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  • Switzerland's Referendum On Fractional Reserve Banking  [View article]
    Pater, what do you know about Switzerland?
    "... hodgepodge of leftists, who simply hate banks and capitalism in general. What they really seem to want is more central planning ..." hardly speaks of knowledge.

    It is a 100% US perspective applied to a country that functions economically and politically so differently from the US most Americans can’t even comprehend - even though the constitution is based on exactly the same principles as the one of the USA.

    Would be better to specify:
    - give the group started the initiative, names!
    - what the referendum, if successful, will accomplish
    - what the overall view of the Swiss is regarding this topic

    Most importantly: Would make a good point that in Switzerland, unlike in the US, the people have control even over the Federal Government, and except for an executive order, this being next to political suicide, the outcome of the referendum determine, not some politicians.

    I am Swiss, living in the US for 35 years!
    Jan 13, 2016. 11:26 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Emerging Latin America's Economies And Their Development, Part II  [View article]
    There is one aspect that shouldn't be overlooked: Infrastructure. It's an Achilles heel. There is neither a train system (Europe) nor an autobahns/interstates network. Few are the areas where it's easy to build roads or rails. There are others, like how cities grow/expand hardly with social planning (for tomorrow).
    Oct 15, 2015. 05:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Has Apple Found The Holy Grail Of Electric Vehicles?  [View article]
    Hydrogen has some achilles heels. Fear, even though it's much save than many want to believe. Another is that it's corrosive. Can't just use regular seals and metals. Even though Brown's gas welding equipment has been available for a long time it still lacks acceptance.

    Sometimes it takes someone big to make a move. Remember USB? When Apple put it into their computers, the public's reaction was, typical Apple coming up with their own, new connecter, where as all technology companies said, this is what we were waiting for to start production. 6 month later is was everywhere.
    Sep 2, 2015. 05:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Currency Observations From A 'European Vacation'  [View article]

    you are correct. What I addressed is that there is another side to investment many forget: Gut feeling over quantifiers, and understanding also the environment in which something exists. What did those who funded Apple and the other corporations have to make assessments?

    I have read many articles on Seeking Alpha full of charts and indicators and “fundamentals” and make future projections, without mentioning of “how many products will be sold,” say the customers and economy.

    A now semi-retired financial investment advisor who did his military service in intelligence and was a former bond trader, running a one person business out of his living room told me: "If my clients don’t make money I go hungry as I only charge when I sell for profits. I use the more to write my reports than research computer, and unlike all my colleagues, only get general info from investment papers, don’t subscribe to none, but spend a lot of time reading general papers every day. The mood of people and general trends in economy are much better indicator, and much of how the market will behave can be deducted from just reading general material. The market is ‘After the Fact’, never “Before."

    Naturalists understand the importance of the environment, the outside of the box, but many investors seem to be “stuck” inside the box if historic, not futuristic data.
    Aug 26, 2015. 07:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Buy Avianca Holdings: Pay For The Loyalty Program, Get The Airline For Free  [View article]
    One important aspect was left out: Infrastructure! Till S. America has more interstates and/or better railroads, flying is the only way to move around quickly. As the economies get better, and goods and people move more, this only becomes a greater detriment leading to a greater dependency on moving goods and people by air.

    I am from Switzerland and know what interstates, or the lack of it mean. However, Europe has the railroad. I visited Colombia several times, and what an Achilles heel the lack of the two are, or, the dependency of aircrafts. This isn't going to change any time soon.
    Aug 21, 2015. 07:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Currency Observations From A 'European Vacation'  [View article]
    The best thing from an European vacation and going to local bars, using public transportation, etc, say staying away from the tourist sites, is to get an European perspective.

    I am from Switzerland, came in 82, and what I always see is that here one looks at Europe using American “shades” and come to very wrong conclusions. One can still survive without a car in Europe, hardy in the US. One can always do with on Euro less, but in the US, below a certain threshold one goes directly to “homeless.” Spain and Italy always had a high unemployment rate, thus 8% have two totally different meanings. I was in Switzerland last December and was shocked to see that produce cost much less than where I live here, and a friend who just moved to Berlin came for a visit and had the same shock, how expensive it is here. Europeans purchase items to keep, and usually higher quality, thus unlike here, what looks more expensive is actually cheaper.

    Also, each country and/or region has a different dynamic, and thus comparing NewYork and Miami hardly translates comparing Paris to London or Berlin, and even Rome or Napoli differ greatly from Milano.

    Where the US really differs is that real income has been decade long, and cost of living has progressively increased over the last few years. Medical costs have ballooned and many can’t afford medical care anymore. Hardly so in Europe.

    Our economy is like a toggle switch where as that of Europe a slider, and make a huge mistake with: We are stable and Europe is sinking! All will just perfect till the toggle flips! Willl it? When? No telling, but we are to close to critical point for comfort, and really need to do is listen to our super rich who say: “We are close to where France was before the Revolution, and we don’t like pitchforks, unless we make some changes it’s pitchfork time.

