Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Wednesday’s Business Headlines

with one comment

boring_cat.jpg

Boring cat illustrated.

Slow news on the war fronts these days. Which isn’t really true of course, just means nothing particularly bloody or spectacular is happening, just the usual daily carnage. So I thought I’d take a break and comment on some economic news, a subject about which I know nothing. My understanding of economics usually goes no deeper than “I wonder where my next rent check is coming from?” Nonetheless it appears to be a popular topic with many folks, and it is intertwined with subjects like history and human nature about which I at least know something.

Viacom Sues Google. For a cool one billion dollars too. Yes, Viacom claims that YouTube has uploaded and played some huge number of unauthorized clips. I bet the guys who sold YouTube to Google just last year are glad they sold out when they did. And how convenient that Viacom waited until Google’s vast assets were in the kitty. Predatory capitalism at its best. Most of our copyright laws are better suited to the 19th century than the 21st century, the ease with which things can be copied in the modern world makes old notions of copyright almost quaint. Still, good to see the big boys fighting out out over this instead of going after the individual user.

Britain Goes Green? Britain has passed a remarkably progressive bill to reduce it’s carbon emissions by some 60% over the next forty years or so. It’s a start, though so far it’s just a law, it’s easy for governments to make promises.

More Slumping Stocks. European and Asian markets slumped again, apparently because of bad news on the US front. Mortgage foreclosures are reaching record highs in the US, which has people running scared. Would scare me too if I had loaned money for people to buy housing at incredibly ridiculous prices. It’s way too easy to borrow money in the USA, and a lot of the loans made here are never going to be paid off.

GM Posts a Profit. Well, sort of. When a company posts a profit by closing plants and firing people, does that really count as profit? The American Auto industry is a wonderful example of why America is well on its way to becoming a defunct industrial nation like Argentina. Thirty years after the gas crisis and the import invasion nearly wiped out an industry that thought that 50s eras V-8s were all they would ever need to build…they are still completely dependent on big gas guzzlers and lobbyists for making a profit. The SUV is basically a 50s era station wagon with four wheel drive and cup holders. The only thing modern about the American auto industry is its commercials.

Asian Pollution Causing Storms. Dramatic increases in pollution from Asia, primarily China and India, are making the weather worse in the Pacific Ocean. Another example of how unrelenting economic growth combined with utter disdain for the environment is costing us all dearly.

Trade Deficit Does Something. Actually, the US trade deficit hit record highs last years. Whether this is good news or bad news depends on who’s talking. I don’t have a clue.

Well, two days in a row and the cats are being incredibly boring. I suppose that’s a good thing from some perspectives, though likely they are plotting some spectacular evil.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it is central, sort of, to illustrating the post.)

Written by unitedcats

March 14, 2007 at 9:52 am

One Response

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  1. Hi Doug,

    Will weigh in on a couple of your news items.

    Green Britain:

    Glad Britain is going green, although its hard to imagine an island that size having any real impact on the environment no matter what they do. :)

    Stock Market:

    The mortgage news was no surprise. These always follow a bubble. Of course since the consideration in any mortgage foreclosure is real property its not a huge deal–the assets don’t change. This is the problem with most investors today is they know little about business, and run with the herd at any small indicator. Corrections are endemic to any market.

    GM:

    Margin accounting is what keeps public companies running. Its a fact of life, fact of business. What I find interesting, though, is that South Carolina and Georgia are jointly planning, investing and building the biggest port in the United States that will be aimed at exports. Americans can still compete on a global scale, and markets have a way of equalizing the playing field over time. You can’t play in a capitalistic economy with abiding by its rules, and countries like China or those in South America can only suppress things like operating expenses for so long. Supply and demand usually wins out in the long-run–something Keynesians haven’t yet figured out how to get around.

    Asian Pollution:

    Natures way of just cleaning itself. Amazing isn’t it?

    Trade Deficit:

    Basically the only thing a trade deficit indicates is material wealth and standard of living. We import more because we can afford more. Pretty pure and simple. Rue the day it shifts the other way!

    Regards, Doug.

    -Jack

    bereans

    March 15, 2007 at 12:19 pm


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