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Dialectical Materialist

Dialectical Materialist
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  • Apple Could Go Down In The Class Struggle [View article]
    Johnny, they could but it would cost them page views. So don't hold your breath.
    Mar 30, 2015. 05:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple Could Go Down In The Class Struggle [View article]
    So it sounds like the author has a problem not so much with how the Edition Watch will be sold but with the fact that it is being sold at all. Is that fair to say?
    Mar 30, 2015. 04:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]

    I enjoy many of your comments about your light/dark, mother/father, dichotic cycle of the economy.

    My question for you is whether you have ever considered that the length of the cycle might be affected by the geometric speed of change in society. That is to say that since technology (both a result of a functioning economy and an input into that economy) results in increasing speeds of travel, communication, and invention, is it possible that this increasing speed of activity would speed the economic cycle itself? Why would the swings of the economic pendulum function at agrarian speeds in the 21st century?
    Mar 29, 2015. 06:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'The U.S. Is Broke' [View article]
    Lawrence, well said.

    I think the best evidence of all that political power is wielded disproportionately by those with great economic stakes can be found in the TARP program. It was widely unpopular among voters. It was passed quickly with bipartisan support.

    At its best this could be described as what the founders intended: In a time of crisis a room full of learned people taking steps to ensure the proper functioning of society continues, even if popular support for those steps may be lagging.

    At its worst it could be described as a ruling elite acting in defiance of popular opinion to preserve their own wealth and status.
    Mar 29, 2015. 06:43 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Federal Reserve Has Painted Themselves Into A Corner [View article]
    John, what surprises me when people who talk of the need for a "social safety net" is how often it is described without an alternate perspective. In some ways this "net" functions much like a cage.

    These social programs function like a net when they save someone from falling so low into poverty that they expire.

    They function like a cage when they serve to keep those on the edge of poverty just reliant enough on the system to remain in it. In other words the social safety net was crafted in part as a response to the rioting and revolution of the 30's. People were finding that Capitalism may be working for some, but it was not working for them. They were driven out of fear and desperation to seek alternative forms of economic systems. Capitalists threw scraps of bread to the starving masses in order to quell their revolutionary fervor. And they called it a "helping hand." These people were caught in the net as much as saved by it.

    So this suggests that, to the ruling class at least, the answer to the question "How much Socialism is acceptable" is "As much as it takes to stay in power."
    Mar 29, 2015. 06:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'The U.S. Is Broke' [View article]
    I think the statement "They are subject to political recall." is accurate if only because it says nothing about where the political power to recall them rests.

    In actuality, only the captains of the system could relieve their navigators from duty if they were unhappy with their performance.

    The idealized notion that the government answers to an informed electorate is not helpful. Political power in our democratic capitalist society can only be seen as the sum of a lot of moving parts. The common voter has some, but by no means the majority of, political power in our country. But if big business are in favor of the way the system is being run, there would be no one with enough political power to recall any of our "central planners".

    Watch the career of Elizabeth Warren for a good thermometer of how much power banks have in our economic system. They'll likely to be forced to accept an additional layer or two of red tape called "oversight", but substantial curbs on their day to day activity will likely go unhindered.

    For good or bad it is not exaggeration to say those who have been financially successful in our country have a great deal more power over its future than those who have not. And that might even be the best way to distribute political power. Or it may not. But the Koch brothers (and the labor unions) sure have a lot more speech in the political arena than I do.
    Mar 29, 2015. 04:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'The U.S. Is Broke' [View article]
    "I think the history of money in the past hundred years or so has been the race to create purchasing power as fast as the world can create goods to purchase. "

    Using your analogy, this sounds like a buffering problem.
    Mar 29, 2015. 02:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Silver Poised To Surge On Big American Buying [View article]
    "How could something that is backward looking foretell what is gonna happen going forward?"

    If I gave you a chart of all the sunrise times over the last three months, you'd be able to tell pretty well when the sun was coming up tomorrow. Backward looking data is often incredibly predictive.

    The fault with technical charts is not that they are backward looking, but rather that the underlying activity is not predictable.
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Plan To Rethink Television [View article]

    I am not trying to be obtuse or misstate your argument to score debate points. You may have a hard time believing that after the way we have apparently been talking past each other, but it's true and I apologize if I have mischaracterized your opinion or struck up a debate where there was none.

    It may be interesting to you to revisit my original comment. I said,

    "I think you need to draw a distinction between who watches the most television (as measured in hours) and who spends the most on the content they watch."

    So I fully understand and agree that older Americans are the biggest TV watchers. That has always been true but is even more true now that younger people are watching less television than they used to.

    I think Apple's biggest opportunity is where the money is being spent, not on where the hours are being watched. There may be some overlap there, but there is also some area where the two are separate.

    You may be right that this product will flop among the folks you describe (though my 75 year old neighbor has an Apple TV and would make a good candidate for their offering I suspect).

    But I started by trying to point out that those who watch all the hours of television are not the ones who spend the most money. All Apple needs to be successful is to carve out a decent market among all spenders and the biggest spenders are a great place to start.

