HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » marmar » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 1143 Next »

marmar

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 69,942

Journal Archives

Bill Black: Free Markets Mean Zero Economic Profit – or a 99% Profit Markup


By William K. Black
May 3, 2016


Open up a conventional economics text and you will be taught that high among the glories of “free markets” is the “fact” that they lead to firms earning “zero economic profits.” Economic profits are not the same as accounting profits. An economic profit occurs when a firm receives greater profits than the minimum required to be able to raise capital in their industry. A firm that receives a profit greater than that minimum requirement is receiving monopoly “rents” due to its market power. Conventional economists used to believe that was a bad thing, but many conventional economists from the right are now openly hostile to antitrust concerns.

One of the paradoxical arguments of conventional economists is that the “free markets” are so effective and speedy in eliminating economic profits that they create powerful incentives not to engage in expensive research and development (R&D), particularly where the success of the project is highly uncertain. The patent laws, therefore, grant a government-awarded monopoly to inventers. That patent is limited in duration, but it has no restrictions on pricing.

The development of new “ethical” drugs, particularly novel ones, is often cited as a prime example of the benefits of the patent system. What Wall Street has realized in recent years is that the patent-holders that develop these drugs present unique profit opportunities for those with a Wall Street mentality. It turns out that those who develop ethical drugs commonly act less than perfectly rapaciously. The pharmacy industry is not composed of saints, but it is composed largely of scientists and doctors who often care about the patient. This allows Wall Street types, who often define the concept “perfectly rapacious,” and a lack of empathy for the suffering of other people the best of all worlds.

1. They can buy the patent rights at prices that are dirt cheap (from their perspective)
2. They face zero risks that the R&D project will fail, because it has already succeeded
3. They face greatly reduced marketing risks because the drug is already being successfully sold and is typically authorized for reimbursement by public and private health insurance
4. The risk of undiscovered adverse side effects is greatly reduced because they wait to buy the patent rights until after the drug has been sold for several years
5. They can – immediately and dramatically – increase the price of the drug


This five-point strategy would seem, from a Wall Streeters’ perspective, to present the perfect opportunity for Wall Streeters to get even richer even quicker through a “sure thing.” The paradox is that it is precisely Wall Streeters’ lack of empathy – their inability to understand how the public would respond to such a “sewer” strategy and their tone deafness in responding to the public outrage that their strategy was sure to provoke – that has been their undoing. ..............(more)

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/05/free-markets-mean-zero-economic-profit-99-profit-markup.html




“Free Trade” in Trouble in the United States


By Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre, Geneva. Originally published at The Star (Malaysia)


“Free trade” seems to be in deep trouble in the United States, with serious implications for the rest of the world.

Opposition to free trade or trade agreements emerged as a big theme among the leading American presidential candidates.

Donald Trump attacked cheap imports especially from China and threatened to raise tariffs. Hillary Clinton criticised the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which she once championed, and Bernie Sanders’ opposition to free trade agreements (FTAs) helped him win in many states before the New York primary.

That trade became such a hot topic in the campaigns reflects a strong anti-free trade sentiment on the ground.

Almost six million jobs were lost in the US manufacturing sector from 1999 to 2011.

Wages have remained stagnant while the incomes of the top one per cent of Americans have shot up. .................(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/05/free-trade-in-trouble-in-the-united-states.html




The next housing crisis is pending


(MarketWatch) Back when the 2005-2007 housing bubble was brewing, photos of impossibly small houses selling for insanely high prices famously made the rounds.

It was one of those signals that you look back on and say, “Hmmm ... that was a clear indictor of trouble ahead.”

So in what feels like déjà vu, it’s worrying now to see a glorified “tool shed” on the market in New York for a cool $500,000. In Brooklyn, no less. Not even in Manhattan.

Here are some other troubling anecdotal signals on the housing market:

1. A major financial website recently ran a guide to the best cities to “flip” houses in. (I don’t want to encourage the behavior.) Real estate speculation via house “flipping” was another early sign of trouble ahead.

2. A few days later, news arrived that home prices in the Bronx shot up by an astonishing 30% in the first quarter. Crazy advances in home values were a signal of trouble ahead, a decade ago.

3. Ads are running on TV for “quick mortgages.” ................(more)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-next-housing-crisis-is-pending-2016-05-04#:bO9xRIG9JX50PA




Google Growing on Fumes: Something Is Rotten in the State of Online Advertising


Google Growing on Fumes: Something Is Rotten in the State of Online Advertising
by Sarunas Barauskas • May 3, 2016


We’re living in the last months of the online advertising bubble.

By Sarunas Barauskas, co-founder at Kalkis Research:


A couple of months ago, I was going through Google’s newly released 10-K filing. The night before, we had had an argument with Philippe, the other co-founder of our start-up, about how ad dollars were fueling a new kind of economy. We realized we had no clue of who was making money, by what means, or how much. I just wanted to understand.

What mesmerized me were the sheer amounts of cash Google (ehm, Alphabet) was raking in: $75 billion dollars in revenue for 2015. For 2016, they’re set to generate as much as the GDPs of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia put together. That’s six million people.

Another thing that was weird: how vague Google was about how they actually made all this money.

Their main metric, the cost per click (CPC), was a nonsensical aggregation of a wide array of user actions, from a click on an ad that could be worth as much as a few hundred dollars, to a video ad that wasn’t dismissed quick enough, an for which the advertising company would be charged a fraction of a penny.

Their SEC filings were full of statements about how Google was revolutionary and unique. They would go to extreme lengths to describe various non-essential parts of their business. But there was very little of actually useful information about the way online advertising worked. After all, it’s only the source of 90% of their revenue. .................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/05/03/google-grows-on-fumes-online-advertising-ad-exchanges-fraud-ineffective-ads/




"The Assassination Complex": Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Probe Secret US Drone Wars in New Book




Published on May 3, 2016

http://democracynow.org - As the Obama administration prepares to release for the first time the number of people it believes it has killed in drone strikes in countries that lie outside of conventional war zones, we look at a new book out today that paints a very different picture of the U.S. drone program. "The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program" is written by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, and based on leaked government documents provided by a whistleblower. The documents undermine government claims that drone strikes have been precise. Part of the book looks at a program called Operation Haymaker in northeastern Afghanistan. During one five-month period, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The book is based on articles published by The Intercept last year. It also includes new contributions from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and The Intercept’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. We speak with Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald.



Detroit: M-1 Rail Center Debut Marks Milestone for QLINE




MI: M-1 Rail Center Debut Marks Milestone for QLINE

Eric D. Lawrence On May 3, 2016
Source: McClatchy


May 03--Racing references were in vogue as the Penske Technical Center officially opened today as a key milestone in the construction of Detroit's streetcar line.

Noting that "we never took our hands off the wheel," facility namesake Roger Penske, who also chairs the M-1 Rail board, described the journey to date and the development potential the streetcar brings to Detroit.

The 3.3-mile line, now known as the QLINE, is under construction, but is supposed to be operational next year.



.....(snip).....

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, said the rail line should be a catalyst for regional transportation. Mayor Mike Duggan said he marvels at the redeveloped buildings along Woodward, saying "the rail line is it."

The Penske Tech center, at Woodward and Bethune, is at the end of the line in the city's North End neighborhood. The 19,000-square-foot building cost $8 million and will function as a storage and maintenance facility and "car barn" for the QLINE cars. It already houses the offices for M-1 Rail, the organization overseeing operations and construction.

Inside, the block walls are painted a crisp white, the floor has a standard garage-floor gray and railings and other trim feature a bright yellow. It has three bays -- one for washing the cars, one for undercarriage work with a 6-foot deep pit and one with a catwalk and 2 ton crane that slides along a candy cane-shaped track for upper-level jobs. That crane can move the equipment and parts into and out of a large storage area on the building's second-floor, according to Rick Evans, project manager and superintendent for contractor Detroit-based Turner Construction. ............(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12203024/m-1-rail-center-debut-marks-milestone-for-qline




This is Why No One Should Bail Out the “Smart Money” Stuck in Brick-and-Mortar Retailers.......


This is Why No One Should Bail Out the “Smart Money” Stuck in Brick-and-Mortar Retailers: Let them Shed their Own Tears
by Wolf Richter • May 3, 2016


The toxic Safeway-Albertsons combo is waiting in the wings.

Late yesterday, Fairway Group Holdings, parent of Fairway Market – an “iconic New York food retailer,” as it calls itself, that had started out as a “veggie stand” in 1933 and now lists 18 stores on its website – crumpled under a pile of debt and filed for a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Almost exactly three years after its IPO!

Bankruptcy rumors have been swirling for a while. The company announced in February that it would need to raise capital in order to keep its doors open. April 15, Bloomberg reported that the company was negotiating a debt restructuring with its creditors, and that a deal was near for a prepackaged Chapter 11 filing.

When the company did file yesterday, it stated that it wanted to “eliminate” $140 million senior secured debt. In return, these creditors would get common equity and $84 million of new debt of the reorganized company.

All of the currently outstanding shares will be cancelled. Screw those who’d bought them. They should have known better. That was the message.

It was no surprise, except perhaps for the penny-stock jockeys dabbling in its shares: today, FWM plunged 62%, from 21 cents a share to 8 cents a share. They’ll plunge 100% from here to zero.

As in so many cases when investors get wiped out, there’s a private-equity angle to it. .................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/05/03/fairway-group-bankruptcy-pe-firms-stuck-in-brick-and-mortar-retailers-albertsons-safeway-ipo/





Google Growing on Fumes: Something Is Rotten in the State of Online Advertising


Google Growing on Fumes: Something Is Rotten in the State of Online Advertising
by Sarunas Barauskas • May 3, 2016


We’re living in the last months of the online advertising bubble.

By Sarunas Barauskas, co-founder at Kalkis Research:


A couple of months ago, I was going through Google’s newly released 10-K filing. The night before, we had had an argument with Philippe, the other co-founder of our start-up, about how ad dollars were fueling a new kind of economy. We realized we had no clue of who was making money, by what means, or how much. I just wanted to understand.

What mesmerized me were the sheer amounts of cash Google (ehm, Alphabet) was raking in: $75 billion dollars in revenue for 2015. For 2016, they’re set to generate as much as the GDPs of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia put together. That’s six million people.

Another thing that was weird: how vague Google was about how they actually made all this money.

Their main metric, the cost per click (CPC), was a nonsensical aggregation of a wide array of user actions, from a click on an ad that could be worth as much as a few hundred dollars, to a video ad that wasn’t dismissed quick enough, an for which the advertising company would be charged a fraction of a penny.

Their SEC filings were full of statements about how Google was revolutionary and unique. They would go to extreme lengths to describe various non-essential parts of their business. But there was very little of actually useful information about the way online advertising worked. After all, it’s only the source of 90% of their revenue. .................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/05/03/google-grows-on-fumes-online-advertising-ad-exchanges-fraud-ineffective-ads/





Are Smartphones Doomed to the Same Fate as Personal Computers?


(Bloomberg) The smartphone market has stopped defying gravity.

After almost a decade of turbocharged sales, the $423 billion industry can no longer count on consumers to robotically upgrade their handsets, putting at risk the fat margins and steady revenue growth long envied by the rest of the hardware sector.

Signs of a sputtering market have been brewing for months, but spilled into the open last week when Apple Inc. reported its first quarterly sales decline in 13 years. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook acknowledged on April 26 that -- nine years after the iPhone’s game-changing debut -- the market had “stopped growing.” The next day, research firm Strategy Analytics reported a 3 percent drop in first-quarter smartphone shipments, the first decline ever.

“You couldn’t help but wonder how long the party could go,” said David Hsu, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who tracks the market. .................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-04/are-smartphones-doomed-to-the-same-fate-as-personal-computers




California: More Than One-Third of Bay Area Residents Ready to Leave


CA: More Than One-Third of Bay Area Residents Ready to Leave

George Avalos On May 3, 2016
Source: McClatchy


May 02--More than one-third of Bay Area residents say they are ready to leave in the next few years, citing high housing costs and traffic as the region's biggest problems, according to a poll released Monday.

Of the 1,000 people polled by the Bay Area Council, 34 percent said they are considering leaving. Those who have lived here five years or less are the most likely to want to leave.

"This is our canary in a coal mine," said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council. "Residents are screaming for solutions."

In another grim result, the number of residents who believe the region is on the wrong track has increased sharply in the past year, the poll found.

This year's poll found that 40 percent of respondents felt the Bay Area was on the wrong track, while 40 percent felt it was headed in the right direction. Just one year ago, only 28 percent felt the Bay Area was on the wrong track, and 55 percent thought it was headed in the right direction. ................(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12202538/one-third-of-bay-area-residents-hope-to-leave-soon-poll-finds




Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 1143 Next »