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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Favorite Line(s):
I don’t have the strength to get up
And take another shot
And my best friend,
My doctor
Won’t even say
What it is I’ve got
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On This Day In:
2020 BLM
2019 Courage And Patience
2018 Push The Envelope
2017 Ents
2016 Are You Sure?
2015 Distracted
2014 What It Takes
2013 We Are
2012 Utopian
2011 Seen Any Black Swans Lately?

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…We have no idea – and never have had – whether the market is going to go up, down, or sideways in the near- or intermediate term future.
What we do know, however, is that occasional outbreaks of those two super-contagious diseases, fear and greed, will forever occur in the investment community.  The timing of these epidemics will be unpredictable.  And the market aberrations produced by them will be equally unpredictable, both as to duration and degree.  Therefore, we never try to anticipate the arrival or departure of either disease.  Our goal is more modest: we simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.
    —    Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2020 BLM
2019 Courage And Patience
2018 Push The Envelope
2017 Ents
2016 Are You Sure?
2015 Distracted
2014 What It Takes
2013 We Are
2012 Utopian
2011 Seen Any Black Swans Lately?

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Human history can be viewed as a slowly dawning awareness that we are members of a larger group.  Initially our loyalties were to ourselves and our immediate family, next, to bands of wandering hunter-gatherers, then to tribes, small settlements, city-states, nations.  We have broadened the circle of those we love.  We have now organized what are modestly described as super-powers, which include groups of people from divergent ethnic and cultural backgrounds working in some sense together — surely a humanizing and character building experience.  If we are to survive, our loyalties must be broadened further, to include the whole human community, the entire planet Earth.  Many of those who run the nations will find this idea unpleasant.  They will fear the loss of power.  We will hear much about treason and disloyalty.  Rich nation-states will have to share their wealth with poor ones.  But the choice, as H. G. Wells once said in a different context, is clearly the universe or nothing.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel.  These once unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome after-effects.  Their precise nature is anyone’s guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation.
    —    Warren Buffett
[Government handouts can get you through a non-market caused depression (like the one recently caused by COVID / relief payments), but without an employment plan which improves the general welfare (like a massive infrastructure bill), only the wealthy will benefit when inflation inevitably begins to roar.  Infrastructure will improve the national resource base (bridges, roads, levies, dams, drainage, parks, beaches, river-fronts, water and waste treatment, trains and airports, etc.), it will also provide medium and long-term employment to re-build our middle class.  The longer the delay in passing a major bill, the less time available for its impact to begin before the next election cycle and the greater the opportunity for the “do-nothing” Republicans to blame the lack of progress on Democrats who wanted more than they could deliver and then failed to deliver anything.  The danger is too little and too late.  With or without jobs, inflation is coming (IMHO).  The question is: who will gain from it and who will suffer for it?    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Know Love
2019 Spoiler Alert
2018 Tic-Toc
2017 Explaining Working Class Support For Donald
2016 Not In My Experience
2015 Effort
2014 Honest Wants
2013 Faith, n.
2012 Surprise Me
2011 Confused With Truth

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Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization.  We must make our choice; we cannot have both.
   —   Abraham Flexner
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On This Day In:
2020 Haunting Illusions
True Color
Crackin’ The Flags
2019 Maybe A Slight Advantage
We Should Never Give Up On Our Dreams
2018 As I Recall
2017 Truly Generous
2016 Choose Your Destiny
2015 Fast And Firm
2014 Neither Head Nor Heart
2013 Lonely, Foolish, Love Songs
Batting 1.000
Coward, n.
2012 At Least A Little More Difficult
2011 Speaking Of Fear

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In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.  It is up to us.
   —    Carl Sagan
[An Inauguration and rejoining the Paris Climate Accords are just a start.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Hoping For #46 In January 2021
2019 Interesting, But Not Fascinating
But Try To Eat The Low-Hanging First
2018 Me, Too
2017 Apt Enough?
2016 Now Or Ever
21, Pause, Restart
2015 I Am Shocked, Sir, Shocked…
Lucy & FSND-2
2014 Less Difficult
2013 The Spirit Of Liberty
2012 The Essential Freedom Of Aloneness
2011 A Problem Of Scale
Fred Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
2010 Another Book, Another Jog…

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I just think that – when a country needs more income and we do, we’re only taking in 15 percent of GDP, I mean, that – that – when a country needs more income, they should get it from the people that have it.
   —    Warren Buffett
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On This Day In:
2020 Steppin’…
2019 Every Vote Counts
2018 Or A President
2017 Pleasures
2016 Why Not?
2015 Je Suis Charlie
2014 To The Nines
2013 Higher And Truer
2012 Life’s Last Question
2011 A Single Heartbeat
A Little Male Humor – WHY MEN SHOULDN’T RETIRE

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Aside from a moral obligation to treat workers well and pay them a living wage, there’s nothing to prevent more companies from jettisoning full-time employees and shifting to lower-paid gig workers.
They’d just be following what has been happening for decades in other fields.  Just as manufacturing shifted overseas for cheaper labor and as gig economy apps drove down wages for taxi and delivery drivers, the pandemic has hastened the gig-ification of white-collar jobs.  The gig economy might have been a crowded space before COVID-19, but the booming economy masked its workers’ struggles because many of them could find other jobs to supplement their income.  Now, that extra work has dried up, and their desperation is more evident than ever.  When gig work is the only pie that’s available to millions of people, sharing it means that some don’t even get crumbs.
   —    Alana Semuels
In her article: “As the gig economy grows, its workers’ paychecks shrink
In: Time Magazine, dtd: 1-8 June 2020
This article also appears online with a different title: “‘It’s a Race to the Bottom.’ The Coronavirus is Cutting Into Gig Worker Incomes as the Newly Jobless Flood Apps
The specific link is: https://time.com/5836868/gig-economy-coronavirus/
You may have to go through a paywall to view the online article.
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On This Day In:
2019 Or In This Case – What’s Wrong
2018 Just Passing Through
2017 True Torture
Happy Thanksgiving – 2017 !!
2016 Overtaken
2015 Alone Praying
2014 A Full Man
2013 Off Defending The Universe
Taking Precautions
2012 Never, Never, Never
2011 Testing 1, 2, 3

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Since man is a moment in astronomic time, a transient guest of the earth, a spore of his species, a scion of his race, a composite of body, character, and mind, a member of a family and a community, a believer or doubter of a faith, a unit in an economy, perhaps a citizen in a state or a soldier in an army, we may ask under the corresponding heads — astronomy, geology, geography, biology, ethnology, psychology, morality, religion, economics, politics, and war — what history has to say about the nature, conduct, and prospects of man.  It is a precarious enterprise, and only a fool would try to compress a hundred centuries into a hundred pages of hazardous conclusions.  We proceed.
   —   Will and Ariel Durant
From their book:   “The Lessons Of History
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On This Day In:
2019 How #45’s Father Raised Him For Incompetence
2018 Describing #45 – “The Loser” – As A Successful Businessman
Raking – #PresidentIdiot Proposes Full Employment For California
2017 Federal Deficit, National Debt And Tax Cuts For The 1%
2016 Picky, Picky, Picky
2015 Another Limitation On Religion
2014 Enduring
2013 Tell Me More…
2012 Passing…
2011 Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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“Are you a socialist?” Ted Turner asked Carl Sagan.  “I’m not sure what a socialist is,” Sagan replied.
But I believe the government has a responsibility to care for the people,” Sagan said.
“I’m talking about making people self-reliant, people able to take care of themselves,” he continued.  “There are countries which are perfectly able to do that.  The United States is an extremely rich country, it’s perfectly able to do that.  It chooses not to.  It chooses to have homeless people.”
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On This Day In:
2019 He Claims It’s Fake News And Spies
2018 Mine, Too
2017 Who’s Turn Is It Now?
2016 Before You Vote In November…
2015 Two Faithful Thoughts
2014 Love Light
Orange October (III) – Giants Advance To National League Championship Series (NLCS)
2013 Nothing Ridiculous
2012 Keeping Faith
2011 Summon Us, Don’t Criticize Us
2010 Obama’s Wars – Book Review
Game Two – Hearbreaking Loss

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One lesson is to have diverse voices at the table, to make sure democracy is retained.  But there are also things that we can’t put price tags on.  Some things are part of our public welfare, and we should not look at a balance book to do them.
   —   Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
(Discussing the poisoning of the Flint, Michigan public water supply.)
As quoted by:  Belinda Luscombe
In her interview titled: “8 Questions
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: 9 July 2019
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On This Day In:
2019 And Yet, I Believe
2018 Beats
First Step: Starting Cleansing (Again)
2017 Effective Stimuli
2016 Dave’s Not Here, Man
2015 Blink
2014 The Struggle To Educate America Continues…
2013 On Elections
2012 Warm Smiles
Pick Your Poison
2011 Straight Shooters