    But again, I want to say, you may be right. I understand your point better now, or at least I think I do, and you may certainly be right that Apple is overlooking an important market in the way they have (or apparently have since no one knows yet) crafted their offering.

    My suspicion is that this will be a huge hit for Apple. Lots of folks want a consolidated strategy from a trusted name and I think this may fit the bill.
    Mar 28, 2015. 08:28 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Plan To Rethink Television [View article]
    >>>> Also, where did I mention "the real money in the sector lies in the 70+ crowd"? <<<<

    I somehow misinterpreted what you meant when you said:

    >>>> The "largest content spenders" for watching TV via cable/satellite services ARE the older folks. FACT! <<<<

    And you seem to have defined the older folks in a later comment:

    >>>> I'm very much in touch with the older folks (70-100 years old) and my opinions are based on the views of the older generation. <<<<

    This led me to believe that you were suggesting that older folks (defined as 70-100 years old) are the largest content spenders. I apologize for my error.

    If you agree that the real money in the sector is not in the 70+ crowd, then the fact that Apple's product will not appeal to them (as you suggest) is not really an issue is it? Yes, I agree.
    Mar 28, 2015. 12:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cook to donate all his wealth to charity [View news story]
    The problem you pose is one of economical models of production. Accumulation of wealth is the by product of participating in our capitalist economy and being successful at it.

    The only other two alternatives are

    1) Participating in the capitalist society but without any success.

    From a moral stand point this doesn't seem any better than being successful since your participation supports the system in which others will succeed and will accumulate vast concentrations of wealth. Simply by being a consumer, the simplest participant of the capitalist society, you are helping to support these concentrations of wealth. (Using your example, this would be no different morally than continuing to do business with a farm that owned slaves.)

    2) The other alternative is to engage in something other than capitalism.

    The question then becomes what other system of management of economic resources is better for society than capitalism? I'd submit Socialism tends to result in stagnation, and in practice it still yields large disparities of wealth and privilege.

    Increasingly centralized forms of government give the rights of the citizens lower and lower priority. (The Chinese "slaves" that you speak of live in a country governed by a very centralized economic power.)

    So one is left with a desire for
    -- a free society of people
    -- whose rights are defended by a decentralized government,
    -- and where management of economic resources is beneficial to the greatest number of people.

    So how does a government manage economic resources and still allow members of society the freedom to do what they want?

    Philanthropy is the bubbling over of wealth in a capitalist society. Sometimes accumulations become so large that they spill back out into the rest of society in the form of charity. It may be a "better late than never" kind of event like the posthumous freeing of slaves, but it is hard to argue that it does not result in addressing some of the pains of those who have accumulated very little (sometimes nothing).
    Mar 27, 2015. 08:37 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cook to donate all his wealth to charity [View news story]
    Lohengrin, you're right about that. But there are some lifestyle taboos that would also come into play, strictly speaking.

    I'm referring of course to his wearing blended fabrics, as forbidden in Leviticus.
    Mar 27, 2015. 01:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Cook to donate all his wealth to charity [View news story]
    I suspect Tim Cook is not concerned with ancient superstitions.
    Mar 27, 2015. 12:29 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Myth Vs. Reality With Apple's Stock Buyback [View article]
    >>>> A buyback only "grows" EPS in the period immediately after the buyback. <<<<

    This should be true, but it isn't. Not quite. When you look at EPS on Yahoo finance or wherever, what they have done is sum the last four quarters of EPS. They have not done the more accurate calculation of summing the last 4 quarters of earnings and dividing by the present share count.

    This results in something interesting. Apple's earnings could remain stagnant over 4 qtrs and they could cease buying back shares, yet the EPS shown on normal financial sites would continue to grow for a full year after the last buyback.

    So you are right, it should be just the quarter, but it actually is the whole year.

    What this also suggests is that the EPS Apple is commonly believed to possess is in actuality too low.
    Mar 27, 2015. 12:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's Plan To Rethink Television [View article]

    If you review your comment, you are the one who cited the age range of 70-100.

    Your anecdotal evidence is just that. I assume you are aware that many 70 year olds do not own their own home and pay their own bills. You are basing your assessment on a wealthy portion of the age cohort. Also, taken on the whole, their are fewer households headed by 70 year olds than there are households headed by 40-60 year olds and the 40-60 year olds have higher incomes on average. So the 40-60 cohort has more members and they make more money. Is it possible this is the meaningful consumer Apple is targeting? I think it is likely.

    I am not so inexperienced to take offense to your suggestion that these people are smarter than me, but I should point out you seem eager to turn an honest counter argument into a personal matter. Why so sensitive?

    I am not arguing for the sake of argument. I just think your assumption that the real money in the sector lies in the 70+ crowd is erroneous. I see you have supported your contention by calling it a "FACT!". I yield to your superior citation.

    Perhaps you are right that this move is a loser for Apple because 70 year olds who own their own homes and don't buy any Apple devices prefer to bundle their cable TV with a landline phone. But it sounds silly, doesn't it?
    Mar 26, 2015. 10:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment