The music industry was the first entertainment business to confront the digital transition, although, as Goldman notes, it was not exactly a willing pioneer... It wasn’t until 2004 when Apple iTunes debuted that consumers grew more and more primed to free music; and after a small bump in sales in 2004 from the launch of iTunes, the declines resumed as the double whammy of album unbundling and a 30% wholesale price cut took its toll. From 2004 to 2014, US music unit and dollar sales declined cumulatively by another 50%, erasing US$5 bn in annual sales.
Many activists are clamoring for a higher minimum wage. That's an admirable goal, but is that where the worst problem is? Even at the abysmally low wages of the present moment, we still have 938,000 people being turned away from McDonald's because there aren't enough McJobs. The real problem is the lack of meaningful work. In a world of machines and social alienation, meaningful work is as scarce as water in the drought-stricken California Central Valley.
Innovative, successful companies are formed due to almost astronomically-unlikely pairings of the right people, at the right time, in the right place. And that place isn't going to be Startup Castle. Promise.
Less than two years ago, the number of smartphone shipments in China soared by roughly 100% year over year, rising over 80 million for the first time. Fast forward to Q1 of 2015 when according to IDC, the Chinese smartphone market - the largest in the world since 2011 when it overtook the US - has not only reached maturity but is now also fully saturated and as a result smartphone shipments suffered their first Y/Y decline, dropping 4.3% on an annual basis. As IDC notes, "this is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined YoY as the market continues to mature." Worse, on a quarter over quarter basis, the market contracted 8% on the back of a large inventory buildup at the end of last year.
Elon Musk, Silicon Valley’s poster-boy genius replacement for the late Steve Jobs, rolled out his PowerWall battery last week with Star Wars style fanfare, doing his bit to promote and support the delusional thinking that grips a nation unable to escape the toils of techno-grandiosity. The main delusion: that we can “solve” the problems of techno-industrial society with more and better technology. The denizens of Silicon Valley are crazy about the Tesla. There is no greater status trinket in Northern California, where the fog of delusion cloaks the road to the future.
In 2003, Kevin Flanagan was an information technology employee at Bank of America. They told him he was being replaced with foreign labor, and he was ordered to train his replacement. After he completed his assignment, he was laid off. Then he went to the parking lot and shot himself. That's "free trade."
The picture of this very old telephone reminds of our “esteemed” Federal Reserve. They really seem incapable of any modern thought. Their parallels to, and fears of, the Great Depression [Former Chair Bernanke], seem to drive 2009-2015 monetary policy. It reminds me of incredibly stale thinking... sort of like their incredibly stale personalities. I suppose it’s a good match for them but not for the citizens of the world subjected to their currently ineffective and intellectually lazy policies... rooted in very ancient [just like most of them] history.
GE stock is down almost 13% over the last 7 years, and this is with record shares being taken off the market. However, Jeff Immelt thinks he has a solution for this problem after 15 years at the helm of GE.
Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.
This great generational injustice is the direct consequence of central banks lowering interest rates to zero and inflating asset bubbles in a corrosive (and vain) attempt to generate a wealth effect of households borrowing and blowing their newly created asset wealth. In an economy that isn't whipsawed by central bank manipulation, the difference between middle class households' asset wealth is largely behavioral, not the random luck of coming of age before central banks began blowing destructive asset bubbles as a matter of policy.
- Saudis keep on pumping, oil prices keep on slumping (Reuters)
- Tenet Healthcare Nearing Deal to Buy United Surgical Partners (WSJ)
- Dizzying Pre-IPO Tech Values Spurred by Rush of Hedge-Fund Money (BBG)
- Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield (Reuters)
- Torrent of Cash Exits Eurozone (WSJ)
- Draghi Cheerleads for Euro-Area Economy as Greek Risk Looms (BBG)
- Fortescue Mines for More Financing Options (WSJ)
- Topix Charts Evoke Calm Before ’13 Rout as Momentum Gains (BBG)
- Again as first reported here: Record U.S. Oil Glut May Fill Storage, Cut Prices (BBG)
- IEA sees renewed pressure on oil prices as glut worsens (Reuters)
- No EU unanimity on renewing Russia economic sanctions (Reuters)
- Tsipras says Greece doing its part in euro zone deal (Reuters)
- ECB Set to Buy Fewer Bonds as Price Gains Ease Crunch (BBG)
- These Americans Are Getting Rich Trading Derivatives Banned in the U.S. (BBG)
- U.S. 2015 profits forecast to grow 1.7 percent; oil, dollar are concerns (Reuters) - in a month this will say "decline"
- Manhunt for shooting suspects grinds on in Ferguson, Missouri (Reuters)
At the end of September 2011, just days before his passing, the company that Steve Jobs founded had a $25 billion cash hoard. Nearly half of this was stashed overseas. His personal share of the untaxed offshore booty was obviously substantial. Did this make him ‘unpatriotic’?
Was the guy who revolutionized five industries and touched the lives of billions of people some nefarious traitor because he held so much money offshore? Of course not.
Prosperity Requires Privacy
It's jolly good fun to discuss alternatives to the doomed status quo, but what choice do most of us have to participating in the current system, even if we loathe it? The lack of choice is of course a key characteristic of the status quo-- if alternatives were plentiful, how many would opt out of Corporate America and the Financial Nobility's manor house of debt servitude?