Are We Becoming a Nation of George Costanzas?

By Barry Brownstein – Re-Blogged From The Foundation for Economic Education

George Costanza, a fictional character in Seinfeld, might be the most miserable, complaining “victim” in television history.

George is a pro at shirking responsibility, making excuses, and blaming other people. He is an amateur at adding value in the workplace. 

It has been almost 25 years since NBC first broadcast an episode of Seinfeld titled “The Revenge.” George rashly tells off his boss and quits his job. Later that day, he sits in Jerry’s apartment lamenting over his future job prospects. Jerry gently probes George about his interests. “I like sports,” George replies, and muses of being a general manager or an announcer. When Jerry points out that he has no qualifications for those jobs, George retorts, “Well, that’s really not fair.”

A Distorted View of Fairness

Starting at the top of any profession isn’t an option, but George doesn’t understand that. He schemes how to get ahead and lacks all initiative to do actual work.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Climate and Human Civilization Over the Last 18,000 Years

By Andy May – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

This is an updated timeline of climatic events and human history for the last 18,000 years. The original timeline was posted in 2013. The updated full size (Ansi E size or 34×44 inches) Adobe Reader version 8 PDF can be downloaded here or by clicking on Figure 1. It prints pretty well on 11×17 inch paper and very well on 17×22 inch paper or larger. To see the timeline in full resolution or to print it, you must download it. It is not copyrighted, but please acknowledge the author if you use it.

climate-human-civilization

Figure 1 -click for a much larger, printable poster (PDF)

References to the images and data are given in this essay as hyperlinks. I’ve done my best to verify the accuracy of the content by checking multiple sources. When references had different dates for the same event, I chose the most commonly cited date or the most prestigious source. All dates (except some in the modern era) are given as “BP” or before the year 2000 for simplicity, using 1950 (the radiocarbon zero) was too cumbersome.

Continue reading

France imposes Soviet Style Movement Restrictions on Climate Activists

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWiththat.com

France embracing Soviet Style Abuse of Due Process

France has arbitrarily imposed Soviet style movement restrictions on a number of climate activists. French Authorities claim this measure is necessary, to reduce the risk of public disorder during the COP21 conference.

France embracing Soviet Style Abuse of Due Process

According to the Australian ABC;

French climate change activists have been placed under house arrest ahead of the opening of the UN climate change conference in Paris.

Public demonstrations are banned in France under the state of emergency that was declared after the Paris terrorist attacks two week ago, in which 130 people were killed.

Green groups have described the move as “an abuse of power” but the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the activists were suspected of planning violent protests.

“These 24 people have been placed under house arrest because they have been violent during demonstrations in the past and because they have said they would not respect the state of emergency,” he said.

Continue reading

Welcome To The Currency War, Part 20: Corporate Profits Head South, Stock Prices To Follow?

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

A too-strong currency is, in theory, supposed to make it harder to sell things to cheap-currency countries, thus crimping corporate profits and by implication pretty much everything else.

The US dollar has been rising against the rest of the world for over a year, so let’s see how we’re doing. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Falling Corporate Profits Blur U.S. Growth Outlook

Profits at U.S. companies during the third quarter posted their largest annual decline since the recession, underscoring the competitive pressure from a strong dollar and weak global demand that could limit businesses’ ability to support stronger economic growth in the coming months.A comprehensive measure of companies’ profits across the U.S.—earnings adjusted for inventory and depreciation—dropped to $2.1 trillion in the third quarter, down

Continue reading

Are Teachers Putting Green Indoctrination Ahead of Education?

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

[US results also were mediocre, compared with other countries, especially Asian countries. -Bob]

There have been a number of stories recently about how Australian schools are doing wonderful things. Sadly, few of these wonderful things seem to involve educating the nation’s children.

According to Australian SBS;

Australian schools going green to combat climate change

A trial program is hoping to shine the spotlight on schools and show them how they can help to combat climate change.

A Perth high school was the first in Australia to be accredited carbon neutral, but the school still wants to do more.

South Fremantle Senior High School in Perth’s south signed up to the Low Carbon Schools Pilot Program to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Fifteen-year-old Taylah Kippo told SBS News the time to act on climate change was now.

She said she was worried about her own generation, but also the ones after.

“You see the effects of climate change every day in our life now at the moment,” she said.

“You see it in many other countries including Australia in areas like farming and many different areas from the changing of the climates.

“It’s not good.”

Fellow Year 10 student Lauren Hunter said her school, which uses photovoltaic cells and has air conditioners on timers, could do more.

Continue reading

Stock Topping Valuations

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The prevailing valuations in the lofty US stock markets are increasingly becoming a bone of contention.  Wall Street calmly asserts stocks are reasonably valued, since it has a huge vested interest in keeping people fully-invested.  But with valuations soaring following a massive rally and weak third-quarter earnings season, they are dangerously high and portend great downside risk.  Stock topping valuations abound.

Since investing is all about buying low then selling high, the price paid for any investment is everything.  Buy good companies at cheap prices, and you’ll multiply your wealth over time.  But buying those very same good companies at expensive prices radically stunts future gains.  While cheap investments have great potential to soar as traders recognize their inherent value, expensive ones have already exhausted their upside.

And it’s valuations, not absolute stock prices, that define cheap and expensive.  Valuations are where stock prices are trading relative to their underlying corporate earnings streams.  The less investors pay in terms of stock price for each dollar of profits, the greater their ultimate returns.  Valuations are most often expressed in price-to-earnings-ratio terms, with stock prices divided by underlying corporate earnings per share.

This concept is so easy to understand, yet the vast majority of investors ignore it.  Imagine purchasing a house for a rental property that has expected annual rental income of $30k.  How much would you be willing to pay for it?  If you can get it for $210k, 7x earnings, it will pay for itself in just 7 years.  That’s a great deal.  But if that same house is priced at $630k, 21x, it will take far too long just to recoup the initial cost.

Continue reading

The Truth About GDP

By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

“I can prove anything by statistics except the truth” – George Canning

Canning’s aphorism is as valid today as when he was Britain’s Prime Minister in 1817. Unfortunately, his wisdom is ignored completely by mainstream economists. Nowhere is this error more important than in defining economic activity, where the abuse of statistics is taken to levels that would have even surprised Canning.

Today we describe the economy as being in one of two states, growth or recession. We arrive at a judgment of its condition by taking the sum total of the transactions selected by statisticians and then deflating this total by a rate of inflation devised by them under direct or indirect political direction. Nominal gross domestic product is created and thereby adjusted and termed real GDP.

The errors in the method encourage a bias towards a general increase in the GDP trend by under-recording the rate of price inflation. From here it is a short step to associate rising prices only with an increase in economic activity. It also follows, based on these assumptions, that falling prices are to be avoided at all costs.

Assumptions, assumptions, all are assumptions. They lead to a ridiculous conclusion, that falling prices are evidence of falling demand, recession or even depression. Another of Canning’s aphorisms was that there is nothing so sublime as the truth. There’s no sublimity here. If there was, the improvement in everyone’s standard of living through falling prices for communications, access to data, and the technology in our homes and everyday life could not possibly have happened.

Continue reading