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Old 2017-10-10, 01:26   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
You are, of course, aware that Machiavelli and Sun are required reading in business school.
The Telegraph has this list: The 10 best money and power books of all time --
"More than just Machiavelli: the rundown of the best books occupied with power and money"
  1. The Art of War -- Sun Tzu (4BC)
  2. The Prince. -- Niccolò Machiavelli (1513)
  3. Wealth of Nations -- Adam Smith (1776)
  4. The Social Contract -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762)
  5. Capital -- Karl Marx (1867)
  6. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money -- John Maynard Keynes (1936)
  7. Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand (1957)
  8. The Ascent of Money -- Niall Ferguson (2008)
  9. Who Moved my Cheese? -- Dr Spencer Johnson (1998)
  10. Whoops! --John Lanchester (2010)
I bolded the cheese allegory. The Telegraph article glosses each of these and then suggests some contenders:

Leviathan -- Thomas Hobbes (1651)
Freakonomics -- Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner (2005)
Capitalism and Freedom -- Milton Friedman (1962)
The Road to Serfdom -- Frederick Hayek (1994)
The Great Crash of 1929 -- John Kenneth Galbraith (1954)

Life is full of economic challenges and all of these are on the test.
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Old 2017-10-10, 02:21   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by only_human View Post
[*]Wealth of Nations -- Adam Smith (1776)
"Smith need revision." -- Crowe playing Nash in "A Beautiful Mind".
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Old 2017-10-10, 02:26   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
"Smith need revision." -- Crowe playing Nash in "A Beautiful Mind".
This is a cool revision.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrIwI6SUVTo
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Old 2017-10-11, 04:50   #37
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Default Tomgram: William Hartung, How the Military-Industrial Complex Preys on the Troops

This might seem, at best, tangential to the topic. But tthis article traces the various branches of the "DEFENSE" and "SUPPORT THE TROOPS" scams which fatten fatcats, and pay for armies of lobbyists. This sucks off vast resources and funds, (and Congress Critters,) which would create vastly more jobs doing civilian work, rather than building dysfunctional death machines, most of which never get used, and pounding other countries into dust with the older machines which actually work.
Quote:
Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle?

The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n.

Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department's already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in agreement, let me explain just where a huge chunk of the Pentagon budget -- hundreds of billions of dollars -- really goes. Keep in mind that it’s your money we’re talking about.

The answer couldn’t be more straightforward: it goes directly to private corporations and much of it is then wasted on useless overhead, fat executive salaries, and startling (yet commonplace) cost overruns on weapons systems and other military hardware that, in the end, won’t even perform as promised. Too often the result is weapons that aren’t needed at prices we can’t afford. If anyone truly wanted to help the troops, loosening the corporate grip on the Pentagon budget would be an excellent place to start. (author's emphasis)
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/1763...on_the_troops/

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2017-10-11 at 05:04 Reason: adding this explanation
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Old 2017-10-11, 16:18   #38
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I vaguely remember hearing about cans of ground coffee shrinking from 16 ounces to 13 ounces, accompanied by the maker's trying to say that you would get just as much brew out of the smaller amount. That was the first case of "the incredible shrinking package" I recall hearing about.

I used to drink appreciable quantities of Morning Thunder -- a blend of black tea and roasted Yerba Mate. Then, one day, I noticed that they had done a "double whammy" shrinkage -- the number of tea bags in the box had shrunk from 24 to 20, and the amount of tea per bag has also been reduced.

Since then, the phenomenon has run rampant.

A few examples are listed in this blog.

One of the most egregious that comes to mind is Santitas corn chips. I remember buying these when they were $2.00 for a 1-pound bag. Then, one fine day, the new $2.00 bags were shrunk to 12 ounces (now they're 11 ounces). For a while, they had 1-pound bags again, labeled as a "New size!" Unfortunately, the criminals responsible haven't been executed.

Be that as it may, shrinking packages offer opportunities to illustrate important ideas. One of these is percentages. Suppose a manufacturer reduces the amount per package, but keeps the price per package constant. By what percentage has the unit price increased? It's likely more than most people might think at first. I'll take as an example, the shrinkage of tuna cans some years back, from 6 ounces to 5 ounces. Assuming the price per can stayed the same, how much did the price per ounce go up? In this case, it's easy to see that, in order to get 30 ounces of tuna, the number of cans you have to buy went from 5 to 6. So the amount you pay for 30 ounces went up by (6 - 5)/5, or .20 -- which is 20%.

Clearly, the rule is: assuming price per package remains the same, fractional unit price increase = (larger - smaller)/smaller. To get the percentage, multiply by 100. So when a bag of sugar shrank from 5 pounds to 4 pounds, the fractional unit price increase was 1/4 = .25, or a 25% unit price increase!

For a package shrinkage from 16 ounces to 12 ounces, it's 4/12 = .33... or a 33 & 1/3 % price increase.

