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Tag Archives: economics

The Grateful Dead were innovators in technology and in business, fundamentally friends of liberty

 

After 50 years the Grateful Dead, what is left of the Dead, is calling it quits officially. The music will stop at Soldier Field on July 5th. It’s a sad moment for me as there is no other band I have enjoyed as much over the years. Really no band comes close.

One of the main reasons for this is because there is so much material to discover. There are only so many Beatles albums to appreciate. With the Dead, the albums aren’t even the most important part.

The Dead openly allowed fans – deadheads – to record their shows from the audience. This stood in contrast to most music artists at the time. (And even now.) This openness resulted in a fascinating documentation of the band through the decades. For instance I can tell you within a few seconds if a particular song was preformed in the early 70s, late 70s, 80s etc. and I am no where near the connoisseur that some are.

The band gave the music to the audience for a fee and the audience in turn took the product and spread the word. In time the Grateful Dead, a band which never had a number one song, would become the top earning act on tour for years. (Or close to it.) The Dead encouraged sharing. Really it deployed a kind of “freemium” business model – though they probably didn’t do it on purpose.  The band was (is) a trailblazer in what would become today’s sharing economy. They were 25 years ahead of the curve.

Jerry and the boys were pioneering capitalists. (Though they might balk at the term – but maybe not.) And it’s one of the reasons, in addition to the music, that the Grateful Dead hold a special place in my heart.

Fare thee well guys.

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Obamacare Bonzanza: Fat times in the health insurance industry

So let’s see…Obamacare has infused the health insurance companies with heaps and heaps of taxpayer dollars. Big Pharma has done almost equally as well under the cronycare regime. Premiums for terrible policies – which as I see it could largely be bought for the same or lower prices before Obamacare – are going up.

Yup, this thing worked out great.

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Why the US nuclear industry is eager to save this obscure, government-run bank

Nuclear, though not widely known, is heavily underwritten by taxpayers. In the event of a catastrophic meltdown nuke companies are also only exposed to $10 billion in liability. The rest is on the taxpayers. That the nuke industry is subsidized by taxpayers abroad only makes “sense.”

And what’s funny is the nuclear industry wants to use the Export-Import Bank to underwrite the building of new nuclear plants in CHINA.

China.

Yet another reason to make sure the Export-Import Bank dies.

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Leaked: Obama’s TPP will raise cost of medicine, creates protections for pharmaceutical industry

You’ve got to hand it to Obama in a weird way. He does a good job of placating his populist flank while his administration does the bidding of large corporations. Obamacare is one example, net neutrality is another, the TPP yet another.

One of the reasons we have generally opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership, even though we are big fans of international free trade, is because the agreement is likely chock full of crony deals. There’s a reason why so much secrecy surrounds the thing.

But we have been getting glimpses of the paper beast. The most recent comes from Politico.

Looks like the drug companies are about to have a big (and ongoing) international payday. Thing is this payday comes not from innovation and the satisfaction of customers but from privileges written into the TPP for pharma. At least they appear to be in the agreement at this point.

Obama is arguably the best friend Big Pharma ever had.

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Survey says: 35 percent of Americans would expatriate, 55% of young Americans (Video)

Things are not going well in the old US of A, despite what the official mouthpieces are saying. There is a sense that the grownups are gone. That the thing which makes America, America, is under serious threat. There is a sense that taxpayers are not valued. Indeed that some people resent taxpayers even though the taxpayers are funding the welfare state. There is a sense that the crony class is shutting people out. (Which it is.) That the “you didn’t build that” mentality has truly taken hold in large swathes of America, even while the cronies pillage away.

In the attached video the narrator says that the results of of the survey are “surprising.” I don’t know that they are.

Of course the next question is, “Where are you going to go?”

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Gold, Greece and the end of the era of the central banker as (g)od

“You can run on for a long time…Sooner or later God’ll cut you down…” – Johnny Cash

Greece got “subprimed” into the EU. It didn’t have the credit rating to be part of the euro experiment but Goldman Sachs found a way to make Greek numbers palatable to Brussels (Brussels wanted Greece anyway) in 2000. Now reality has come and Europe’s southern economic headland is disintegrating.

As the author of the attached article correctly notes the most recent Greek crisis represents a transition in the economic narrative. (It’s not just Greece though. What’s happening in China and in South America is also a big part of it.) Of course the Austrian economists have known that this day would come sooner or later. Yes, one can print. Yes, one can paper over an economy for a while. But sooner or later the cracks in the paper mache appear.

Greece is a big crack.

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Obama’s “to do list”.

Hey, he had a good week. Obama appeased both his corporate sponsors with the passage of fast track authority for the TPP and the Supreme Court rewrite of Obamacare. Then he appeased the West Coast folks with the gay marriage ruling. Add in a couple of other factors which we will not comment on and there you go, the bourgeois, middle class, flyover country people are put in their place.

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Crony Export-Import Bank will die at midnight, Will Congress bow to Boeing, GE, the Chamber and revive it?

You better believe it. If they can. There’s is so much money and power behind keeping the corporatist boondoggle going it is hard to see how the Ex-Im dragon could be slain for good. (It can be slain however.) The corporations are for it. The unions are for it. The President is for it. The Democrats in Congress are for it. Many of the Republicans in Congress are for it.

Who’s against it? The taxpayers, a few modern liberals like Ralph Nader, and some scrappy freemarketeers.

But we are darn scrappy.*

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Swindle Alert: How To Spot The Fed’s Impending Bailout Of Europe

How does the Fed get dollars to European banks when said banks run out of dollars in which to do dollar denominated business? Print some new ones, then have the euro banks swap euros for the new dollars. A little of this. A little of that. And presto, mini euro-bailout. (Or maybe not so mini depending on the circumstances.)

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