Getting Personal in the Gig Economy

By |2017-07-17T12:21:43+00:00September 19th, 2016|Economics|

Getting Personal in the Gig Economy     What is the “gig economy” doing to us? Photo: Elisa Riva. Source: Pixabay More and more people today are independent contractors—about a third of the US economy. Apps like Uber and Airbnb make it even easier to work for yourself. Uber makes it possible for folks with a set of wheels and some extra time to make money on their schedule, when they want to. Airbnb allows people to rent out their extra room or vacation [...]

Rising Sun?

By |2017-07-17T12:23:12+00:00November 24th, 2014|Economics|

Is Japan in a recession? Source: Wikipedia It is if you believe the most recent news. Japan’s economy contracted last quarter, after falling the quarter before that. Two successive quarters of declining GDP are usually enough to be considered a recession. The bad news led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay another sales tax hike scheduled for next year, and to call for new parliamentary elections as a sort-of national referendum on his economic policies, “Abenomics.” […]

Another Black Swan?

By |2012-11-26T09:59:48+00:00November 26th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update|

Another Black Swan? – Is the world a fragile place?That’s what Nassim Taleb thinks. The former best-selling author and hedge fund manager has written a book in which he divides the world’s structures into three categories—the fragile, the robust, and the anti-fragile. Fragile items are those that are getting along, but break down in times of stress. Robust items can stand up to shocks and stresses without changing. Anti-fragile systems get stronger and more creative when they face new challenges. […]

Getting it Right

By |2012-10-11T09:21:37+00:00October 11th, 2012|Economics, Elections, Global Market Update|

Getting it Right  –  Some people don’t know when to shut up. Five minutes after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its employment report, former GE CEO and management guru Jack Welch tweeted “Unbelievable jobs numbers … these Chicago guys will do anything … can’t debate so change numbers.”  […]

Stressing Out in St. Louis?

By |2017-07-17T12:34:45+00:00October 4th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update|

Stressing Out in St. Louis?Are you stressed?That’s what the St. Louis Fed is trying to measure. Not your personal stress level, but they have an indicator of financial stress across the country. It measures things like the difference between corporate bonds and treasury bonds, or stock market volatility, or the variability of interest rates. Eleven factors are combined into an aggregate index and is reported weekly. […]

A Phony Economy

By |2012-09-14T09:01:12+00:00September 14th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update, Investing|

A Phony Economy – Will the iPhone help the economy? I’m not talking about the improved speed and screen size. That’s part of a general trend in cell phones that has been going on for years. Mobile computing is part of a technological cycle that allows us to work—and consume—more efficiently. […]

Three Crises in One

By |2012-08-17T10:44:27+00:00August 17th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update, Investing|

Do bad things come in threes? The European crisis isn’t just one crisis, but three interlocking ones. A banking crisis, a sovereign debt crisis, and a growth crisis all connect and make it difficult to find a comprehensive solution. The banking crisis is pretty straightforward: the major European banks are undercapitalized and face liquidity issues. This has been an issue for a long time, but it was worsened by our mortgage crisis. The losses that large European banks took on mortgage bonds that were [...]

A Rose is a Rose

By |2017-07-17T12:34:47+00:00August 9th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update, Investing, The Stock Market|

A Rose is a RoseWhat makes a stock expensive?It’s a truism to say that the way to make money in the market is to buy low and sell high. What goes into a stock price to make it cheap or expensive? It isn’t the dollar price: Apple shares at $600 are generally considered to be cheaper than Facebook shares at $20. That’s because Apple earned $42 / share over the past year, has $30 of cash / share on hand, and plans to pay [...]

The Law of the Jungle

By |2012-03-20T03:09:59+00:00March 20th, 2012|Economics, Global Market Update|

Is economics a game with no rules?In college I was introduced to a game called “Jungleball.” The first rule of Jungleball is that there are no rules. The second rule is to disregard the first rule. Sometimes it would take the form of a volleyball game, where some players got onto their teammates’ shoulders to spike the ball, or where the server’s team would try to tackle their opponents from below the net. Other times it would be a soccer/football game that involved passing, [...]