When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pick Your Poison: Liquidity Trap Or Stimulus Trap

What's ahead? Who knows--we're looking more and more like Japan--

RealClearMarkets - Liquidity Trap? No, It's A Stimulus Trap: " . . . What would happen to the Treasury market if the Federal Reserve, by far the biggest buyer and largest holder of Treasury bonds, became a net seller? Who will be there to keep the sell off from becoming an interest rate spiking rout? It may sound absurd to those of us who remember the economy before the crash, but our new economy can't tolerate "sky high" rates of four or five percent. What would happen to the housing market and the stock market if interest rates were to return to those traditional levels? The red ink would flow in rivers. With yields rising and asset prices falling, how long would it take before the Fed reverses course and serves up another round of stimulus? Not long at all. That means any talk of an exit strategy is just that, talk. Not only can the Fed not exit, but it will have to delve further into the stimulus abyss. While doing so, the Fed will continuously insist that the exit lies just behind an ever moving horizon. It will repeat this mantra until a currency crisis finally forces a painful exit. Unfortunately, the longer the Fed waits to exit, the more painful the exit will be. But trading long-term pain for short-term gain is the Fed's specialty. In the meantime, Wall Street watches in uncomprehending stupor as the economy settles deeper and deeper into the stimulus trap."--Peter Schiff is the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital--read more at link above.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Cyprus needs a divorce lawyer

Paul Krugman is right on this one--

Cyprus, Seriously - NYTimes.com: " . . . yes, Cyprus should leave the euro. Now. The reason is straightforward: staying in the euro means an incredibly severe depression, which will last for many years while Cyprus tries to build a new export sector. Leaving the euro, and letting the new currency fall sharply, would greatly accelerate that rebuilding. If you look at Cyprus’s trade profile, you see just how much damage the country is about to sustain. This is a highly open economy with just two major exports, banking services and tourism — and one of them just disappeared. This would lead to a severe slump on its own. On top of that, the troika is demanding major new austerity, even though the country supposedly has rough primary (non-interest) budget balance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 20 percent fall in real GDP. . . ."


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Air Traffic Controller Furloughs Were Completely Unnecessary

We either have an idiot or very political and cynical operator, as President--"The sequester cuts about $637 million from the FAA, which is less than 4% of its $15.9 billion 2012 budget, and it limits the agency to what it spent in 2010. The White House decided to translate this 4% cut that it has the legal discretion to avoid into a 10% cut for air traffic controllers. Though controllers will be furloughed for one of every 10 working days, four of every 10 flights won't arrive on time." (source infra)

Review & Outlook: Flying the Government Skies - WSJ.com: "The White House claims the sequester applies to the budget category known as "projects, programs and activities" and thus it lacks flexibility. Not so: This is a political pose to make the sequester more disruptive. Legally speaking, the sequester applies at a more general level known as "accounts." The air traffic account includes 15,000 controllers out of 31,000 employees. The White House could keep the controllers on duty simply by allocating more furlough days to these other non-essential workers. Instead, the FAA is even imposing the controller furlough on every airport equally, not prioritizing among the largest and busiest airports. San Francisco's Napa Valley airport with no commercial service will absorb the same proportion of the cuts as the central New York radar terminal, which covers La Guardia, JFK and Newark International, as well as MacArthur, Teterboro, New Haven, Republic and other regional fields."


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Eric Schmidt on Julian Assange

Inside the mind of Eric Schmidt | Alan Rusbridger | Technology | guardian.co.uk: "On Julian Assange - As a matter of historical interest, I wanted to understand what role Wikileaks would play. We met almost two years ago, well before the Embassy, and all this kind of stuff. He said a number of things which I thought were quite interesting. His core idea is that systematic evil has to be written down and that, if you have a leaking culture in government, the government can't perpetuate mass evil because the stuff gets leaked before they can do it. That point makes sense to me. The problem is, who gets to decide who does the leaking? . . . "

Answer: anyone and everyone.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Eric Schmidt on the future of nation states

physical policies and virtual policies--

Inside the mind of Eric Schmidt | Alan Rusbridger | Technology | guardian.co.uk: ". . . On the future of nation states - The nation states, at some basic level, are monopoly providers of services, they provide a unifying principle and ever since the Treaty of Westphalia everybody's sort of figured out what nations were and what nations did. That's not going to change. What will happen, is that the countries will have physical policies and virtual policies and they may be different. For example, China and the US may be able to collaborate in physical space on commerce and yet clearly have conflict in cyberspace. China is the source of many of the attacks on American firms, for example. So that duality - a strategy for cyberspace, a strategy for physical space - is possible. . . ."


Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Chicago is not Detroit, not yet"

But Chicago is on its way--

‘The Third Coast,’ by Thomas Dyja, and More - NYTimes.com: " . . . . So Chicago is not Detroit, not yet. But the city is trapped by its location, its past, and what philosophers would have called its facticity — its limitations, given the circumstances. Boosterism has been perfected here because the reality is too painful to look at. Poor Chicago, indeed."--Rachel Shteir in the New York Times

Rachel Shteir takes on Chicago - chicagotribune.com: ". . . . DePaul University theater professor Rachel Shteir, whose recent piece in The New York Times Book Review painted a less-than-flattering portrait of the Second City. Asked Tuesday about the defensive uproar over her article, Shteir said: "I guess I feel it simply proves what the thesis of the piece was, which is that there's only one way to talk about Chicago." In her review, she describes that one way as incessant boosterism. . . . "

Apparently, in Chicago, they can't handle the truth anymore.

But of course, we know, denial and anger are the first stages of grief in death and dying.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oppose online sales tax legislation

A Message from eBay:
Big national retailers are aggressively lobbying Congress to pass online sales tax legislation to "level the playing field" with Amazon. And, as they compete with big retail, Amazon is advocating for this legislation too, while at the same time they are seeking local tax exemptions across the country to build warehouses. This is a "big retail battle" in which small businesses and consumers have a lot to lose. But eBay is fighting, as we have for more than 15 years, to protect small online businesses and sellers and ensure healthy competition, value, and selection that benefit consumers online. The solution is simple: if Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide. To put that in perspective, Amazon does more than $10 million in sales every 90 minutes. So we believe this is a reasonable exemption to protect small online businesses. That's what we're fighting for, and what big companies such as Amazon are fighting against. I hope you agree that imposing unnecessary tax burdens on small online businesses is a bad idea. Join us in letting your Members of Congress know they should protect small online businesses, not potentially put them out of business. Click here to make your voice heard. Together, I believe our voices can make a difference.

Kudos eBay. Shame on you Amazon!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Bomb Suspects - Mistakes Made? (video)

Boston Bomb Suspects: What Mistakes Did FBI Make? (video) - April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Richard Falkenrath, Principal at Chertoff Group, discusses Senator Lindsey Graham’s question of an intelligence mistake made with the Boston bombing suspects. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg)


Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Bombing Suspect Capture video

Boston bomber arrested: Tamerlan Tsarnaev was questioned by FBI in 2011 - Telegraph: "The 19-year-old was found cowering in a boat by a Boston resident who had wandered outside to stretch his legs and noticed a trail of blood. Police quickly surrounded the property and Dzhokhar was arrested after a gunfight in which 30 shots were fired."


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston bomb suspect found by just "a man and his dog"

Like many in the US, I spent the past week watching the developing situation of the Boston Marathon Bombers--the explosions, the search, and its final climax--finding the man identified as bombing suspect #2.

While many in the security and law enforcement communities will have their own post-analysis, I was struck by the clumsy strategies exhibited by the myriad authorities--federal, state, and local--which converged and tripped over each other in the frantic search for the bombers. What became obvious is that there is a gross overestimation of the capabilities of police, security, and paramilitary authorities, and a concomitant lack of understanding, and use, of the power of crowdsourcing and its huge advantages in leveraging the public "know-how" and "problem-solving" capabilities. The public has a vested self-interest in the apprehension of terrorists (as well as prevention of acts of terrorism). Despite the FBI reportedly having interviewed one of the bombing suspects in 2011, and the other suspect having become a US citizen last year, the FBI was unable to ID the bombing suspects until after information was released to the public and a plea made for help. Likewise, the most valuable intelligence available immediately after the explosions were the photos and video that had been taken by the public and media in the area (mostly with smartphone cameras) as well as the private security cameras of adjoining businesses. Finally, after putting the Boston area on lockdown for approximately 20 hours and engaging in countless man-hours in a failed attempt to track and locate bombing suspect #2 (who was injured, bleeding, and on foot), the lockdown was lifted and the public was allowed to solve the problem--bombing suspect #2 was located by a man and his dog--

Watertown Hero David Henneberry Points Police to Bomb Suspect - ABC News: " . . . The chain of events that led to the discovery of the most wanted man in America began around 6 p.m., when Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the Boston lockdown and ordered the restart of mass transit. At approximately 7 p.m., Henneberry took advantage of the lifted lockdown and entered his backyard to walk his dog. Henneberry noticed something amiss with his prized boat, according to Henneberry's neighbor, George Pizzuto.


"He looked and noticed something was off about his boat, so he got his ladder, and he put his ladder up on the side of the boat and climbed up," Pizzuto said. "And then he saw blood on it, and he thought he saw what was a body laying in the boat. So he got out of the boat fast and called police.". . ."

The rest is history. But it is worth noting that had the lockdown not been  lifted before nightfall (and the public allowed to nose around) the suspect may have never been captured alive (he was found in very weak condition from blood loss).

Lessons learned--
  • The public using cameras for photos and video in public areas should be legal in all jurisdictions (some jurisdictions have attempted to limit this right);
  • The public is the nation's best resource in the "war against terrorism;"
  • Information sharing with the public, as well as crowd-sourcing for information-analysis and problem-solving, should be among the first tools utilized by law enforcement and security agencies, not a last option after those same authorities have "failed." The legacy modes of thinking, and old paradigms of limited information gathering, analysis, and sharing, while always limited in their effectiveness in the past, clearly do not work efficiently in today's environment.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

FTC and FCC asleep at the switch: ISPs injecting ads onto websites

In this era of privacy rights, copyright, and other regulations--how can the FTC and FCC allow this infringement of both users' and web publishers' rights? Based on the following story, and known abuses of video streams by Time Warner and other ISPs, we need stringent, effective regulation of all ISPs by the FTC and FCC to guarantee a free flow of internet data, without interruption or intervention or other manipulation by any ISP. ISPs are just carriers and should now be subject to harsh regulation by Washington after these antics.

How a banner ad for H&R Block appeared on apple.com—without Apple’s OK | Ars Technica: Update: CMA Communications' Terms of Service now contains a section on "Internet Advertising" that is "effective as of April 4, 2013"—a day after Henkel's reddit thread and the same day that I asked them questions about the practice. The section says, in part, that R66T will use a "digital layer which enables aggregated, curated, and created multimedia content and digital information presented in many digital formats" for "the purpose of inserting Information that is informational, promotional, entertaining, location-based, and generates advertising and sponsorship revenue for R66T and CMA." R66T's system is called BlueSky, and CMA has "entered into a contract with R66T to provide the services." (read more at link above)


Friday, April 19, 2013

ECB Survey Challenges Image of Poor Southern Europe

ECB Survey Puts Southerners on Top in Household Wealth, Germans Near Bottom

ECB Survey Challenges Image of Poor Southern Europe - WSJ.com: "German households are among the poorest—on paper, at least—in the euro zone, according to a study by the European Central Bank that adds a new twist to the debate over how far taxpayers in Northern Europe should go to support weaker countries. The ECB's findings, released Tuesday, don't give the full picture of a society's living standards, which are affected by things like social protection and infrastructure as well. It also is based primarily on data from 2009 and 2010—early days in the still-festering euro crisis. Most significantly, the report doesn't adjust for differing rates of homeownership, which is particularly low in Germany. Nevertheless, the report offers a reminder that citizens in some of the countries hardest-hit by Europe's debt crisis aren't as bad off as many believe."


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Obama Budget

For some reason, it's all about the elderly--

RealClearMarkets - Obama's Lazy Status Quo Budget: "What's happening is that savings from shrinking defense and discretionary programs are financing expanded spending for the elderly. As a share of the economy (gross domestic product), non-elderly and non-health programs are rapidly eroding. In 2012, defense and domestic discretionary programs represented 8.3 percent of GDP; by 2023, the administration projects their share at 4.9 percent of GDP. This can't continue indefinitely, because -- at some point -- these programs become completely ineffective or disappear. But Obama remains unwilling to grapple with basic questions posed by an aging population, high health costs and persistent deficits. "

Denial is an Illinois state of mind.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

China Market Model Defective

The Limits of China’s Market Model - ". . . the 10th anniversary of China’s joining the World Trade Organization and seeing China heading in a much different direction than had been anticipated. Instead of pursuing further market reforms and expanding the role of private enterprise, China had turned back to state-owned enterprise and begun strong-arming multinationals to hand over their most advanced technology to their state-owned business partners. I wanted to dig deeper into this situation while stepping back to look at the overall picture of where China had come from and where the country is headed as a political-economic entity. . . In the long run the United States doesn’t need to worry about Chinese state enterprise taking over the world. They are simply too political and inefficient. But as these state-owned enterprises go out into the world fueled by huge subsidies and favorable policies, they will be able to destroy quite a few good companies that are simply efficient businesses. Look at what we’ve seen with solar and wind companies in the United States and Europe already. . . " read more at http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/the-limits-of-chinas-market-model/?smid=pl-share


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Reinflating the housing bubble

GHEI: Reinflating the housing bubble - Washington Times: "The main problems with the functioning of the housing market are the extensive intervention by government on the one hand and monetary policy that keeps interest rates at levels extraordinarily low by historical standards on the other. The housing market is further distorted by the existence of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which remain major players, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which generates a third of new loans, well above its pre-bust and even pre-bubble share."

What the heck--the last housing bubble sponsored by the Federal Reserve and Fannie, Freddie, et al, ended so well--let's do it again!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Why Motorola Is Probably Doomed

Never hear anything about Motorola anymore--are they still making phones?

Google-Motorola analysis: Google tries to pick up the pieces | BGR: "The high-end smartphone business has become fiendishly complicated because Apple and Samsung have sped up the development cycle while simultaneously hogging crucial component supply. Companies like Nokia (NOK), LG and BlackBerry are now struggling badly to reach decent production volumes for key models. Planning a new phone requires a very tricky combination of engineering and predictive supply chain management. Google has driven much of Motorola’s key talent out of Chicago and it now needs to quickly find a way to rebuild what it demolished. Needless to say, much of the top talent would rather work for Apple, Samsung or emerging global powers like Huawei . . . "


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Problem with the US Post Office is Congress

Congress . . . and the Postal Workers Union (nothing like "political contributions" to members of Congress)--

Post Office Keeps Saturday Delivery Thanks to Congress | TIME.com: It may seem like the United States Postal Service is unwilling to adapt to a world of declining mail volume and increased digital communication. But the real obstacle in the way of true reform aren’t the folks running the postal service itself. It’s their bosses in the U.S. Congress. . . . Read more: http://business.time.com/2013/04/12/the-post-offices-biggest-problem-isnt-saturday-delivery-its-congress/#ixzz2QT9PmwUS


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Your Tax Return May Be Rejected

Oh, Oh. . . .

Cyrus Vance Jr.: Why Your Tax Return Isn't Safe - WSJ.com: "The millions of Americans who are rushing this weekend to file their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service will be relieved to have beaten the April 15 deadline on Monday. But thousands of them, along with thousands of other taxpayers who have already filed, will be stunned when they learn in the coming weeks and months that their returns have been rejected. Why would the IRS reject them? Because these taxpayers will turn out to have been the victims of identity-theft tax fraud. The increasingly common scam costs taxpayers $5 billion a year. Here's how this type of identity theft works: The scammer steals an individual's name and Social Security number and uses that information to file a phony tax return. Soon after, he receives a refund from the IRS, which has little reason to question, at least initially, an authentic-looking return. When the actual taxpayer files a return claiming a refund, the return is rejected. With the increasing popularity of e-filing returns online, the theft has been made easier than ever. According to the IRS, identity-theft tax cases have jumped 650% since 2008, with the IRS working on nearly 650,000 identity theft cases during 2012." (read more at link above)


Friday, April 12, 2013

Jobless rate 7.6%, just 88K new jobs

Jobless rate falls to 7.6%, just 88K new jobs--the money quotes--

"The unemployment rate fell to 7.6% from 7.7%, largely because 496,000 Americans stopped working or looking for work, thus leaving the labor force, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly employment report. The portion of Americans in the labor force fell from 65.5% to 65.3% — lowest since 1979."

If only we could get everyone to drop out of the labor force--then the unemployment rate would be 0%.

 "But Patrick O'Keefe, a former deputy assistant secretary at the Labor Department, says the rise in the workweek and number of temporary employees likely underscores growing reluctance by employers to commit to new full-time workers." (because of Obamacare)


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The new minimalist virtual world

Minimalism and the virtual world go hand in hand--

The dark matter of the virtual world: resources — Tech News and Analysis: "It’s because of the virtual nature of connected technology that resources have become so decoupled from digital services. Years ago our CD collections were stacked up on our walls in our living rooms, and our books across our shelves. Now our digital music collections are stored in Apple’s iCloud, or sit on Spotify’s servers and our books are compressed into our Kindles. The physical goods are hidden, and replaced with energy produced by a power plant and used to keep the data center running thousands of miles away, and energy produced at a power plant probably hundreds of miles away and piped to your outlet. . . ."


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - deja vu all over again

With apologies to Yogi Berra--one bubble after another--the result of official US policy, from Congress to the US Treasury to the Federal Reserve (the official "bubble machine") which induces and incentivizes bubbles in the real estate industry and related financial sectors--

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Turn Record Profits | New Republic: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now serve this securitization function by themselves. Before the crisis, they securitized around 35 to 40 percent of all residential mortgages. Now that number has risen into the high 60s. Add in Ginnie Mae, a government entity which securitizes mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, the Veterans Administration and the Farmers Home Administration, and roughly 90 percent of all home loans pass through a government backstop at some point in the chain. This is dangerous, especially if the economy ever dips back into recession, leading to a wave of mortgage defaults. As Fannie and Freddie guarantee the loans they securitize, this would put the taxpayer on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in losses—a replay of the 2008 crisis and bailout."

When will we ever learn?


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Germany - failed technology, corrupt political culture, part two

The new Berlin airport--a technology and political embarrassment for Germany, is indicative of deeper "structural" problems-- " . . . Underlying these problems appears to be a culture of political dishonesty. "Many politicians want prestigious large-scale projects to be inseparably connected with their names," said Sebastian Panknin, a financial expert with the Taxpayer's Association Germany. "To get these expensive projects started, they artificially calculate down the real costs to get permission from parliament or other committees in charge.". . . "The airport is a classic example of the incompetence of our politicians," said Sven Fandrich, a 28-year-old Berliner who works for an insurance company. "We've seen this happen with many big infrastructure projects in Germany. Nobody feels responsible. The politicians are more concerned about winning the next elections than devoting their service to the people." Sound familiar?
  • Hamburg's concert hall was to have opened by 2010. Instead it's nowhere near complete and costs have more than doubled to 575 million euros. . . .
  • Construction on Cologne's North-South subway line began in 2004. After cost overruns and a collapse that killed two people in 2009, officials say the entire line may not be open until 2019. Costs have soared from 780 million to 1.08 billion euros.
  • In Leipzig, the city tunnel for commuter trains was expected to open in 2009. Construction is still not finished, and costs have jumped from 572 million to 960 million euros.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/07/v-fullstory/3328187/berlins-airport-project-delays.html#storylink=cpy


Monday, April 8, 2013

Germany - failed technology, corrupt political culture, part one

The US government has no monopoly on incompetence and ineptness--

Berlin's new airport stands empty, unused--tens of thousands of technical problems. . . Officials can't even figure out how to turn the lights off. Thousands of light bulbs illuminate the gigantic main terminal and unused parking lots around the clock, a massive energy and cost drain that appears to be the result of a computer system that's so sophisticated it's almost impossible to operate. Every day, an empty commuter train rolls to the unfinished airport over an eight-kilometer-long (five-mile) stretch to keep the newly-laid tracks from getting rusty . . . The airport itself points to problems with the fire safety system as the immediate cause of the delays: The fire safety system incorporates some 75,000 sprinklers, but computer programming glitches mean it's not clear whether all of these sprinklers would spray enough water during a fire. And the system's underground vent system, designed to suck away smoke, isn't working. Here, again, technology's getting in the way: It's so advanced that technicians can't figure out what's wrong with it....Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/07/v-fullstory/3328187/berlins-airport-project-delays.html#storylink=cpy

Tomorrow's post will focus on Germany's corrupt political culture which is the deeper "structural" problem behind Germany's technology failures.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

When will the Washington madness end?

Of all the billions and billions spent since 2008 on "stimulus," only 8% was spent on transportation and infrastructure--

Calafia Beach Pundit: Why is everyone so gloomy?: " . . . there was a huge increase in federal spending as a % of GDP that began in late 2008. As I noted in a post last October, over 75% of the $840 billion allocated to "stimulus" spending in the 2009 ARRA was essentially devoted to transfer payments: taking from one person and giving to another. Only 8%, or $65.5 billion, was spent on transportation and infrastructure projects. In the post-war era, we have never seen an increase in government spending of this magnitude. . . . when you consider that the huge increase in government spending was accompanied by a huge increase in regulatory burdens (e.g., Dodd Frank, Obamacare) . . . then we probably have enough ingredients for this to be an important driver of the tepid jobs market."

Stewardship is a forgotten concept in Washington.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Employment--what's the problem

Poor President Obama--every day he looks weaker and ineffectual. You want to "create" jobs? More government is NOT the answer, in fact, it is a big part of the problem--

"As a Realtor, I speak with many business owners every day. Most are not hiring, waiting to see how the new healthcare law will affect their bottom lines. Growing government is not the answer. In Miami-Dade, we saw a population increase of about 10% between the year 2000 and 2010, yet our local taxes increased by almost 70%, which resulted in bloated payrolls, without any discernible betterment of services. Business people need a reliable framework to grow their businesses, uncertainty over more onerous government regulation and taxes have stifle and will continue stifle job growth, not only in Florida but elsewhere."--reader's comment in the Miami Herald


Friday, April 5, 2013

Jim Rogers video: "I know it's going to end badly"

Investor Jim Rogers explains why he's not investing in U.S. stocks right now. (CNBC video)


Thursday, April 4, 2013

GDP: Gross Distorted Product?

GDP: Gross Distorted Product?  (CNBC video) Bill Frezza
The economy expanded at a sluggish pace in Q4. Bill Frezza, Forbes, and CNBC's Rick Santelli discuss whether the economy is as bad as the numbers indicate.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Windows 8 A Major Step Backwards on the Desktop

Windows 8 Almost Not Terrible (video) - You have to do more work to get the same results you would have gotten with Windows 7. In fact, when you search for say, printers, Windows 7 would suggest several things and it would categorize them. This forces you to look through each category. It's a major step backwards.

The 4 UX Principles Microsoft Forgot That Doomed Windows 8 - The Usabilla Blog: "Jakob Nielsen wrote an article titled, “Windows 8 – Disappoining Usability for Both Novice and Power Users” which he summarized thusly: “Hidden features, reduced discoverability, cognitive overhead from dual environments, and reduced power from a single-window UI and low information density. Too bad.”"


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Future of Work--no longer business as usual

Last fall, Ernst & Young LLP, in conjunction with Chicago Ideas Week, launched the Future of Work survey. The purpose was to explore people's attitudes and expectations about the future of our working world. An excerpt from the survey--

No longer business as usual
Where and how people want to work is changing, and employers must adapt
in order to attract and retain top talent. But how? Some trends we can safely
anticipate from our survey findings:
• Workspaces will change. With more people working virtually, organizations
will need to adapt office workspaces to allow for a more flexible and
dynamic environment. That may mean reducing office space, creating more
open workspaces, along with private spaces, and/or enabling employees
to be productive at shared work locations. The corporate workspace will
increasingly become a place for teams to meet and interact, while being
supported by technologies that foster collaboration.
• Technology will continue to transform work. Video chats and virtual
meeting rooms will replace teleconferencing. Smartboards will enhance
brainstorming sessions, and ideas will be communicated through
collaborative digital platforms for further evaluation. Though technology
undoubtedly drives many of the trends noted in this study, it will not
replace what many people value: face time and teamwork. High-performing
workplaces will find a way to leverage technology to improve business
results without compromising employee relationships and culture.
• Leaders will manage virtual workforces. People want and expect more
flexibility in the workplace of the future. To meet the demands, leaders
will need to modify their management styles to build relationships with
team members and achieve productivity in a virtual world. Employers and
employees will need to become comfortable with the idea that flexibility
won’t mean working less, it will mean working differently.
• Organizations will explore new benefit packages. . . . 
• Building employee loyalty will be at the forefront. As contractors
become more prevalent in the workplace, full-time employees may
question their long-term future employment prospects. Organizations
will need to find new, meaningful ways to mentor, develop, empower,
reward and recognize employees to help them feel valued and
sustain employee loyalty.

Read more here:


Monday, April 1, 2013

"There is such a thing as a free lunch"

Obama and Bernanke's Truth in the great New Normal--

Take Everything You Know, And Burn It: A "New Normal" Recantation In Six Simple Lessons | Zero Hedge: " . . . . Lesson #3 Darwin & Schumpeter were wrong, creationists are right; there is such a thing as a free lunch - I once thought that economic growth emerged from the unplanned process of "creative destruction" identified by a charlatan Austrian-American economist named Schumpeter. This was a misunderstanding since wealth and economic growth are both created "ex nihilo" by a benevolent god called "the state," whose role is to stimulate demand by buying goods and services that nobody needs with money that does not exist. This process, of course, leads to an ever rising standard of living. Such truth was revealed by a great prophet named "Keynes" who some years ago endowed a new church and its clergy of "civil servants" who obey the orders of their economist cardinals. Such fellows are beyond criticism as they selflessly strive to improve the lives of lesser mortals. For their service and their abnegation, they are usually very well paid (as the clergy class always is when it supports the dominant political power). They deserve their stipend, or at least this is what they say, and, of course, unnecessary questioning of settled truths can be a bad career move. . . ." (read more at the link above)


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects