Archive for January 5, 2010

Linkfest (January 5, 2010)

January 5, 2010 1 comment

In other news..

Obama Says U.S. Had ‘Sufficient’ Information to Stop Bomb Plot OK, now we are talking. Some honesty..

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said U.S. intelligence services had “sufficient information” to stop the Dec. 25 attempted bombing of an airliner and failed to properly analyze and distribute the data.

Letter from Chicago: F A good read.. with this gem

The math/science majors meant that I was obligated to take humanities and other (non-science) course work. So I signed up for (amongst other courses) Economics 101. It took all of ten minutes into the first class for me to recoil in horror. I asked the prof: “What do you meant that humans are rational? That is obviously not true. How important is this idea to economics?” The response was, in hindsight, not a surprise: “It is the fundamental building block for all of economics. If you fight that underlying concept, if you do not provisionally accept that premise, you will not be able to understand what comes later.”

Hoenig: Reinstate Glass-Steagall About time.. but with a modern version of that act.

“Beginning to break them, to dismember them, is a fair thing to consider.”
-Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig.

Manhattan Apartment Prices Fall as Finance Jobs Lost Not feeling so special? Aww..

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Manhattan apartment prices fell for a third consecutive quarter as Wall Street job losses drained demand and the decline in co-op and condominium values reached 21 percent since the market peak.

Google Introduces Nexus One Handset to Take On IPhone Finally some real competition for the iPhone.

Iceland President Vetoes Icesave Compensation This what a head of state with balls looks like.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Tuesday cited massive public opposition in his decision to reject the bill, which was approved in late December by the Icelandic parliament after months of wrangling.

Through the Eyes of the Ultra Rich Can one become super rich through honesty?

Jonathan Dee delves into a Manhattan family’s rise to the super rich via morally questionable means in his new novel, “The Privileges”

6 Ways to Cut Gym Membership Costs Why do people pay for services that you never use, but which make you feel for buying them?

Banks Roll Out New Check, Card Fees You bailed them out, NOW BEND OVER!

The nation’s banks will be bombarding customers with new fees and products in 2010 as they try to replace more than $50 billion in revenue wiped out by new rules that clamp down on certain business practices.

What’s Holding Back the Recovery? What about JOBS that are STABLE? and what recovery?

For More Workers, Home Is Where the Office Is Polishing a Turd?

As we continue to dig ourselves out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, many of us have lost corporate jobs. Others worry that layoffs are lurking. We’re taking on free-lance assignments, contract work and short-term projects — and getting them done in the extra bedroom, eat-in kitchen or spare corner in the utility room.

Personal Bankruptcy Filings Rising Fast The real economy is still in a tailspin.

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Linkfest (January 4, 2010)

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

In other news..

CIA Blast Blamed On Double Agent Maybe we should screen those who we trust better?

The suicide bomber who killed seven Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors and a Jordanian intelligence officer was a double agent the CIA had recruited to provide intelligence on senior al Qaeda leadership, according to current and former U.S. officials and an Afghan security official.

The Best and Worst Jobs of 2009 What job?

Start-Ups Will Keep Struggling in 2010 So big companies are going to create jobs in the USA? -No, Outsourcing; Or maybe small companies can pick up the slack?- No credit.

IMF Worker Sought in Attack I did not know economists had balls..

How to Fix Your Finances in 2010 Not believing shysters would be a start.

Housing Animal Spirits to Be Banished by Prime Foreclosures But.. the rich are different.. not

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) — Homeowners with the best credit are the next big risk for the U.S. housing market.

Stocks Jump on Faster Economic Growth; Asian Bond Risk Falls Have we not seen this movie before?

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Stocks soared, led by shipping companies and commodity producers, oil rose near $82 a barrel and Asian bond risk declined to the lowest level since May 2008 on signs global economic growth will accelerate.

Silicon Valley ‘Bloodbath’ Leaves Entire Office Buildings Empty CRE is different.. haha

“There is a bubble bursting in much the same way as the residential market burst,” said Jon Haveman, principal at Beacon Economics, a consulting firm in San Rafael, California. “None of those towers will fill up anytime soon.”

Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Probably Fell in November Tax Credits could only juice up home sales so much… People require good JOBS to keep on buying houses.

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — The number of contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes probably fell in November for the first time in 10 months as Americans waited for a tax credit to be extended, economists said before a report today.

