Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: Nickel and Dimed

So an investigative reporter goes under cover to see how the poor live on the minimum wage. Not very well is the answer in this classic book. 
Link to this review in Dissent Magazine
"Five jobs and three cities later, Ehrenreich concludes that many of today’s jobs don’t pay enough to support one person—much less a whole family. She works two jobs at a time and eats “chopped meat, beans, cheese and noodles.” But in all three cities, rent gets the better of her economy. “You don’t need a degree in economics,” she writes, “to see that wages are too low and rents too high.” But this is a mathematical conclusion, which could have been made with the aid of a calculator. By taking these jobs herself, Ehrenreich is able to capture the material details of workplace indignity."

There's also the random drug tests, mental drudgery and long hours. Recommended document from the deformed economy of the last twenty years.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Financial Deals and Mergers

In Marketline Advantage you can search Financial Deals (which includes mergers) by company or industry.

Search your terms/company and get some results. Then select Financial Deals to the right.

Then look over to the right side of the screen. Even more options!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Few Good Bloggers

I am a big fan of quality economics bloggers.  You learn what the data really means, you'll get great explanations of economic ideas, and also learned a lot of stuff you never knew existed (which you can then find in the library)!  In addition, the best bloggers are not part of the mainstream media, so you will see a different perspective than you would in mainstream media.

In my opinion, this is what makes a good blocker:

1. Devotion to reason and citing sources and statistics.
2. Original thought pieces rather than linkfests.
3. Intellectual openness and willingness to consider other sides while treating then with respect.

Some of the best bloggers are (Their worldview is in parentheses) :

Naked Capitalism (left)
Zero Hedge (libertarian right)
Noahopinion (status quo)
Mish (libertarian right)
Jesse's Cafe Americain (centrist)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bitcoin Criticism

Here's a pretty good summary of Bitcoin criticism from Naked Capitalism.

(Having some trouble linking through to the Financial Times article referenced - will get that going soon)

The growing criticism of Bitcoin basically boils down to:

1) Its value fluctuates wildly
2) It is even more opaque than current fiat of money  
3) It is not anonymous -each Bitcoin contains the complete record of every transaction it has ever been involved in! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CIA World Factbook and Ranked Lists

Ever use the CIA World Factbook?

Look up data like purchasing power parity, growth, per capita GDP, investment, inflation, credit, etc... by individual country or generate lists of rankings.

The link to get rankings is here. Select economy and scroll down.