    We also need to accept that we greatly benefited from “to our benefit” for many decades, and this has changed. The world always looked at the US as safe heaven in bad times, but this has changed too. There already is an emigration by many matins we hardly see - been in Colombia for 6 years now, and encountered many US passport or green card holders who moved back home or know of someone who did!

    The best we can do for our own country right now is travel abroad and mingle with the locals. It will open many eyes!
    Aug 21, 2015. 07:28 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Monsanto: A Biotech Pillar Of Strength In An Increasingly Turbulent Market  [View article]
    Fast rewind the clock back 100 years where people still knew from where the food comes, and how it is produced, and then tell the public about Monsanto and say, "I owe stock," the result would be dangling from a pitchfork.

    But today most are totally clueless about the dynamics that has been driving food production for millennia, and there is a Golden Rule of Agriculture: The seed stock that produces our food belongs to those who produce the food. Understood by the poor little farmer all the way up to the rich landowning aristocrat or nobleman.

    Agriculture follows different rules than WallStreet, it works in times of years if not even decades. Monsanto, being a corporation, never has nor ever will have interest to guarantee future food production because no one, be it the investor, a board member, employee, etc. has absolutely no obligation to do so. It’s profit driven. When an Agriculture uses the courtroom and not the support of farmers to have it’s products used, and now we the end user have no say over what we are have to eat, then something is already way out of hand.

    While ethics alone should stop anyone from investing in this company, common sense and logic of "Its my food we are talking about;” When corporate financial interest and not Agricultural understanding with the obligation to feed the nation makes the decisions we are on the road to dooms day.

    Btw, my feet have been in farming and agriculture all my life
    Jul 24, 2015. 06:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Swiss Franc: Safe Appears To Have Become Boring  [View article]
    I am Swiss, and visited Switzerland last December. It looks great, but pitch-forks could come out just like here in the US. When it comes to labor cost, its ridiculous expensive, and most Swiss know this. However, I was shocked that good, except a few items like meat, is the same as what I pay here if not even cheaper! The prices have come down compared to 5 years ago.

    Americans make one huge mistake when looking at Europe, and give one example only: For the most part one does not need a car! If I look at the train/public transportation integration, and the frequencies of trains in Switzerland, and what one pays in relation to what one earns, it's cheap and fast to move around.

    Any idea how much a car actually costs, and better include out time we spend on one as well?
    Jul 17, 2015. 09:18 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Franc Discussion: Switzerland's Currency Troubles  [View article]
    I am Swiss, 65 years old, and I do know what a strong frank means. Most Swiss have long realized that the prices have to come down, and they did. This is recession.

    Why does everybody always say recession is bad? Because I get less interest from my money in the bank?

    Unlike the US after WWII who was able to mandate an overvalued Dollar, Switzerland has no power, and dependent on other countries. Similarly, Swiss made sold at premium. No more, and this for both as the rest of the World has cought up.

    Negative interest? Nothing new, remembrer this from when I was a kid. Foreignors not allowed to have their accounts in Franks? Nothing new neither.

    In short, if the the Frank is to high, simply put, hardship for the country, been there many times and nothing new. Ask a Swiss and you will hear that the cost of Swiss goods is still too high, not just now, but always, or Swiss Frank, and there is now stiff competition from Germany. Switzerland still needs more recession, and actually, the economy is working towards this.

    Question only is, when does it reach critical point, but then the “it’s survival” makes for a strong counter balance. One problem is the cost of labor, but this is another topicl.
    Jul 17, 2015. 09:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Euro - A Fatal Conceit  [View article]
    40 years ago it was commonly accepted in Europe that the Common Market will fail when the weak countries will join. Not much later surfaced the comments that the big countries no longer need a Common Market but hat the weaker ones could greatly benefit, and should form one among themselves.
    Today I have good understanding of economy, and I am not surprised at all why we Europe has these problems.

    The Euro was not created to be a user-currency but for trade between the countries. I always wondered about the push to make to replace the common currencies, and my conclusion was, based on reading many articles, that it was to counter the US dollar - Iran made the bold move when it started to use the Euro and some other currencies instead of the Dollar for it’s oil exchange.

    Being a naturalists do comprehend why everything that doesn’t have a natural evolvement will struggle if not even fail. A natural progression, thus beneficial, was the introduction of the Euro as a currency, and was always accepted in countries that kept their own currency. But not natural was giving up the own currency, this was a politcal move, and we see the consequences.

    This is no attack, just what countries do if they have the means to do: The Euro was of no benefit for the US, much to the contrary, and always suspected that in it’s defense will attempt to defuse the Euro. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if we would hear Washington had it’s finger in the Greek crisis.

    I am quite often surprised by the comments at Seeking Alpha that time and global aspects are totally ignored, say, quite a bit “in the box,” US perspective of what is today.

    Note: I immigrated from Switzerland in 1982, and soon predicted what what happened 3 decades later
    Jul 16, 2015. 06:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Pretium Resources: Why Investors Should Buy The Drop  [View article]
    I purchased a some Pretium recently as it looks better than pure speculation, and surely is longterm. Unless one has inside information, such stocks should only be purchased with money one can afford to loose.
    Jul 10, 2015. 07:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Just Did Google A Huge Favor  [View article]
    I wait for the 100th monkey

    About 6 month ago I switched from Google search to Bing. Reason? Snooping! Tracking, worse than stalking! Leading (disallowed in a court of law)!

    GeekOnTheHill makes it clear, but is actually worse. The most insinuating is the leading and following not knowing that what you see and get isn’t what you were looking for but a return based on people profiling and commercial interest. Google isn’t the only one, but the biggest offender. Install some ant-tracking software and be ready for a surprise. Better not book a hotel or flight using an iPhone or Mac - allow for a few hours using different OSs, browsers, and computers, re-arrange the searches (like first cheapest, then most expensive). It’s mind blowing. Look for a TV and it shows up in your Facebook. I had some pop-ups of previous searches being overlaid in my browser reading Seeking Alpha.

    What is there Google does, and other snoopers/trackers do that has some the benefit of the Web user? Mostly only perceived and “novelty” but “could do without it just as much. Google search really stinks, and is a far cry from the library searches I was able to do years ago. Once you know an organization very well, and this organization uses Google search, do some testing - it really stinks as much never shows up. If one has to be a Google search expert to do simple searches than it has lost it’s value for the ordinary user.

    During the last 12 month I noticed that more and ore people start to notice, and on top of all the stress people are under? Better look at the French Revolution: When it boils over and emotions go wild it’s pitchfork time, and will happen like a light switch changes, not slowly.

    In short, if Microsoft plays it right and is ready and can deliver, the Empire Google will come down like the French Monarchy; better be out of GOOG. How many years was Apple shrinking while building, and how long was the stock dirt cheap and took of like a rocket? I, a Mac Fanboy, became impressed by MS over two years ago, and for sure long MS - may well see an Apple history for MS.
    Jul 1, 2015. 05:41 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Apple Vs. Google Battle Has Changed  [View article]
    It’s not really Apple vs Google but upper-dog Apple and under-dog MS Vs. Google, it’s just not “hot” yet but brewing for sure.

    Looking at the Apple - Google battle (yesterday), what customer want it the satisfaction received (today), and how people more and more start to feel about Google (tomorrow), it's a great opportunity for an under dog to sneak in.

    - After my Google searches showed up in Facebook I switched to Bing; so have many others
    - I never managed to synch my Android phone with Exchange, so have many others
    - Free is propaganda, there is no free; many have started to figure that out
    - etc. etc.

    If I look back an Apple, started with a Mac Plus, and look at MS over the last two years and what seems to be their strategy, I see Google soon fighting the big-dog Apple and the under-dog Microsoft. Google’s brainpower is no match for a the Apple and Microsoft's decade long customer experience and having gone through bad times. MS did win the battle against Apple, but in-spite of all the the power and money was never able to take the movie industry away from Apple, and only partially the graphics industry. What Audio/Video and Graphics was for Apple yesterday is business for Microsoft tomorrow.

    What does Google really have the others don’t? Not so important today, but surely by tomorrow - it’s a technology company, today is already history! Plus, need to look outside the US too.
    Jun 5, 2015. 05:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Is Pulling A Fast One On Google  [View article]
    It is a technology world: Need to be ahead of the competition not today, nor tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow. The day you can’t re-invent yourself you are history.

    MS vs Apple battle is a good example, and then came Google. Apple stayed low for years while it re-invented itself, took off but didn’t stop reinventing itself several times over. MS has been low and re-inventing itself. Google is riding the top, but is now in a similar place as MS before it’s decline: What was the driving force, money or technology? Technology. What is the driving force now, tomorrow? I see money has started to make the rules.

    Google will be the King for a while but it looks like MS may well gets the “tomorrow.” Long MS.

    Note: I longed Apple for years when it was written off, to bad I didn’t have money to invest or I’d be fifty rich now. For over a year I have longed MS, hope I can say “was right."
    Jun 4, 2015. 05:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • US Job Market Shows Strong Gains, But Why Is Part-Time Work Rising?  [View article]
    In a capitalistic setting, whatever generates more net profit rules: Two part time employee are cheaper than one full time.

    Those who didn’t loose the job ended up with a higher workload, and those lucky enough to have/get a job are more than willing to work harder. Again, good for the company. I have plenty of company when it comes to greatly increased workload.

    Corporations have no social obligations, not even to their employees. Looking out for the employees will reduce profits, and we on this list as investors looking for profit what do we have to say?

    How will the market react with less corporate profit? When many say a correction is on the horizon?

    Guess we are stuck in a catch 22.
    Jul 7, 2014. 05:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment