College Cost Blues

By |2019-02-15T07:32:09+00:00February 15th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Why does education cost so much? Photo: Al Mare. Source: Wikimedia. CC-BY-3.0 It’s an important question as students await the “fat envelope frenzy” that accompanies college acceptance and their parents fill out confusing and intrusive financial aid applications. Increases in tuition have long outpaced inflation. In inflation-adjusted terms, tuition is more than three times what it was in the ‘70s. A small, private college in Sewanee, Tennessee made national headlines when it cut its total price tag by 10%. When’s the last time we [...]

Getting it Sorted

By |2019-02-14T05:59:41+00:00February 14th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Remember card catalogs? Photo: Mark Buckawiki. Source: Wikimedia I remember going to the library in elementary school. We used to spend hours learning how to use the card catalog system. Every book had three cards: a title card, an author card, and a subject card. The card would reference the book’s location on the shelves, organized either by the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress systems. Those card files took up a lot of space, but it was a lot easier thumbing through library [...]

The Dangers of Competence

By |2019-02-12T17:06:36+00:00February 12th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Have we had enough of experts? Photo: Graham Lavender. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 That’s the cry of populists everywhere. Fed up with self-satisfied elites who manage to feather their own nests even as they run their organizations or countries or businesses into nowhere, the average person decides, “No more.” No more consulting contracts that only tell us more study – with more fees – are needed. No more privatized gains and socialized losses, where taxpayers pick up the tab when pet projects don’t work out. [...]

The Enemy?

By |2019-02-11T07:00:43+00:00February 11th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Be careful how you plan. Photo: Laitche. Source: Wikimedia Sixty years ago, Mao Zedong introduced the “Four Pests” campaign in China, a hygiene crusade designed to eradicate the pests that made daily life so difficult: mosquitos which transmitted malaria, rats that spread the plague, biting black flies, and sparrows. Sparrows? Yes, each sparrow, the government determined, could eat four pounds of grain per year. Birds were the public animals of capitalism. In Beijing, millions of citizens took to the streets or took up station [...]

Dollar Drivers

By |2019-02-11T05:59:25+00:00February 11th, 2019|Global Market Update|

How much is a dollar worth? Photo: Pxhere One of the most vexing problems in economics is accounting for foreign exchange rates. In theory, currency exchange rates should equalize the value of goods and services across countries. That way, foreign exchange rates rationalize global trade and investment. But the volume of foreign exchange transactions is much, much larger than the volume global trade. Currency trading is 50 times more that what is needed for international trade and direct investment. The foreign exchange markets are [...]

An Economic 7-Year Itch?

By |2019-02-07T11:59:49+00:00February 7th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is the economy rolling over? Photo: Alexandra. Source: Pixabay Every so often our dog just rolls in the yard. We’re not sure why, whether she wants to scratch an itch or stretch or just frolic. It doesn’t matter whether it’s snowy or icy or hot or pleasant. When the time comes, she just rolls over and over. That’s how some people view the economy. Conditions could be good or bad or indifferent, but when it’s been long enough they figure it’s time for the [...]

Hacks, Hacking, and Hope

By |2019-02-07T05:45:27+00:00February 7th, 2019|Global Market Update|

How secure are our systems? Photo: David Wheelan. Source: Pixabay Computer security is essential to modern life. There are dark places and dark minds out there, who want to hack into our systems and devices and steal or corrupt our data and our money. There are viruses, malware, bots, cookies, and other junk that can compromise our personal and professional systems. These hackers are intelligent, motivated, and seemingly everywhere. What can we do protect ourselves? For most of us, cyber-security begins with a user [...]

Innovation Incubation

By |2019-02-05T22:33:55+00:00February 5th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Where do new ideas come from? Photo: Aamir Mohd Khan. Source: Pixabay There’s a story about the birth of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. She wasn’t born normally. Instead, her father Zeus had an enormous headache. He implored the gods to provide relief, so one of them split Zeus’s head open – and out popped Athena, fully formed, fully dressed, and ready for battle. Since she came from Zeus’s head, Athena was thought to be the goddess of wisdom and technology. That’s how [...]

Call Home?

By |2019-02-04T06:59:02+00:00February 4th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Remember pay phones? Photo: Igor Ovsyannykov. Source: Fancycrave They used to be everywhere. We would see lines and lines of them at the airport. Convenience stores and gas stations would have one or two. There was an elaborate etiquette about using them, and waiting for them, and paying for them. There was even a business, where people would buy a pay phone, install it, and get an ongoing percentage of the nickel and dime and quarter payments. But that’s all gone away. The point [...]

Our Cars, Our Selves

By |2019-02-04T05:37:07+00:00February 4th, 2019|Global Market Update|

What does a car mean to you? Toyota Sequoia on display. Photo: Johnny N. Source: For some of us it’s basic transportation. For some it’s about reliability. Still others are looking for image, or the latest gadgets, or safety on roads that can be icy or busy or remote and isolated. People insert meaning into their automobiles. Running errands around town a few years ago, I regularly saw a small, green roadster with the license plate “60MPG.” Clearly, that person was concerned with [...]