Another concept is that of "half life," generally associated with radioactive decay. I have, alas, not had much success in finding timelines for successive shrinkages of given items. Perhaps someone else will be able to winkle more of this information out. The idea here is, to use the information to estimate a "half life" for package size; that is, how long it would take for a package to be shrunk to half its original size. One could perhaps then estimate how long it would take before a bag of chips could only contain one chip (at the chip's current size), and so on.

A variant of this appeared some years ago, when a local grocery store entertained the customers in the meat department with tags on some meat packages procalaiming, "thin sliced -- serves more!" It brought to mind the following scene from Mickey and the Beanstalk.

The "thin sliced" meat certainly cost more -- 50 cents per pound more than the same cuts sliced thicker. After some time, they dropped the "serves more!" from their "thin sliced" tags, but of course retained the 50 cents per pound higher price.
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Old 2017-10-11, 20:19   #39
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Coined in 2009, the word shrinkflation is being eyed for acceptance into the Oxford Dictionary lexicon.
Weekly Word Watch: ‘shrinkflation’, ...

Quote:
This commercial phenomenon, selling less of a product for the same price or higher, has a colourful name: shrinkflation. A blend of shrink and inflation, the word pinged Oxford Dictionaries’ radar back in May of this year. As then noted, the word first appeared in 2009, when economic historian Brian Domitrovic coined the term for an economy that was contracting as prices surged – in contrast to the similarly formed stagflation. Domitrovic’s shrinkflation didn’t quite expand in his field, so to speak, though some professionals use another portmanteau, slumpflation, for the economic concept.

Shrinkflation’s specific application to ‘less-for-more’ products didn’t emerge until 2013, some time after the likes of Mars, Toblerone, and Nestlé notably started scrimping on our favourite snacks. The term hasn’t yet earned an entry into our dictionaries, however, as our lexicographers are still keeping an eye on its broader uptake in the lexicon.

One thing’s for sure, though: we may be getting fewer Jaffa Cakes, but we’re also getting more evidence for the staying power of shrinkflation.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrinkflation

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2017-10-11 at 20:35 Reason: s/shrinkflashion/shrinkflation/ add wiki entry link
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Old 2017-10-11, 22:58   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
I vaguely remember hearing about cans of ground coffee shrinking from 16 ounces to 13 ounces, accompanied by the maker's trying to say that you would get just as much brew out of the smaller amount. That was the first case of "the incredible shrinking package" I recall hearing about...
yeah you relate these to non economic areas as well. more economic examples of the first are things along the lines of, if you get a 25% raise what percentage of the hours you currently work can you shed ( assuming similar taxation for simplicity).

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2017-10-12 at 03:03 Reason: Please don't quote at length unless your value-add is comparable.
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Old 2017-12-12, 00:19   #41
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There's been some discussion in nearby threads (e.g. the Climate Change one in the Science & Technology subforum, by way of the outrageous electricity consumption associated with the mania) on the wild and wacky Ponzi scheme that is Bitcoin - kudos to the author of this piece (or the editor who wrote the title) on the 'crypto' quip in the title, and the opening reference [not included in my snip below] to a classic comedy sketch:

Putting a price on Bitcoin - Crypto through the tulips | The Economist
Quote:
The beauty of bitcoin is that its intrinsic value is impossible to determine and that makes any value plausible to true believers. This is not the same as saying there is no merit in electronic currencies or blockchain technology; of course there is. But the range of prices which can be found on cryptocompare shows this is a narrow, illiquid market.

The arrival of bitcoin futures on the CBOE and the CME might have been expected to bring maturity to the market, and to establish a reliable price. But the FT reports that some of the biggest banks including JP Morgan and Citigroup are unwilling to act as market-makers. That is not too surprising. Any market-maker has to hedge its own positions and that looks very hard when the underlying market has such wild swings.

And this is good news really. Bitcoin is moving around so much because it is small and illiquid. And because it is small and illiquid, it is not yet a systemic risk as Sir John Cunliffe of the Bank of England recently pointed out. As such it is an entertaining sideshow at a time when many world headlines are gloomy. The recent weakness of gold suggests that some of the fervent bullion believers have jumped on the bitcoin bandwagon instead.

No one can tell when the peak will be reached any more than they could with tulips or dotcom stocks. Even Sir Isaac Newton was caught out by the South Sea Bubble. People always believe that the latest revolutionary thing is unprecedented and unstoppable. But such rapid price gains always end unhappily. To quote Monty Python again

"Tell that to the young folk these days and they won't believe you."

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2017-12-12 at 00:21
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Old 2017-12-30, 01:50   #42
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Chef Gives Up a Star, Reflecting Hardship of ‘the Other France’ - NYT

Very sad to have one's lifetime dream crushed by brutal economic reality like that - but it sounds like the chef/owner's switch to star-less is allowing him to actually make a go of things. Perhaps he'll find, to use a common phenomenon in programming, that having to work with more-limited resources is in fact a spur to greater creativity.
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Old 2017-12-30, 06:07   #43
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Adaptability is a survival skill.

I do wonder at the "throwing away" of expensive (or otherwise) fish. In a poor region there must be food charities that could have put it to use in a fish stew, or something.
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