God is a Capitalist

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

When the market kills

After the market collapsed in 2008, stress killed people according to research by the Economic Policy Institute.  
We’ve long known that a financial shock causes immediate distress. Suit-clad men leaping from buildings were dismal hallmarks of the Great Depression, and soon after a major recession began in 2007, there were notable spikes in clinical depression, substance abuse and suicides...
Loss of control was front and center for the 26% of those in the survey who had endured a wealth shock. They were 50% more likely to have died during the period of the study, compared with participants whose savings remained intact. The researchers statistically controlled for other causes of mortality, such as ill health, job loss, insurance loss and marital breakdown.
Interestingly, women were more likely to have experienced a wealth shock than men, but they were not more likely to die as a result. They were, in short, more financially vulnerable but more resilient physiologically.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Death of retail is premature

Does anyone remember Montgomery Wards? What about TG&Y? Wikipedia has a longer list of dead brands here. That Sears, K-Mart and many other brands wither in retail hospice is frightening to many:
The amount of retail space going dark in 2018 is on pace to break a record, as companies with massive floorplans are either trimming back their store counts or liquidating entirely... Since 2008, commercial real estate services firm CoStar Group has been tracking the amount of retail square footage slated to close annually. Already in April, more than 90 million square feet of space is expected to be vacated, including Bon-Ton's stores, in 2018. That's easily on track to surpass a record 105 million square feet of space shuttered last year, said Suzanne Mulvee, a senior real estate strategist at CoStar. All it will take is another handful of closures.” 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The real Gilded Age - The US economy's best performance ever

Libertarians looking for the cause of the younger generation’s infatuation with socialism need look no further than the PBS series American Experience and the episode aired in February, “The Gilded Age.” A press release described the age this way:
By the end of the 19th century, the richest 4,000 families in the country — less than one percent of all Americans — possessed nearly as much wealth as the other 11.6 million families combined. The simultaneous growth of a lavish new elite and a struggling working class sparked passionate and violent debate over questions still being asked today: How is wealth best distributed, and by what process? Should the government concern itself with economic growth or economic justice? Are we two nations — one for the rich and one for the poor — or one nation where everyone has a chance to succeed? A compelling portrait of an era of glittering wealth contrasted with extreme poverty...”
Jobs were abundant, but employers often expected everyone —including children — to work 12-hour days, six days a week.
Throughout the Gilded Age the economy grew at a furious pace, but financial markets were wracked by instability. On May 4, 1893, Wall Street investors saw much of the nation’s wealth disappear. As many as a million workers lost their jobs. People starved to death.