Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Inducing the Madness of Crowds

After losing a fortune speculating in the South Sea Bubble, Isaac Newton reportedly said that he could calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not those of the madness of crowds.

Today, millionaires and billionaires are pretty much united in the proposition that even kind of social provision must wither in order that the state can afford to clean up the mess that the wealthy have created. In addition, raising their taxes is not only unfair, but destructive of health of the economy. Yves Smith’s opinion piece in the Times, largely lifted from her wonderful book, ECONned, reports how corporations are hoarding their cash. They have also been investing in their own stock, which raises executive bonuses, which helps to amplify the obscene redistribution of income.

Of course, common sense shows that austerity is the worst policy in the face of an economic decline. In a market economy, without consumer demand, business activity dries up. Continue reading

A Positive Business Experience

I’m always shocked when a business goes out of its way for a customer.  I rarely have good experiences with business.  Almost always, it seems a them versus us situation. 

A couple times each decade something different happens. I use noise canceling headphones at the gym and on airplanes to let me get some work done.  I bought a nice pair from Ableplanet, except that the cable to connect to my MP3 player was not removable, preventing a simple replacement. When I saw this, I contacted the company and told them that I foresaw a problem because such cables do not have a particularly long lifetime.  A couple months later, I reported that my expectation turned out to be correct.  The company quickly both replaced and upgraded the headphones, much to my surprise.

Happy Fifth of July

I’ve never been a big fan of patriotic fluff, but the celebration of the Fourth of July, other than an excuse to have a picnic, seems rather ironic.  I suspect that the tax inequities and the impossibility of getting real representation is probably messed up today as badly as it was during the time of King George, especially with Citizens United and the powerful calls for austerity for the least fortunate.  Calls for revolution, while celebrated in the past, are not particularly welcome in the present.

The holiday also seems to spillover into a celebration of the Constitution, a document which was created under false pretenses.  The Constitutional Convention was not presented as a constitutional convention, or rather a meeting to work out some kinks in the Articles of Confederation.  Once convened, the organizers changed the purpose, literally closed the windows and pulled down the shades in order to prevent anyone from following the proceedings. Continue reading

Insight on Iran

Mohammad Maljoo, an impressive young economist whom I met a few years ago, published an important article on the relationship between Green Movement and labour movement in Iran.

At a time when we know so little about the reality of Iran, Mohammad’s insights are important.

The Tragicomedy of Iran Sanctions

“… the 2007 US sanctions against Iranian banks ironically ensured Iran’s immunity from the global financial crisis that was about to explode.”

Parsi, Massoud. 2010. “The Tragicomedy of Iran Sanctions.” (22 May).