Charles Edison

"Economics, politics, and personalities are often inseparable." - Charles Edison

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Nonsense?" (Pt. 1)


The point is that when two people argue over the one cause of oil price increase, both individuals are incorrect because there are several reasons as to why oil prices rise.

What frustrates me is that some people nowadays focus on the short term reasons for oil price increase or decrease. Putting blame on the dollar, conjecture, and instability puts the issue as a whole in a poor context. It implies that by solving these problems, everything can go back to "normal."

It's time we step back and address the real issue: oil is a limited resource. You may have read about "peak oil" in the article. It was the first time I learned of it, too: essentially, peak oil will occur when the rate of petroleum extraction is at it's max, after which we must begin to cope with "terminal decline." It's a day we have all seen coming, the end of the oil age... but some say Peak Oil has already occurred. That's debatable. The point is that grumbling over the sanctions on Iran and the possible Oil Wars, or (insert any explanation as to why oil prices fluctuate here) entirely disregards the base of the issue and merely puts off the the problems that we will eventually have to face, such as having no petroleum to power our cities, run our cars, make our plastics, and lubricate the gears of the entire economy.

Others that do not believe in peak oil feel that entrepreneurship will be the new driving force of energy production, having the ability to exploit new fields in alternative resources.

You can expect part two of "Nonsense?" next week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Job Program

United States has seen one of the most drastic unemployment periods this nation
has ever seen in the past few years. The vast amount of unemployed Americans
has led to the nation’s continual downfall. Recently, Americans have believed
that we were in the recovery stage of the recession due to how the economy is
reacting, but due to lack in hiring, one can assume that the economy is going
to take a double dip. Even after two, even three to four years had gone by;
there are still people out of the job. Many American citizens have been repetitively
searching for jobs and have failed to find anything until a new jobs plan was
set into effect. After researching what this new job program was, I realized
that it wasn’t even a job yet it was an internship. The creator of this program
believed that to start on a successful path you can’t just immediately walk
into a well-paid job even if you had a college education along with a solid 30
years of experience, you’d have to start fresh and allow yourself to build up opportunity.
So many unemployed Americans were very prideful and would not settle for
flipping burgers or sacking groceries, but as soon as the opportunity of this
internship opened up, many jumped on it.
After reading and learning about this job program, I was able to gain a
firm grasp on what our economy is really going through. My opinion of the
economy after realizing that the unemployment was still so high was that we
were going to double dip and go through another recession but if this job
program was able to expand and spark more unemployed people’s interests, the
United States economy may look at a peeking point in the near future.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Starbucks Discrimination

In a time where jobs are a hot item and people are in high competition for them, it is hard to overlook a job refusal due to discrimination. Starbucks is being sued for not hiring a one armed man in San Diego due to his disability. Starbucks refuses that the claim is legitimate and responded that he did not receive the job due to other reasons, not his disability. Starbucks is known for hiring people with disabilities and that the man's recollection of the interview was false. Pierre, the man who was not hired, is a former bartender that claims the Starbucks manager told him in the interview that the flavoring syrups were too high for him to reach and therefore he was not fully suited for the job. Whether or not Pierre's accusations are true or not we do not know for sure, but what we do know is that people are desperate for jobs and the denial of one over a physical handicap is expected to receive large recognition and bad news for Starbucks if the story is in fact true and he was not hired due to his physical situation. It is important not to discriminate in job hiring. Our unemployment is improving and if people are going out and trying to find jobs, they should not be turned away due to a handicap that would not actually effect their work. This is bad for our economy and unfair to our citizens.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'Greece Can Only Solve Its Crisis if It Quits the Euro'

If you are even slightly interested with the economic crisis in Greece, read this article.

If you are considerate about the nearby future, read this article.

If you need a little push, click here.

One of my favorite points that Sinn makes in his interview:

Greece's creditors aren't entitled to have the debt repaid by the international community. Everyone has to earn the standard of living themselves, and those who chose to make money from risk must bear that risk.

If I understand interest-bearing loans correctly, don't interest rates encode the risk of default? The idea that a creditor may lend money with trailing interest rates and recollect irregardless of the debtor's ability to pay is irritable. That is the entire notion of risk! Likewise, interest represents the opportunity cost of not investing elsewhere. Why is there an obligation to pay debts that cannot be managed? An entire country turning to austerity mirrors a system of debt bondage, just on a much larger scale. While, yes, the ability to pardon debt too easily could limit growth by turning away investors, a balanced between the creditors and the debtors. I should not be able to go to input debtor into a thesaurus website and see it paired with "delinquent."

Further, what are the negatives to this? What is to become of home mortgages that are held by the Euro? And what of the middle class? They will likely be affected most by the currency shift, and their savings may be exhausted, but what of the austerity period Sinn is predicting? There is also a decent chance that a proportion of the middle class will simply emigrate in search of better opportunities. What shall serve as the backbone of economic revitalization without the pivotal middle class?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gas Prices

gas prices begin to rise as we head into summer, the consumer price is going to
begin to slightly rise with gasoline. In January the consumer price went up
0.2%, which is the highest it has increased since September of 2011. As we see
this increase of not only gasoline but as well as consumer goods, we can begin
to make the assumption that the demand of certain goods will decrease. This is
where the market begins to become very competitive and eliminates the smaller
less profitable companies. This is not only bad for the smaller business but as
well as the consumers. As soon as the larger company has waited out the smaller
company’s failure and bankruptcy, the larger business is the only one with the
product now which allows them to "jack" the prices up because they
are the only ones who sell that product. Seeing how the price of gasoline
causes the majority of companies to raise their prices, it seems as if we need
something that does not rely on gas to be fueled. I believe as soon as there is
another way to deliver and shit goods from point A to point B without having to
pay the vast amount of money for gas, then not only will transportation be
cheaper but as well as the majority of all goods. This will better the economy
and the business world. Is there any way for the US to develop such technology?

A Plan To Save the Postal Service

The US Postal Service has presented a five year economic plan to congress asking for their help to get through their financial struggles. The Postal Service would like congress to pass legislation concerning the price of postal stamps raising the price to 50 cents. The Postal Service lost revenue in the past three months, during the holidays, which should have been their profitable time of year. Many people did not ship mail first-class which led to a loss of $3.3 billion in revenue. Congress has been working on plans to save the Postal Service from suffering even more losses, but all plans have faced controversy and have not been passed as legislation. The US Postal Service’s plan would help save them $20 billion over the course of the next five years, but they need congress to assist in helping them save $10 billion. The stamps which now cost 45 cents would be raised to 50 cents allowing for $1 billion to be saved per year according the statistics of the Postal Service. However, the plan also calls for some drawbacks. Many post offices would be closed, deliveries would be changed to five day weeks instead of six, and first-class mail would be delivered a day later than usual. The Postal Service would also like to do away with the federal law that requires that it to prefund retiree health care. However, it would create a new health care plan for the employees. The plan also would create a dramatic loss of jobs for the many people who work for the US Postal Service. This plan, while it may greatly benefit the Postal Service by recovering their losses, it also calls for reductions that could also be less beneficial to the economy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Can you resist "Schweddy Balls"?

If you are a fan of Ben & Jerry’s icecream like I am, you have probably noticed their funny flavors. If not, check out the icecream isle next time your at the grocery store. Half Baked, Magic Brownies, Karamel Sutra... the list of witty names goes on. Ben & Jerry’s has shown a lot of activism as a company, supporting Occupy Wallstreet, environmental issues and other current events. They even celebrated the fight for gay rights by renaming their “Chubby Hubby” icecream to “Hubby Hubby”.
Ben & Jerry’s decided to go out with a bang when they whipped out “Schweddy Balls”, their new featured flavor last year in reference to a popular SNL skit. The icecream is rum flavored with fudge malt balls, staying true to the "mouth-watering Schweddy rum ball family recipe". Many consumers began to think they were starting to push the envelope. The carefree company let it be known that they were not going to worry about complaints and just wanted to have some fun and honor the hilarious Alec Baldwin skit. Mothers were saying that they didn’t want to hear their children asking for schweddy balls. Some organizations tried to boycott and resist Schweddy Balls. Many were offended and viewed the flavor inappropriate.
Despite your view on the Schweddy Ball controversy, there is a lot of respect to be given for Ben & Jerry’s as a business. They started out selling icecream out of a gas station in a small town in Vermont and are now known and loved nationwide. The 30 year old company has grown drastically despite their edginess and risky stances.
So has their gutsiness been a positive marketing strategy? Do you still there no such thing as bad publicity? And lastly-- will you resist their Schweddy Balls?

Other cool flavors include “Americone Dream” honoring Stephen Colbert, “Late Night Snack” honoring Jimmy Fallon, and “Cherry Garcia” in respects to Grateful Dead’s guitarist Jerry Garcia.

Postal Closings Lead to Isolation

Although it may prove beneficial financial to shut down post offices throughout the nation, it will have a huge effect on small towns as well as poor communities who have no access to Internet. While the post office has become a largely negative impact on our economy, for some areas it is the primary source for reaching out to distant relations. In small towns such as Dedham, Iowa , the post office is the only way to send out mail as well as packages. It is their primary source to keep in touch with outside of their town because they have no access to Internet. Without the post office they will no longer to be able to send packages, buy stamps, or send letters. Being a small town of only 280 residents, they heavily rely on their post office. By shutting their post office down there will be a large number of unemployment in the town as well as a large feeling of isolation the world outside their small town. A study has shown that 80% of the offices that are lined up to shut down first are located in small rural towns where there is little to no Internet connection possible and poverty is very high. Imagine a life with no email or instant messaging and now no postal service. This will be a huge struggle for these small towns who have always relied heavily on their services. I agree that the postal service is bringing down our economy, but I believe a new resource should be developed in order to allow these people to keep in contact with the outside world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iranian Oil & Petrodollar Warfare

The US has another potential economic crisis on its hands. This article claims that Iran is continuing it's "attack" on the dollar, when in actuality the Islamic Republic is merely protecting itself from one commenter called "America's super-imperialism." To have a better understanding of the Petrodollar situation and what Iran is doing to leave America quivering, I suggest reading this wiki article.

The Petrodollar refers to the OPEC recognized standard of using only the US dollar "as the world's dominant reserve currency, and the currency in which oil is priced." Now picture every country that imports or exports oil keeping X amount of dollars in a backroom somewhere for Y years. Since most countries rely on importing oil, they will constantly reserve and demand the dollar. This is one of the reasons we can function as a country despite the debt we find ourselves in. All is well, right? Now imagine a majority of foreign countries switching their petrodollar to the petroeuro. There lies a potential for billions of dollars to be deemed useless, worthless. The countries that adopted the new petrocurrency now have no use for the dollar, and can freely sell their bonds, securities, assets, etc., resulting in a sudden flood of US money in the world economy and unprecedented inflation. Game over.

Iran is the first country succeeding at their fight against the petrodollar, and that worries the United States. "Supposedly" the US and friends are merely placing sanctions on the Islamic Republic to coerce them out of pursuing WMDs, but protecting the petrodollar's regime is first priority. We could face the truth: it's unlikely Iran would ever initialize warfare against Israel. They would face utter annihilation. It's also unlikely the US could go to war with Iran given the American public's awakening in the face of media manipulation. We've become much more conscious of the media's bias and its ability to sway public opinion. Perhaps the only way for the US to continue to dominate the oil trade is to utilize Israel to deliver the first attack, then to follow through with the aforementioned 'utter annihilation.'

This article radically shifted my position on "who's the bad guy here" from a "clearly, them" to "nope, us." First off, how is it an attack if Iran is merely wanting to trade natural resources with India? Is it seen as an attack just because of the looming economic threat? If I attempted to sympathize with Ahmadinejad, I would see an otherwise disillusioned man who ultimately wants to protect his people from what they view as capitalist greed and monopoly.

I do worry about the looming future. As justified as it may be, Iran is breaking OPEC regulations by trading in any medium outside the US dollar, which in itself could cause a monumental backlash not just from the United States, but also the OPEC-member countries. In 2000, Saddam Hussein tried to break away from the petrodollar as well. I predict a parallel future for Iran.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken Economy

In today’s economy, chicken farmers and meat producers are struggling to profit in this industry. This is due to the high rise in cost of chicken feed as well as a decline in the demand for chicken products. However, the amount of chicken being produces has not changed that much in comparison to the amount of chicken produced last year. This has created a surplus of chicken because there are fewer buyers than years past. In effect, this causes the price of chicken to go down. People however, are still not buying the chicken, so what could be done with all the extra chicken? The government decided to purchase $40 million worth of chicken products that could be used to feed needy Americans. This in turn, benefits the industry se, because the surplus of chicken will decrease allowing struggling producers to raise their prices and cover the costs of their production. This government intervention has greatly helped the industry stabilize during these difficult economic times. Hopefully, the demand for chicken products will increase over the next year rather than continue its decline. As of right now, the expectations for 2012 are not looking too great.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy awards were shown on February 12, and I began to realize, just like the
super bowl, that this was a time for many to advertise. The commercials could
be doing the advertising or it could be the actual artist performing. I realize
that the amount of people whom view the Grammys is not as large as the group
who watch the super bowl, but on a smaller spectrum, this would give a great opportunity
to grab the audience’s attention. Not only this but after the artist Adele was
given her six awards, the number of buyers that purchased her songs sky
rocketed. This caught my attention because not only did the Grammy winners
begin to sell an abundance of music but as well as the ones who performed that
night. This made me begin to think that if someone, an artist, was to expose
something that had not been heard before, on the night of the Grammys, they may
experience a large sale of their album/song they performed. I mean i realize
that you must be invited to perform at the Grammys, but if the performer strategically
allowed them enough time to develop new music and performed it that night, it
would have a dramatic effect on their overall sales. I am not quite sure if
this has ever been accounted for but if not I believe it may actually work. In
my opinion if I were watching the Grammys and heard a song that was just being
released I would immediately access iTunes and purchase it. If myself along
with others throughout the country did this, the sales would drastically
increase in the matter of hours.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Facebook for Adults vs. Facebook for Teens

A study has begun to discover how Facebook is viewed by adults vs. how Facebook is viewed by teens. Although it would be assumed that Facebook would be discussed as a more positive outlet by teens, it is actually reversed. Adults have come out with higher percentages of having a positive view of Facebook for a resource of social networking whether it be for reconnecting with old high school friends, or keeping in touch with distant family members, they think it is a wonderful source with many positive uses. Teens on the other hand have come out with a more negative view of the website and have shared more negative outcomes due to the website as oppose to positive. They have higher percentages of experiencing bullying, job conflicts, school rejections, and ends to relationships. Teens report that the website makes them feel bad about themselves more than good whereas adults claim the have had more good feelings about themselves and their lives. This survey could be a small detection of a future drop off of Facebook users that are teens and its user majority could possibly turn into primarily adult aged people.

Speaking as a teen, I personally have seen a huge drop off of teen users already from Facebook and a large conversion to Twitter. Although Facebook has its positives and negatives, I think teens simply become bored and are always looking for new things. No matter how many updates a social network may make, teens are always looking for something cooler, newer, and preferably undiscovered. Unfortunately, bullying may never have an end brought to it no matter what social network is created, but depanding on how big of an issue it becomes it could play a major role in the popularity of a site increasing the demand for access to the network.

Cali Beaches

I just read a very intriguing article on Drudge Report. This week, LA county raised the fine to $1,000 for throwing frisbees or footballs on the beach. In this ordinance, they clarify all activities that could potentially “disrupt the public.” This new law also restricts beach-goers from digging a hole deeper or wider than 18 inches. I find this all a bit ridiculous. $1,000 is a big fine for something not as big of a deal. I think it was in place for crowded beach areas because some people don’t have enough respect to consider the people around them, but I don’t think that the government should be able to regulate the size of your sandcastle. If you are playing catch and your ball hits a kid, I think the person with the ball should be liable because it was their fault. But I couldn’t imagine going to the beach and not being able to those prototypical beach activities like throwing a football or burying people in the sand. Also, what I find even sillier is that your allowed to play with volleyballs and beach balls all you want. Is this a way for California to bring in some money, or is it an actual problem that needs to be diminished by adding on this hefty fine?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Day Without a Mexican

The relatively new anti-immigration law in Alabama, HB 56, has caused much controversy. This article in the Atlantic Wire brings to our attention how harsher anti-immigration laws have backfired on the state’s economy. As the growing season draws near, farmers find themselves running short on field hands despite the state’s 9.3% unemployment. Alabama simply cannot find anyone willing to work for the wage they’re offering, except prisoners. The article doesn’t mention if the prisoners are even willing to work in the fields, and I doubt they will have the same level of carefulness and ambition that is seen in the migrant workers. In addition to that, everyone who was at one time willing to work for a fair wage most likely left when Alabama turned a blind eye to the larger agricultural businesses paying illegal immigrants $0.25 an hour.

We cannot expect an exodus from the cities and suburbs to the rural farmlands of Alabama just to rebuild the employment infrastructure. Those with jobs will prefer them over the arduous tasks of field work, and some unemployed simply lack the will to work long shifts for two week periods for mediocre payment. It seems that they take city-dwellers, throw them into a field, and expect a full day’s work. This may fail, but perhaps that is what they intend: maybe then things will return to the way they were. Americans incessantly complain about the fairness of hiring illegal immigrants over citizens, but when it comes time for them to step up and actually perform labor, we call a sick day. Finally, this article appears to imply that only a migrant worker can pick crops, when in reality it’s a skilled occupation that requires experience, endurance, and patience… three facets lacking in the modern day workforce.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Entertainment Industry

Often, I wonder what kind of effect the entertainment industry has on our economy. The film entertainment industry is growing very rapidly and actually fuels our economy because it creates jobs. In addition to that it promotes nations and services and encourages people to buy products. Movies also can have an impact on society’s behavior. Movies send out positive and negative messages that spark ideas and interests into people. How could any society thrive without ideas and interests? In addition to the motivation it gives people, this industry also keeps people spending money. However, at the same time as people choose to spend less money on entertainment, the industry must make certain budget cuts producing less quality entertainment. Even though people have been spending less money on movies, games, etc, many still view this type of entertainment less costly then a vacation, or a trip to a theme park. Thus, the industry is still bringing in money and helping the economy grow. Also, with technology developing more quickly many people are helping the home entertainment industry. When more people buy TVs then more people will have access to advertising from other industries. The entertainment industry has a great effect on our economy as a whole.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Many believe that the market failures are the reasons for our drastic economic problems. But markets don’t “fail.” They respond rationally, quickly and often brutally to the conditions in which they are in. If they see a shortage of supply or an excess of demand, they’ll drive prices higher. Conversely, excess supply or falling demand drives prices lower. If you’re looking for someone to blame, examine why supply is constricted or inflated or why demand is stifled or encouraged. But don’t blame the markets for responding accordingly. For example, the onset of the financial crisis three or four years ago was largely due in the US and the UK to excessive demand for mortgages from people who couldn’t afford them. In the US, this was driven by government mandates to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do just that – pump up demand for housing. In the UK, tight restrictions on construction limited supply to a market that quite rationally came to believe home ownership was a sound substitute for more productive investment. The logical response by the markets was to divert money to housing, just as the politicians wanted. As soon as this folly became apparent, the banks bailed out as did the humble folk queue outside branches of Northern Rock, much to the dismay of policymakers. This is why I believe in the strong theory that no market is at a failing point but yet the harsh societal conditions don’t allow for a market to become anything more than a failure.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mini Cows

