Tag Archives | Economics

The Latest Economic Conspiracy Theory

USCurrency Federal Reserve.jpgConspiracy theories and money go together like … [fill in the simile]. From Bloomberg View:

Friday’s jobs numbers were big, and the revisions below the surface were huge. Yet even before the release, the birther/vaxxer/flat-earther crowd had warned us about phony numbers. As public policy, this kind of conspiracy thinking can cause the deaths of infants and the elderly. At least in markets, it merely loses you money.

In December, I wrote:

Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps that’s overstating it; to be more precise, it is about the conspiracy-theorist combination of bias, innumeracy and laziness, with a pinch of arrogance thrown in for good measure.

I am talking about the manifold ways various economic reports get misinterpreted, sometimes in a willful and ignorant manner.

That column discussed some of the sillier theories from within the darker corners of the Internet. Admittedly, these weren’t from influential people or important media outlets; it was the usual collection of oddballs in tinfoil hats.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Seattle’s Left Coast Formula

Anupam_ts (CC BY 2.0)

Anupam_ts (CC BY 2.0)

Via James N. Gregory at Dissent Magazine:

Contemporary Seattle is a city with a dual personality. On one hand, a dramatic building boom is underway. Towering cranes crowd the skyline as scores of new office and apartment buildings race to accommodate the thousands of code warriors whom Amazon and other tech companies are hiring. Since the start of the twenty-first century, the city’s population has grown by 14 percent and its workforce by at least that amount. Median income is now the third highest in the nation among big cities, behind only San Jose and San Francisco. New restaurants, trendy stores, massive new transportation projects and waterfront developments add to the feeling that a new Seattle is taking shape—a richer, younger, denser, faster city that may loom larger in the world of commerce and culture than the old one. It is a Seattle re-engineered by billionaires, especially Jeff Bezos and Paul Allen.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen: The FAA is regulating business on the moon

Via Reuters:

(Reuters) – The United States government has taken a new, though preliminary, step to encourage commercial development of the moon.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, U.S. companies can stake claims to lunar territory through an existing licensing process for space launches.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”

In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.

However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Massive Worldwide Layoff Underway At IBM

ibm_logo

By Tekla Perry at IEEE Spectrum:

IBMers: Please share your experience with me directly at t.perry@ieee.org, on Twitter @teklaperry, or in the comments below. Keep yourself anonymous if you’d like, identify your job function and location if you’re willing, but tell us your story, we want to hear it.

Project Chrome, a massive layoff that IBM is pretending is not a massive layoff, is underway. First reported by Robert X. Cringely (a pen name) in Forbes, about 26 percent of the company’s global workforce is being shown the door. At more than 100,000 people, that makes it the largest mass layoffat any U.S. corporation in at least 20 years. Cringely wrote that notices have started going out, and most of the hundred-thousand-plus will likely be gone by the end of February.

IBM immediately denied Cringely’s report, indicating that a planned $600 million “workforce rebalancing” was going to involve layoffs (or what the company calls “Resource Actions”) of just thousands of people.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

A ‘Lively’ Day at Monsanto Headquarters

Via Alexis Baden-Mayer at Organic Consumers Association

On January 30, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) joined Moms Across America (MAA), SumofUs, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Harrington Investments and GMO Free Midwest in a protest and confrontation at Monsanto’s annual shareholder meeting.

The meeting was held at Monsanto corporate headquarters outside St. Louis, Mo., in a town called Creve Coeur—which in French means Broken Heart.

It’s a fitting name for the location of a company that has caused so much heartache with its toxic chemicals.

OCA’s mission on January 30 was to let Monsanto know, in no uncertain terms, that its so-called science—bought and paid for with dirty corporate money—is no match for the research being conducted by honest, independent scientists. And that research is clear: Monsanto is making us sick.

OCA launched our “Monsanto Makes Us Sick” with speeches by medical doctors Jeff Ritterman and Norm Shealy who summed up the scientific case against Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup herbicide.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved

Via Sigmund Fraud at Waking Times:

“In prison, illusions can offer comfort.” — Nelson Mandela.

For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the deceptive act is committed, and for the fool, reality then becomes inexplicably built upon on a lie. That is, until the fool wakes up and recognizes the truth in the fact that he has been duped.

Maintaining the suspension of disbelief in the illusion, however, is often more comforting than acknowledging the magician’s secrets.

We live in a world of illusion. So many of the concerns that occupy the mind and the tasks that fill the calendar arise from planted impulses to become someone or something that we are not. This is no accident. As we are indoctrinated into this authoritarian-corporate-consumer culture that now dominates the human race, we are trained that certain aspects of our society are untouchable truths, and that particular ways of being and behaving are preferred.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Illinois Governor Awards Medical Marijuana Licenses

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

February 2, 2015 by Carla K. Johnson via The Cannabist:

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner awarded licenses Monday to dozens of medical marijuana businesses across the state after conducting an internal review that found flaws in the never-completed license award process under former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Letters to 18 winning cultivation centers and 52 retail shops were sent out Monday afternoon, Rauner spokesman Lance Trover told The Associated Press. In eight districts, Rauner delayed the licenses for further review, leaving those jurisdictions awaiting word on which companies will be able to join what could be a $36 million industry in 2016.

“I believe the right companies were rewarded,” said Tim McGraw, CEO of ACE Revolution Cannabis, which won licenses to build marijuana-growing facilities in the Illinois cities of Delavan and Barry. “We’re excited to get to work to bring safe medicine to the patients of Illinois.”

Letters sent to the cultivation center winners from the Department of Agriculture inform them of a number of conditions.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Software That Helps Businesses Rid Their Supply Chains of Slave Labor

Daniel Oines (CC BY 2.0)

Daniel Oines (CC BY 2.0)

Issie Lapowsky writes at Wired:

Steve Jobs helped convince Justin Dillion he could change the way some of the world’s biggest companies do business.

It was 2008, and Dillon, a musician turned anti-forced labor activist, had just launched an online campaign called Chain Store Reaction that asked everyday consumers to write letters to their favorite companies, urging them to eradicate forced labor in their supply chains. On a whim, Dillon dashed off an email to Jobs, asking if the iPhone was made of tantalum, a material used to make mobile phones, that had been mined by forced labor. Dillon never expected a response, but four hours later, he got one. It looked like this:

I have no idea. I’ll look into it.

Steve
Sent from my iPhone

It was then that Dillion and his colleagues realized that his project might actually work. “We were like: ‘This isn’t that hard.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Celluloid and Simulation

832622_56089981252_406334_large

Via Cary Hill at Moviepilot

The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
— Marshall McLuhan

A friend recently remarked to me that it felt increasingly more like his childhood was being repackaged and sold back to him. We were discussing the recent rash of movies, toys, and TV shows based on things from our childhood: GI Joe, Transformers, etc. New Hollywood franchises (including merchandise) are being launched from shows we watched 30 years ago, targeting our generation and our children. Nostalgia is now big business.

So I wondered: If the majority of Hollywood’s efforts are being put to resurrecting original content from decades ago in an attempt to exploit nostalgia, what happens when all new films and toys are based on prior existing material?

Read the rest
Continue Reading