By MortazaviBlog on Nov 20, 2008
Michael Porter, the business strategy guru from Harvard, writes about "Why America Needs an Economic Strategy".
His essay deserves a careful read by business and political leaders in the U.S.
This graphic display of U.S. housing starts, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and published by The Wall Street Journal, grabbed my attention.
Real Estate prices are actually a complex non-linear function of interest rates, housing starts, employment, and existing re-sale inventory — and yes, location.
Another Washington Post report ("US Raid of Baghdad Sadr City Kills 49"), published only yesterday, should make it plainly clear why vast majorities of Iraqis want US occupation of their country to end. (For 2-year-old Ali Hamed's picture, in the aftermath, see here.)
From the Iraqi perspective, besides the inhumanity of even a single occurrence of it, the killing is hardly an isolated accident. In fact, the regularity of such "incidental" killings are so predictable that it seems to have been judged by most US media to be no longer "news worthy," and we hear of it not, in the regular course of our life, in this land.
[If you wonder why I'm writing this, see here.]
Last time I checked, the "swarms" for these torrents were quite large, composed of several hundreds. Most peers were complete and sharing, and download rates were very high. So, the whole thing can probably be down-loaded in less than 1 hour, perhaps in 1/2 an hour if the number of peers continue to be large.
I've included YouTube renditions of the first episode below. Apparently, this first episode of Nawaz' little sitcom has become the most watched Canadian sitcom episode ever. The ads are mixed in. (The second and third episodes seem to have been broadcast in Canada but cannot yet be found on YouTube.)
One of my daughters read these statistics for me this Christmas holiday while we were at Lake Tahoe.
US has the largest number of cars per person: 1/2.
Somalia has the smallest number of cars per person: 1/1000 (Or was it 1/10,000 ? I'll have to check when the book returns form my daughter's school desk!)
Source: Guinness World Records 2007.
Guinness World Records web site can be found here.
A recent article offering an alternative view on the situation in Somalia can be found here.
Roberto Chinnici puts some probing questions to non-mainstream English language TV channels. His solution to their problems to break into the U.S. market: Use the web to your advantage to be disruptive with conventional TV programming.
To address the complaint regarding economic cost of bandwidth, finding a way to include decent advertising may prove sufficient. Furthermore, there can be a web-based subscription model that collects small subscription fees (or micropayments) for access to programming. This will work because bandwidth will still be able to serve all users particularly if programming does not emphasize real, real-time news and breaks content into pieces available separately.
Chris Giles and Ralph Atkins of Financial Times tell the tale of two diverging economies.
While there are many "good examples of the new European economy: robust, diversified and able to sustain growth without a US motor...anecdotes cannot supply conclusive proof of Europe’s new resilience," they write. "In recent months, the debate has been fierce, with opinion among economists split roughly equally between optimism and pessimism." Wild differences seem to be part of the common course when it comes to much of economic opinion. It seems that Europe is finding its own internal growth engines, and having continually improved its infrastructure and expanded on trade with others while paying very little military tax, it has braced itself to weather changes.
A similar story by Marcus Walker appears on page one of The Wall Street Journal on December 6: "Europe is Giving Global Economy A Surprise Boost Amid U.S. Lull."
In the meantime, ties remain and mutual investment between the two economies has dwarfed all others.
There is a big difference between bloggers and blogging and professional journalism. For an example, see this video production by two British journalists (from The Guardian) on the mid-term U.S. elections which shows how professional journalists with a bit of resources and a bit of freedom of action can easily outdo any media-caster (of any variety of media) in very good style even if not in the full range of content.
A recent Wall Street Joural article reports a decrease in productivity growth rate in the U.S. from an average of 2.8% in the last decade to 1.3%. While we commonly hear that productivity can grow by the rise in population and by the application of technology, we should also remind ourselves that organizational and process innovation as well as a healthy social infrastructure can also have a tremendous impact on economic growth. Productivity growth represents "a crucial factor in controlling inflation, boosting profits and improving living standards."
Productivity also matters to policy makers at the Federal Reserve. If it slows, the economy's growth potential -- the "speed limit" at which it can grow without stoking inflation -- also declines. Recently, Fed staffers have been nudging down their estimate of the economy's future growth potential, a move that reflects lower estimates of productivity growth. In the current environment, that means the Fed might have to keep interest rates higher for longer to keep inflation under control.