Category Archives: Economics

China to invade Russia

There was a recent map published which showed population as area rather than area as area. What struck me was the juxtaposition of China and Russia.

Russia has 16.3 million square kilometers of land. China 9.3 million.
Russia as 144 million people. China has 1,415 million people.
Russia shares a border with China that is 4,200 kilometers long.

When China needs to expand guess which direction they’re heading?

We wonder about Russia’s vast military build up, maybe we shouldn’t wonder at all. Russia’s might to fight the US or NATO or the EU? Naw, they have a much bigger problem south of the border.

RussiaVsChina

With global warming turning the Siberian wasteland into potentially viable farmland. That and access to the Arctic Ocean might entice a Chinese takeover of Eastern Russia. All them resources just begging to be turned into high tariff products bound for the US and elsewhere.


Anti-trust: Bust ’em up, or?

Clearly Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are too big, too market expansive, too monopolistic. Apple less so, but the argument would still hold for them.

Those first three are market behemoths with the power and capital to quash any competition — primarily through acquisition. Don’t like that company competing with your searches, online shopping or online ad market? Buy them up.

That’s how monopolies become monopolies. Price fixing (like Apple and Uber) or price gouging, (like Amazon and Microsoft) which drives out competition (or shrinks the competition down so that they become easy acquisition targets), are all tactics to build monopolies.

The Big Three will get disassembled here in the next few years, no doubt about it. The DOJ, once the IBI* in Chief is out of the picture, will get back on track working for the U.S. Citizens.

But what about eliminating the problem created by such companies in the first place?

The below linked Senate Bill tries to do just that. But I wonder if there’s a simple rule that could be put in place that would kill the M&A practice like the evil corporate consolidation game that it is.

What if we use the market capitalization of any company as a filter to determine which companies can buy other companies?

Surely a $Trillion dollar company like Apple has so much cash they could buy nearly any other company they coveted. Apple Buys Uber and then becomes a massive captive distributed transportation monster. Obviously, we’d want to stop that.

So, at what size does a company become too big to allow it to swallow up competition (or expand sideways like Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods)?

Here’s a simple concept to limit monopolies:
A company that sits at the 90th percentile or higher of market capitalization as ranked on the S&P500 — is banned from ANY and ALL acquisitions.

Right now that would take the top 50 companies out of the possibility of buying other companies. Right now that’s a market cap of about $100B. As this is a percentage, it wouldn’t matter how big or small the actual market cap would be. A simple rule that would severely limit monopoly creation (It might be that the 80th percentile would be better, but you get the point.)

Here’s that senate bill:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1812/text?r=22

And here’s the list of FINDINGS that were listed in that bill:

(1) competitive markets are critical to ensuring opportunity for all people in the United States;

(2) when companies compete, businesses offer the highest quality and choice of goods for the lowest possible prices to consumers and other businesses;

(3) competition fosters small business growth, reduces economic inequality, and spurs innovation;

(4) concentration that leads to market power and anticompetitive conduct makes it more difficult for people in the United States to start their own businesses, depresses wages, and increases economic inequality;

(5) undue market concentration also contributes to the consolidation of political power, undermining the health of democracy in the United States;

(6) the anticompetitive effects of market power created by concentration include higher prices, lower quality, significantly less choice, reduced innovation, foreclosure of competitors, increased entry barriers, and monopsony power;

(7) monopsony power— (monopsony means only a single BUYER is available)

(A) allows a firm to force suppliers of goods or services to cut their prices to unreasonably low levels, resulting in reduced business opportunities for suppliers and reduced availability and quality of products and services for consumers; and

(B) can result in workers being forced to accept unreasonably low wages;

(8) horizontal consolidation, vertical consolidation, and conglomerate mergers all have potential to cause anticompetitive harm;

(9) unprecedented consolidation is reducing competition and threatens to place the American dream further out of reach for many consumers in the United States;

(10) since 2008, firms in the United States have engaged in over $10,000,000,000,000 in mergers and acquisitions;

(11) between 2010 and 2015, there was a 50-percent increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;

* Incoherent Bloviating Imbecile

 


I give you ONE wish

Here are the rules:

You get one wish.

It will come true the moment you utter the sealing spell “that is my wish.”

It must be specific, that is, enactable by an omnipotent being (me). Meaning, it cannot be vague, “I wish for world peace.” (What would that mean? And how would any omniscient, omnipotent being apply that to the Universe?)

It can apply to any era in the history of the Universe; to any aspect of existence, any land, sea, creature, peoples or culture.

Go.

For thought fodder here are a few that you might consider. If multiple folks pick similar wishes then I’m sure they will eventually come true. (OK, this might not be possible, but, hey, we’re all living in a material, I mean, virtual world, right?)

  1. I wish that the physics of matter made it impossible for life to evolve.
  2. I wish that altruism balanced aggression in the natural order.
  3. I wish all planets that could harbor life, did harbor life.
  4. I wish that humanity was not alone in the universe and that we would discover this tomorrow.
  5. I wish that telekinetic power was possible.
  6. I wish unicorns existed today.
  7. And elves, flying dragons, 2nd law of thermodynamics defying physics existed too.

 

 


Here come the choppers

When you hear the sound of a helicopter(s), what do you think?

• “Oh, it must be a Life-Flight, or the Coast Guard out saving someone, hurry, hurry!”
Or
• “It’s the authorities come to spy/harass/nab me or someone I know.”
Or
• Nothing, you never hear helicopters or if you do you don’t even wonder about why they’re circling your home, neighborhood, town.

Helicopters are the ultimate urban assault vehicle. They can spy, (now from great distance), travel quickly without worry of terrain, and carry agents who can be dropped to carry out clandestine, “official” business.

When I hear them I immediately think “GO AWAY! You’re noisy, arrogant, and invasive.”

I wonder what most folks thing about the sounds of choppers? Apocalypse Now? The Flight of the Valkyries? FBI, regional police departments? Or the military (domestic or, yikes, foreign)?

Are we trained through media (movies and television) to worry when helicopters start flying? I wonder if there’s an economic threshold. The wealthier you are, the more you think helicopters are here to rescue you (or protect you) and the poorer you are…

 


Oligarchs are evolution

While watching a In a Nutshell episode (below), I extrapolated the concept that intelligent life consumes all of a planet’s resources. It’s like a machine that eats until everything it can eat — gets consumed. But, the oligarchs know this, and plan for lifeboats which are escape pods shot from a planet’s surface out to the solar system to create, and control, life there.

Oligarchs rule a planet’s resources. They can control what gets built, what gets sequestered, what gets jettisoned. What if folks like Elon Musk are actually aware of this and are planning for humanity’s demise. Not their demise. They will survive. They will rule New Earth. They will control the AIs and robots that create the food and build the starships.

What if humanity actually IS evolving, but not genetically, but financially. In the end, if an apocalypse does not kill off all of humankind, then the only folks who will survive the coming resource collapse, will be the rich.


The Content Economy: update

In the spirit of full disclosure the following sites/services were found which may or may not apply to this concept of the Content Economy.

Some strange ones:

Wikipedia has a minimalistic post on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micropayment

Unfortunately, none of these so called micropayment solutions address the situation in a way that makes sense; which is, to allow content economy participants to both earn and spend from the same account. These solutions get close. But they miss the one massive, all important piece of the puzzle: content consumers are contributors too.

We’re all creator/consumers.

Any real solution should all have a single account into which payments can accrue. And from which payments can be distributed.

REF: https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/the-content-economy/

Additional article on the topic, but one that uses blockchain technology (something I don’t see as being necessary for the Content Economy to flourish):
https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/11/blockchain-makes-online-content-economy-fair-transparent


The Content Economy

If you’ve only just joined us, let me bring you up to speed on my vision of the “Content Economy.”

The Content Economy will be a system of monetary exchange made through micro-payments. But not that micro. A penny or pence or whatever 1/100th of a euro or yuan is.

You will have your content account which you can top-off with $ or, if you’re good at creating content, said account will be your repository for the oodles of AddCents clicks that you will receive.

AddCents is the concept I came up with years ago that I wanted Google to build. Imagine seeing a little G$ next to an article or youtube video. You read or watch — enjoy the content SO MUCH that you want to pay the creator directly — so you click the AddCents button. Ding! A transfer from your account to the creator’s account. (Kind of the opposite of Google’s current adsense.)

Anyway, the idea seems sound. But, Google refused it. And, recently, so did Medium (instead they implemented that silly clap meme). So, what about other, hint hint, content platforms?

If you had a WordPress account that you deposited, oh, $25 into and then instead of clicking that contentious “Like” button you clicked these instead:

AddCents

And you PAY the author of the content, whatever you think it is worth.

You can AddCents to articles, to posts, to comments!!!, to anything attached to a piece of content. But think of this. An author could offer their larger works, self-published novels vimeo or youtube videos, and build a page that hosted them. And then let content consumers pay them DIRECTLY!

Additionally, if you give a great review of a novel — why shouldn’t you be able to earn money for that too?

Effectively, this paradigm becomes a self serving, self propagating economy where everyone can pay for content or earn money for content. Everyone can participate in the Content Economy.

If you like this — send me a penny. (I wish!) Or petition WordPress to implement this concept.

Cite:
https://goo.gl/AuHKV1
https://goo.gl/PaEPKg
https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/google-addcents/