in the late 19th centuries. That need appears to have peaked about 1980. It was a rare person who could afford the computers, printers, fax machines, and mailing/shipping equipment of that time.
Now a single person with $500 can duplicate most of those functions with a single laptop computer. So the remaining function of the office is to be that place that clients know to find you… and that kids and the other distractions of home can’t.