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Category Archives: Economic issues

The yield curve and the coming Trump recession

A Facebook meme One of the first rules of managing your money is never to give, or to accept, advice about money. I’m not giving any advice in this post. But I am suggesting that now is a good time to take a good hard look — according to one’s own lights — at the […]

The global rot of billionaires

The list of things that make American deplorables so deplorable is very long — racism, vile religion, anti-intellectualism, appalling ignorance, love of propaganda, and tolerance for violence, to name a few. But one of the worst vices — taught by their sorry politics as well as their sorry religion — is the glorification of the […]

Apple Pay? Yes, you should …

When I first heard about Apple Pay a few years ago, I assumed that it was nothing more than a play by Apple to insert itself into the lucrative credit card transaction business and extract a cut. To some degree, that’s true. But, as far as I can tell, Apple gets only a meager 0.15 […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]

Old Scotland and the modern world

How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The true story of how Western Europe’s poorest nation created our world and everything in it. By Arthur Herman. Random House, 2001. 472 pages. The title and subtitle of this book contain quite a lot of hyperbole. Of course the Scots didn’t create the modern world and everything […]

Oh no. More low-end grocery stores.

I went into a Lidl store for the first time yesterday. I had no idea what it is, any more than I knew what an Aldi store is the first (and last) time I went into one. I was shocked that this is the way the grocery business is going — extremely wide aisles, not […]

Even crummy tips aren’t safe from Republican taking

We recently learned that Trump’s labor department wants to change the rules so that restaurant tips would belong to restaurant owners rather than servers. Here’s a link to a story in the Guardian, “Restaurants have no right to take employees’ tips.” The cruelty of this is just business as usual for the Republican Party. And […]

Robots and inequality

Amazon’s new automated store in Seattle. Source: Wikipedia Trump voters and consumers of Fox News are having the time of their lives these days, glorying in how their big man is sticking it to liberals, immigrants, and brown-skinned people. They actually feel safer, now that a con man is in the White House who feeds […]

eBay’ing from Japan

Having spent an embarrassing amount of money lately on a film camera, lenses, and other stuff necessary for film photography, I certainly had noticed on eBay that some of the best deals and best prices were from Japanese dealers. I came across a portrait lens that looked so perfect and was so reasonably priced that […]

Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia

Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia, by Steven Stoll. Hill and Wang, 2017. 412 pages. ★★★★★ During the past couple of years, an extraordinary series of books have brought to our attention just what a sorry state the world is in. Ramp Hollow is the latest. Some of the others (many of which I have […]