As the baby boomers are hitting an age for retirement, small acreage hobby farms are growing in popularity. The availability for land in the states has declined, though the demand is increasing as the baby boomers are retiring. This is a reason why miniature cattle are growing in popularity. Today, the average cow weighs 1300 lbs at the time of slaughter, and 2 cattle require 5 acres of land. The mini cow cannot be taller than 42 inches and weighs 500-700 lbs when its 3 years old. They can be utilitized for the same uses as their full sized counterparts, while being higher income. Mini cows are more efficient because they consume 50% less food than normal cattle, produce high quality, tasteful and tender meat, have 45% less body fat and have better proportions of the best cuts of meat- the mini cow’s ribeye is 50% larger than a normal cows! Mini cows are easier to raise because they are gentle, and can easily be produced hormone-free. They are easier and more desirable for meat production, dairy production and breeding because of their size. Mini cows have a lower total maintenance cost and are overall higher income because of their efficiency, even though they start at a whopping $1000 as calves. They are becoming more and more desirable, and the demand is rising 20% a year. They are ideal for 3rd world countries and poverty stricken areas, and are also becoming pets for the rich. For another added bonus, they are absolutely adorable.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Endangered Seal Shootings

There has been a serious issue of different seal breed's washing up on shores with bullets in them. The seals are already on the endangered list and with an occurrence of already 8 found on shores their numbers continue to dwindle. Their endangerment is due to a contamination in the water as well as over fishing of seals as well as multiple other sea animals. Seals are fished for use of their delicate skin. Their skin serves as a popular leather used for wallets, purses, and multiple other objects due to its extreme softness as well as durability. Seals play an important role in sea life by serving as both a predator and a prey. Without the seal, there would be a surplus of fish and a lack of food source for animals such as the arctic fox and polar bear. There is a high demand for seals' safety and if they had not been on the endangered list, this occurrence of seal shootings may have been over looked. It is a shame that these precious animals are being treated so wrongly and even worse that more seals are popping up dead on shores. These occurrences have only been a problem in Washington state ,but it is important it is looked into now and that a stop is put to it before the problem grows on a larger scale. It is extremely important we respect our environment. If we do not, our list of natural demands will run dry and we will be without several vital products from our world that we will not be capable of recreating.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Really Simple Theory

Breaking News: Intelligent people will work in fields that promise higher wages.

The increasing number of post-grads entering fields like finance, equity, mgmt., and similar careers is one of the many problems the United States is facing. Jobs will not be created by lawyers, or through financing and leasing. We see consistent growth rates in our economy, yet lack the manufacturing to back it up. Fortune 500 companies are investing more into financial expansion over industrial expansion, eventually accumulating into a generation of managers and money-pushers without the potential to manufacture. The Steve Jobs age of investing, when businesses would continually invest into "the next big thing," is over. Knowledge & service careers will not stimulate growth, and a surplus of MBA degree holders means the demand for those workers will decrease. Still, this is a realistic take on the situation: entrepreneurship is truly difficult, and paying off student loans is a priority for many. Those that become engineers and mathematicians are passionate about their college courses, but the bright students with no concrete goal for the upcoming years will generally pursue a job that can immediately provide a steady income. What really surprises me is the number of students that decide to pursue careers in law or finance when the job market for these positions is incredibly narrow. "Consulting" careers are not an immediate hire, either, as I doubt an aging business executive wants to take advice from some newly graduated punk who had a Philosophy professor who "totally opened their mind last spring." It's borderline foolish to pursue high tuition rates and self-destructive student loans when there's a slim chance of securing a job.