Lawmakers See Quick Health-Care Agreement Without Public Option Let us screw the electorate..

Krugman Sees 30-40% Chance of U.S. Recession in 2010 I see a 30-40% chance of sunrise tomorrow.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as Banks Seek Profits Who are the bagholders.. mirror please.

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) — To understand the meaning of no good deed goes unpunished, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner can look no further than Wall Street where the banks that received the biggest taxpayer bailouts are seeking to reap trading profits from securities rescued by the government.

Erection Problems Linked to Restless-Leg Disorder, Study Shows Never Mind! It is Harvard, what were you expecting?

Categories: Linkfest, MSM Idiocy

Money is NOT Wealth: 01

January 5, 2010 9 comments

Far too often, people confuse and conflate wealth with money (and vice versa). This series of posts will try to help the reader separate the two concepts.

Money is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts (see wikipedia article). So anything from pieces of gold, silver, electrons or pieces of linen based paper with Tim Geithner’s signature can function as money, as have sea shells and wampum belts. Money is an abstract concept, which is only useful to the extent that it can be used to purchase a product or service. Money is worthless without the existence of wealth (something to buy).

The definitions of wealth are much more diverse (see wikipedia article), but all definitions hint at the ability to produce useful products and services. Essentially, wealth is something concrete that is exchanged for something abstract (money)

Let me use a few examples to illustrate the difference between wealth and money, and why it is important to use money to create new wealth instead of hoarding it for an uncertain future (zero sum based thinking).

Throughout human history, the lives of the poor and rich were quite miserable and hard.

I am writing this post in a Starbucks drinking a standardized and good quality beverage. The water used to make it and other sources of water are potable. The quality of food in nearby restaurants is good and is quite safe (sushi excluded). Every place I go to is climate controlled. Public utilities such as clean water, sewage disposal, garbage pickup, electricity and the internet have extremely high ‘up’ times. The quality of emergency and elective medical care is quite acceptable. Consumer goods like the clothes I am wearing, laptop/ iPhone I am using are also quite cheap and reliable. I am not in immediate danger of theft or violence.

For most of human history such a lifestyle was not achievable for even the richest human beings on earth. You see, they had lots of money (gold, silver etc) and followers (henchmen etc), but their lives were not much more secure, productive or pleasanter than a farmer who owned a few hectares of productive land. Indeed treachery, intrigue and violence made the lives of rich and famous more uncertain than anybody except the landless poor or slaves.

However the worst aspect of that system was widespread zero sum thinking that manifested itself in the belief that wealth could only be accumulated through pillage, cheating and mercantilism.

A system where everyone tries to prey on everyone else, does not encourage innovation, justice, decency or prosperity. It is no wonder that the true benefits of industrialization to the common man came about only after the ‘new deal’ or similar “socialistic” policies. Many libertarians (useful idiots), free marketers (lucky con-men) “intellectuals and professionals” (new priests) try to convince the gullible masses that money spontaneously creates wealth. However that is not so.. read your history critically.

The only two uses of money are to create wealth and ensure that people satisfy their desires through commerce, rather than war and pillage.

Money cannot however create wealth spontaneously. New wealth is created through the circulation of money in a society that is perceived as being reasonably fair and secure. It is investment of money in new, often unconventional ideas and concepts, that creates the most new wealth. However such a system requires a stable society with the ability to consume (discretionary income). Such a society existed in the US from the 1930s through to the 1970s. It started dying when its beneficiaries decided to stop expanding it to cover “others” and scam each other. The effects of high productivity on nature of jobs was also ignored.

Since the 1980s, we went down a path that exalted ivy-league priests, con-men and sociopaths over any sense of human decency or reason. We celebrated glass-marble games (stock markets, 401ks, financial instruments etc) instead of a more affluent lifestyle for everyone. We were happy and willing to deprive, abuse, incarcerate those who did not look like us. Many believed that their race, sub-race, class, peer group gave them the divine right to abuse others less luckier than them (note the word ‘luck’ not ‘ability’). We reveled in various ponzi schemes including creating jobs that encouraged malinvestment (housing bubble, management, security theater related etc). Neither gold, the ‘free’ market or any other popular economic theory (delusion) can solve a problem whose origins are in the intersecting effects of technology and our ape mind.

But zero sum behavior has only logical conclusion- a poverty ridden, malfunctional world where death is often a better fate than living. People get what they work towards, even if they don’t like the results.