Well-Off Parents Beget Well-Off Children! – Or Do They?

Children of wealthy parents generally tend to be better off than their peers.  Is this indicative of a lack of social mobility? Or are there other factors in play?  Joe Pinsker has an interesting article in The Atlantic. The bottom line seems to be:
What appears to matter—a lot—is environment, and that’s something that can be controlled. For example, one study out of Harvard found that moving poor families into better neighborhoods greatly increased the chances that children would escape poverty when they grew up….
In short, […]

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Capitalism – To Be Unfettered or Not?

Clearly Capitalism has been the most successful monetary system known to man. Capitalism has raised the living standards of more people than any other. But does that mean it has to be unfettered.  Evidence in the last 100 years seems to indicate that capitalism without regulations is not so desirable after all.  Unregulated capitalism has brought us a serious depression in the late 18th century.  This goaded Teddy Roosevelt to pursue trust busting.  But beyond toning down monopolies, there was […]

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Do Nice Guys Finish Last? Does it Pay to be a Jerk?

This is a classic conundrum. The answer is as elusive as true success in business. Jerry Useem has a brilliant article on this in the Atlantic. His bottom line on what works is this:
Smile at the customer. Take the initiative. Tweak a few rules. Steal cookies for your colleagues. Don’t puncture the impression that you know what you’re doing. Let the other person fill the silence. Get comfortable with discomfort. Don’t privilege your own feelings. Ask who you’re really protecting. Be toughand humane. Challenge ideas, […]

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Income Inequality – Who is responsible?

Nick Kristof has a great column on this.  Some salient points he makes are:
It turns out that the Wall Street bonus pool in 2014 was roughly twice the total annual earnings of all Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage. You read that right: Just the annual bonuses for just the sliver of Americans who work just in finance just in New York City dwarfed the combined year-round earnings of all Americans earning the federal minimum wage……
In his new book, “The Great Divide,” Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, includes two […]

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5-G Cellular Future?

The cellular phones that first came on the market in the 1980s with the iconic Motorola Brick has undergone rapid transformation and now have become ubiquitous the world over.  Starting with 1-G, it allowed for only voice communication. Then came 2-G with included texting. 3-G came with e-Mails and internet access. 4-G currently gives us full video streaming. Well what does 5-G portend?
Rumor has it that 5-G (5th Generation wireless service) it will be on the market in about 5 […]

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Paul Krugman’s Chart of the Year

There has been a lot of heartache in past couple of decades, what with the information revolution, internet access, globalization, etc.  Most macro-economic trends indicate that when the globe is taken as a whole, these are good times, in the sense that more people are moving out of poverty and into the middle classes. Yet at the same time, there has been a lot of angst in the developed world (OECD countries), particularly in the US, Europe and Japan. Why […]

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If Wishes Were Horses!

Michael Lewis has a great wish list for Christmas, as it pertains to Wall Street, in the Bloomberg News. To wit:
No person under the age of 35 will be allowed to work on Wall Street……..as a final safeguard the Securities and Exchange Commission will need to be dismantled, and rebuilt as a for-profit enterprise. So that it might be at once feared and loathed, the regulator will be named “Goldman Sachs.” Goldman Sachs will be paid by the government a finders’ fee, […]

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Wealth Inequality in America

Income inequality has been on the rise for the past 30+ years. The attendant effect of this for such a long period is that wealth inequality trend line will axiomatically follow suit.  Well that is indeed happening. For the first time since the 1930s, the cumulative wealth of the top 0.1 % will exceed the cumulative wealth of the bottom 90% (From the Economist, via Firedoglake).

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Why the Double Standard?

Based on various Supreme Court rulings in the last few years, such as in the Citizens’ United and the Hobby Lobby cases, Corporations are to be treated as individual persons when it comes to political speech and religious rights.  Then how come Corporations are allowed to practice “Inversions” with such gusto?  Will individual citizens, despite living in the United States, be able to claim residency in tax havens such as Monaco and avoid paying US income taxes?  If not, then […]

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Ideal Fertility Rate

Many countries (mostly OECD nations) are worried about aging and shrinking populations.  What will become of their welfare state? How will a shrinking population and thereby a shrinking workforce be capable of supporting the booming retirees? It has long been thought that the “total fertility rate” (the number of children a woman fives birth to during her childbearing years) needs to be around 2.1.  This is because some children die before reaching adulthood. Hence this rate would ensure that every set […]

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