Monday, October 5, 2015

Trade Organizations and Statistics

Trade or professional organizations can be good sources for otherwise hard to find statistics on sales, volume, value, industry trends or other news. Many times these figures are cited as definitive as possible sources.

There are organizations for toys, chocolate, automobile salesmen, and so on.

They have stats like this:

You can do a google search for their websites or.....

you can search our database Ward's Directory and be sure to select advanced search and search the Encyclopedia of Associations by keywords. More clicks but better results.

What are Trade Journals?

What are trade journals? These periodicals feature real-life nonacademic experiences of people on the ground in a particular trade.

They contain management advice and hard numbers, among other things.

I've used trade journals to track down profit margins for Alamo Draft House locations, measuring sales from adding healthy items to restaurant menu and the process of opening an indoor ski run.

Use the following databases (be sure to limit your results to magazines in the tab):
ABI inform,

Business Source Complete (Open the source types on the left)


InfoTrac Small-Business Collection  (see below for limiting to trade publications)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Word of the Day: Rentier

Rentier (REN-TEE-AY from the French) is an important concept. It refers to wealth created by control of the economy, not capitalist competition and innovation. By definition, competition would produce lower prices and promote innovation, but the rentier faction captures government and passes regulations to quash such things.

In short, their wealth is an artificial construct protected by law. They may act like capitalists, but they are not. They derive their income from rents, not real achievements.

Michael Hudson has a fascinating article detailing the need to take such things into account in economic models.  Because economists are lousy at predicting human corruption and irrationality!

Here's the introduction:

"By promoting a misleading view of how the economy works, the above omissions lead to a policy that fails to prevent debt bubbles or deal effectively with the ensuing depression. To avoid a replay of the recent financial crisis – and indeed, to extricate economies from their present debt strait-jacket that subordinates recovery to the overhang of creditor claims (that is, saving the banks from taking a loss on their bad loans and gambles) – it is necessary to explain how credit creation inflates housing and other asset prices, while interest and other financial charges deflate the “real” economy, holding down commodity prices, shrinking markets and employment, and holding down wages in a downward economic spiral. We are dealing with two price trends that go in opposite directions: asset prices and commodity prices. It therefore is necessary to explain how credit expansion pushes asset prices up while simultaneously causing debt deflation."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How To Find A Book Video Tutorial

This video shows you how to locate books at the Alkek Library.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Annual Reviews: Bibliographic Essays For Experts

Annual Reviews are a great way to get some background in your topic. They present bibliographic essays aimed at specialists on extremely specialized topics . They are written in a very high level so that's good for graduate students and academic researchers!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Business at the Movies: Margin Call

Margin Call is a great way to understand the beginning of the financial crisis and the financial derivatives that caused it.  Set in a fictionalized Wall Street trading firm, the company math whiz discovers that the company mathematical models are geared to a theory that doesn't match the reality.  The problem is, so many people believed the theory was infallible that the firm could not survive any mistakes because no reserves were set aside (why would you?).

That's the quickest way I know how to describe how derivatives and some of the other mathematical models melted down.

Margin Call features a great cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci, 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Vemma Temporary Halted Due to Pyramid Scheme Allegation

I wrote earlier about the Vemma energy drink business model controversy. A court has agreed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and temporary halted Vemma operations due to concerns about the company being a pyramid scheme.

Read more about this issue here.