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In 1971 the social scientist Herbert Simon anticipated the attention economy when he wrote that in an information-rich world, the most scarce resource is the one that information itself consumes:  attention.  “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently,” he wrote.  Here’s how the designers of our devices, social platforms, operating systems, and websites have decided to allocate our attention:  They have placed a bounty on it, monetizing our data and our gaze.  Advertisements and other types of persuasive communication — political ads, entertainment, social media alerts — are all gunning for that bounty.
    —    Zeynep Tufekci
From her article: “In Praise Of One-Trick Ponies
Appearing in: Wired Magazine, dtd: October 2019
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On This Day In:
2019 Boxes
2018 Hoping For Better Come November
An Honest Binge
2017 Give And Keep
2016 No Change Here
2015 Campbell’s Law
2014 Dignified Values
2013 Unappreciated Skill
2012 Living Courage
2011 What’s Happening To Us?
2010 Toothbrush, Carbon and Monoxide
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

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There is nothing wrong with, and much to be gained by, using our mind analytically, but to use it almost exclusively in this way is unbalanced and has a not insignificant responsibility for the perilous state of affairs on our planet.  Though the odds against it happening seem to be mounting, perhaps a more intuitive way of thinking about he world might help us to recognize and reduce in time our overdevelopment of and overdependence on the ever-growing machinery that is supposed to make our lives easier and better.  We are swept along by technological development so that in our urban environment, many of us interact increasingly with electronic devices and less with other human beings.  In addition, our culture is gradually losing our knowledge of and our direct connection with the natural or unprocessed things of the earth.  With a more intuitive way of thinking about our lives could come the realization that our very survival may depend on the other forms of life our present political and economic systems are destroying.  At the least, a better synthesis than we have now between the analytical and the intuitive, in which the intuitive gets equal attention, seems necessary to our longer-term welfare.
    —   Herman Kauz
From his book: “Push-Hands: The Handbook For Non-Competitive Tai Chi Practice With A Partner
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On This Day In:
2019 It’s Only Funny If You’re Old Enough To Know What “Film” Was
2018 Bourne Wicked Blonde
First Things First
2017 This Explains A Lot
2016 Me Too
2015 A Proper Price
2014 Well Hard
2013 Because I Can
Eloquence, n.
2012 Why Bother?
2011 Peculiar Notions

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We cannot ensure success, but we can deserve it.
    —    Joseph Addison
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On This Day In:
2019 Or Thought I’d Thought
2018 Go And Dare
2017 And Wealth A Poor Substitute For Ability
2016 Neither Darkness Nor Shadows
2015 It Took Roots
2014 Hard Evidence
2013 Full Participation
2012 Roving (Again)
Ooops, Again
2011 Why Not?

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Orwell sought to awaken British and U.S. societies to the totalitarian dangers that threatened democracy even after the Nazi defeat.  In letters before and after his novel’s completion, Orwell urged “constant criticism,” warning that any “immunity” to totalitarianism must not be taken for granted: “Totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere.”
For 19 years, private companies practicing an unprecedented economic logic that I call surveillance capitalism have hijacked the Internet and its digital technologies.
Because this power does not claim our bodies through violence and fear, we under-value its effects and lower our guard.  Instrumentarian power exiles us from our own behavior.  It delivers our futures to surveillance capitalism’s interests.  And it undermines human autonomy and self-determination, without which democracy cannot survive.
Surveillance capitalist falsely claim their methods are inevitable consequences of digital technologies.  But Orwell despised “the instinct to bow down before the conqueror of the moment.”  Courage, he insisted, demands that we assert our morals even against forces that appear invincible.
Seven decades later, we can honor Orwell’s death by refusing to cede the digital future.  Like Orwell, think critically and criticize.  Do not take freedom for granted. Fight for the one idea in the long human story that asserts the people’s right to rule themselves.  Orwell reckoned it was worth dying for.
    —    Shoshana Zuboff
From her opinion / editorial:  “The Threat of Big Other
Appearing in Time Magazine, dtd: 6 June 2019
This quote is from the hard-copy issue.  The article is also online, but significantly differs from the text version.
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On This Day In:
2019 Before & After
Quiet, Please!
2018 Heavy On The Starch
2017 But The Beginning Of What?
2016 Today’s Rule
2015 Remembering Oklahoma City
2014 Who Was That Masked Man?
2013 Enemy Mine
2012 Strengthen Me
2011 Service, Please
2010 The Church In Crisis…

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