Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shoots of Recovery???

Home prices up, first in 34 months, Case Shiller
U.S. home prices rose on a monthly basis for the first time since July 2006, according to the national Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday. On a month-to-month basis, prices in 20 selected cities rose 0.5% in May, with gains in 13 cities. "This could be an indication that home price declines are finally stabilizing," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for Standard & Poor's, which compiles the Case-Shiller index. Sales slipped 0.9% in April. On a year-to-year basis, prices in 20 selected cities fell 17.1%. This is a slower pace of decline than the 18.1% drop in April.

Recession less severe in early summer, Beige Book
The U.S. economic recession seems to becoming less severe as the summer progresses, according to the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book report released Wednesday. While still weak, some regions reported that the pace of the downturn had moderated. Other regions said that activity had begun to stabilize. The Beige Book is designed to give Fed officials a "feel" for conditions on the ground. The report said retail sales remained sluggish, contacts in the factory sector saw a turnaround on the horizon and bank lending was flat or weakening. Perhaps the most significant development is that businesses across the country are finding creative ways to cut wages and benefits. Economists note that as long as wages are under pressure, the threat of deflation remains. Labor market conditions remain slack, the report said.

Q2 GDP falls 1.0%, shallower than past 6 months
The U.S. economy contracted at a much smaller rate than in the past six months, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Real gross domestic product fell at a 1.0% annualized rate in the second quarter, compared with an average 5.9% drop over the past two quarters. However, this is the fourth straight quarter with a contraction in GDP. This has never happened before since records began in 1947. The big story for the second quarter was in the much smaller decrease in business investment, exports and inventories. There was also an upturn in federal and state government spending. The government also released comprehensive benchmark revisions to GDP data, but they did little to change the basic story of the economy.

U.S. July ISM factory index rises to 48.9%
Conditions for the nation's manufacturers continued to get better in July, the Institute for Supply Management reported Monday. The ISM index rose to 48.9% in July from 44.8% in June. The July index is the strongest since September. The consensus forecast of estimates collected by MarketWatch was for the index to rise to 46.2%. Readings below 50 indicate contraction. Below the headline, the report was strong. The data is showing that the manufacturing downturn is coming to an end. Both production and new orders rose above 50%. The ISM index has been improving slowly since hitting a low of 32.9% in December. The index was last above 50% in January 2008.

Q2 GDP falls 1.0%, shallower than past 6 months
The U.S. economy contracted at a much smaller rate than in the past six months, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Real gross domestic product fell at a 1.0% annualized rate in the second quarter, compared with an average 5.9% drop over the past two quarters. However, this is the fourth straight quarter with a contraction in GDP. This has never happened before since records began in 1947. The big story for the second quarter was in the much smaller decrease in business investment, exports and inventories. There was also an upturn in federal and state government spending. The government also released comprehensive benchmark revisions to GDP data, but they did little to change the basic story of the economy.

U.S. June factory orders rise 0.4%
Orders for U.S.-made factory goods rose 0.4% in June, outperforming expectations from Wall Street analysts, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected orders to fall 1%, following a gain of 1.1% in the prior month. Orders for durable goods fell 2.2%, an improvement from the government's prior estimate of a 2.5% drop. Orders for nondurable goods rose 2.7%. Excluding transportation equipment, new factory orders rose 2.3%. Orders for core capital goods, which are used by businesses to expand or update their productive capacity, rose for the second consecutive month, gaining 2.6% in June. Meanwhile, overall shipments rose 1.4%, following 10 consecutive months of declines. Shipments of durable goods fell 0.1% in June, and were down for 11 consecutive months, the longest streak of declines since comparable data were first published in 1992.

Job losses moderate in July Jobless rate dips to 9.4% as 247,000 nonfarm payrolls lost

Productivity rises 6.4%, fastest rate in six years
U.S. companies slashed their workers' hours in the second quarter, boosting the productivity of the workplace at an annualized rate of 6.4%, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. It was the fastest increase in productivity in the nonfarm business sector in nearly six years. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were looking for a gain of 5.4%. Unit labor costs - a key indicator of inflationary pressures - plunged at a 5.8% rate, the largest decline in nine years and a slightly larger drop that the 5.3% decline expected by economists. Hourly compensation rose just 0.2% in the second quarter.

Economy leveling out, but rates to stay low a while Fed to stop buying Treasurys in October, FOMC says

Consumer prices unchanged in July
U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July, after seasonal adjustments, and were down 2.1% year-over-year in the sharpest annual decline since 1950, the Labor Department reported Friday. Analysts polled by MarketWatch had expected no change in the monthly consumer price index. For July, energy prices fell 0.4%, and food prices fell 0.3%, while prices rose for goods such as new vehicles, tobacco, medical care and apparel. The core CPI, which excludes often-volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1% in July, matching analysts' expectations. Of note, shelter prices in July fell 0.2%, the largest decline since 1982, while prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs fell 1.3%, the largest decline since 1979. In June the overall CPI rose 0.7%, while the core gained 0.2%.

Industrial production rises for first time since October Output rises 0.5% in July as auto production surges 20%

Builders' confidence inches higher in August Sentiment index rises to 18, highest in more than a year

New York factories expanding in August
Business improved for manufacturers in New York in August, according to the Empire State index released Monday by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The index rose to 12.1 from negative 0.6 in July. It's the first positive reading since April 2008, and the highest since November 2007. Readings over zero mean most firms said business was improving compared with the prior month. Two key components of the index -- new orders and shipments -- rose to their highest levels in more than a year

Global recession over, but will leave scars: IMF

Leading indicators rise; bottom of recession seen
An economic recovery may begin soon, and the recession is bottoming out, the Conference Board said Thursday. For its fourth consecutive monthly gain, the index of leading economic indicators rose in 0.6% in July, following an upwardly revised increase of 0.8% in June. Economists polled by MarketWatch were looking for a gain of 0.7% in July. The interest rate spread was the largest positive contributor, while a reading on consumer expectations was the largest negative contributor. Overall, six of the 10 indicators were positive contributors, three were negative, and one was steady. The six-month growth rate for the overall index hit its highest level since mid-2004, according to the Conference Board.

Durable orders jump 4.9% on aircraft bookings
A doubling in aircraft bookings in July drove orders for new U.S.-made durable goods up by 4.9%, the largest increase in two years, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Excluding the 18.4% increase in transportation goods, orders rose 0.8%, the third straight gain and the longest upward streak in four years. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch were looking for a 4% gain in durable-goods orders in July. Shipments for durable goods rose 2% in July after a 0.7% increase in June. Inventories fell 0.8% in July. Orders are down 26% in the first seven months of 2009 compared with the same period last year.

Consumer confidence index rises to 54.1
U.S. consumers' mood brightened considerably in August, as their expectations about the near future were the most optimistic since the recession began, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The consumer confidence index rose to 54.1 in August from 47.4 in July. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the index to rise to 48.0. Consumer confidence "appears to be back on the mend," said Lynn Franco, head of the consumer research center at the Conference Board. Consumers were a bit more upbeat than they were in July about current economic conditions, but were markedly sunnier about the economy and their own financial situation over the next six months.

Home prices rise for second month in a row, up 1.4% Case-Shiller index down 15.4% in the 12 months through June


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Male bias in macro-economics???

I know that many of the Diaries here are long and complex, but hopefully this diary is just to get some ideas on a question that the bloggers here might be able to help with. The question is posed in the following manner:
“Male bias in macro-economics is not only bad for women; it is also bad for the prospects of setting in train a process of sustainable development.” (Elson, 1991)
Discuss this statement in the context of the effects of structural adjustment policies on the role of women in the development process.
[what do the articles] reveal about the respective roles of women and men in employment and in the household.

Here are the list of "sources" to begin with, but there is no restrictions on source of information to answer the question:
Boserup, Ester (1970) Women’s Role in Economic Development, London: George Allen &

Boserup, Ester (1991) ‘Economic Change and the Roles of Women’ in Tinker (ed.)

Elson, Diane (1991) ‘Male Bias in Macroeconomics: The case of structural adjustment’
in Elson (ed.)Male Bias in the Development Process, Manchester University Press,

Evans, Alison (1991) ‘Gender Issues in Rural Household Economics’, IDS Bulletin, Vol
22, No 1.

Moser, C. (1993) ‘Gender roles, the family and the household’, Chapter 2 from Rationale
for Gender Planning in the Third World, pp 29–34, London: Routledge.

I know most of the list of sources are not available on-line so a couple of links of note that is related to the concepts are here and hopefully maybe others might have some links that might help answer the question:

Caroline O.N. Moser, "Gender Planning in the Third World: Meeting Practical and Strategic Gender Needs", World Development, Vol. 17, No. 11, pp. 1799-1825, 1989.
In this seminal article the author proposes a gender roles framework for gender planning that leads to a differentiation of needs. The argument is based conceptually on the identification of the triple role of women and makes the distinction between practical and strategic needs articulated here for the first time. Welfare and efficiency approaches to low income and Third World Women are critiqued from a gender planning perspective and emphasis placed on the need for shifting policy towards an anti-poverty, equity and empowerment approach.

Caroline O.N. Moser, Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice & Training, Routledge: London and New York, 1993.
Gender planning is defined as a new and transformative planning tradition, one that seeks to empower women. The need for differentiation of gender roles and needs in society is considered the conceptual basis for gender planning and constitutes the basis for a critique of existing development policy and practice. Institutionalization of gender planning and operational procedures for implementing gender policies, programmes and projects are central subjects for consideration. The distinction between a technical planning methodology to meet women's practical needs and a 'political' methodology to meet women's strategic needs informs much of the discussion including the outlines for gender training methodology.
What do you think?

Since NCE is a hot subject here and may be related to this subject and I suspect that many here are Keynesians {hopefully Neo-Keynesians}, let me provide another quote from Elson's paper that may prompt a response:
When challenged, economists do not deny that human resources require inputs of caring and cooking, of nurturing and nursing; and do not deny that responsibility for providing these inputs lies chiefly with women. But macro-economic thinking assumes that it is perfectly correct to proceed as if such activities were not required because they would be undertaken regardless of changes in the level and composition of national income. This assumption may be based either on the idea that reproduction and maintenance of human resources is undertaken for love, not money, and is therefore not responsive to economic changes (Roston (1983) argues that Keynes's macro-economics is based on this assumption); or on the idea that changes in the level and composition of national income have no impact on the relative costs and benefits of maintaining and reproducing human resources. This assumption would be more consistent with neo-classical economics, which does assume that the reproduction and maintenance of human resources is responsive to economic signals (for example, Becker, 1976). Both the Keynesian and the neo-classical view are one-sided. Unpaid domestic labour is not carried out entirely for love, disregarding the economic costs and benefits; but neither is it simply another economic activity. The process of the reproduction and maintenance of human resources is different from any other kind of production because human resources are treated as having an intrinsic value, not merely an instrumental value. ...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Outsource the CEOs|Dweebs at ZNET think outside the Box again.

I just love it when liberals get concerned about issues that they actually oppose. Take for instance the article:. Outsource the CEOs April 06, 2004 By Kevin Danaher. Kevin is basically a "concerned troll". He knows that no company will follow his advice so he posts it on Znet as more tongue in cheek than anything. But since Liberals run around repeating something silly such as this, then maybe I should respond. {Title link to the thread at Thom's forum.}
April 1, 2004 -- As veteran corporate accountability activists, we both have spent years challenging big business to be more responsive to the needs of workers, communities, and the environment. We have picketed outside corporate headquarters, organized sit-ins, sponsored shareholder resolutions and bird-dogged company executives. When it comes to pressuring Corporate America, we've done it as much as anyone.

But the protesting thing is getting old. We figure it's time to give up our placards and trade them in for some PowerPoint presentations. We've decided to drop our commitment to advocacy and adopt a more lucrative career -- consulting.
Haha. Not likely, as otherwise they would have to turn in their "progressive" credentials.
In recent years, hundreds of U.S. companies have generated significant savings by sending high-skilled, well-paid positions to countries such as Singapore, India and the Czech Republic. The economics are clear: If a job can be done equally well somewhere else for less money, then it should be sent abroad. Our consulting firm takes this concept to the next logical step by outsourcing all the way to the top of the corporate ladder.

Why not? After all, equally skilled and experienced chief executives in Europe and Asia earn a fraction of what U.S. executives take home. The average chief of a major U.S. company receives $10.83 million in compensation per year. The typical CEO in Europe receives about $2.7 million. Japanese CEOs are a downright bargain: Your company can expect to pay as little as $300,000 to $500,000 per year for an executive based there, with year-end bonuses averaging just 10 percent. Even if you exclude the value of stock options and bonuses -- which account for the bulk of American CEO pay -- CEOs in the U.S. on average receive twice as much as executives in other industrialized nations.
Well, if the economics is "clear" then I am sure no more Libs will bring up contrary points of view and that outsourcing is good. But we are talking different labor markets so to rectify the fact that once you bring people here for the job then how would you discriminate based on citizenship? ...
We understand that your company may be concerned that off-shoring the CEO could impact performance. That's why we have a Two-for-One Plan. For the same salary you pay one American CEO, you can get a CEO in Europe and one in Asia. By having an executive on each side of the globe, you get uninterrupted service, corporate management around the clock. Instead of putting your back office in Bangalore, you put your front office in Berlin and Tokyo.
Interesting idea but CEOs do not necessarily run the day to day operations like a micromanager. I have more to say about the "front office" later.
The benefits to your company go beyond cost savings alone. When you offshore the boss, you get rid of the person that hourly workers and management employees alike love to hate. Just think how it will boost worker morale to see the CEO booted out the door. The resulting increases in worker productivity will pleasantly surprise you.
Maybe love to hate but also have a vested interest in them so the relationship is not of hate fest but of mutual respect {at least in organizations I have been in}. Not likely that the "workers" really would be more productive since there is less clear indication of who is running the company.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If it makes sense to increase profits by outsourcing skilled labor, let's save big money by outsourcing the most uncompetitive worker in the U.S. corporate hierarchy -- the CEO.
Well actually CEOs are quite competitive. It was already mentioned that US CEOs earn a lot more and this will definitely attract more applicants. A person at CEO level would also be eligible for some special immigration status of someone with unique abilities or unique talents. Wish I could find out more about this, but I do not believe companies have any problem getting some CEOs recruited to the USA for work. Here is some articles that talk about immigration of CEOs.
Foreign-born CEOs cite U.S. merit-based system By Del Jones, USA TODAY
"In many companies in Europe and Asia, family connections very often take precedence over performance," says Taurel, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1995.
Just as I was saying, you pay more and open up opportunities to more people and then you would expect more applicants.
Send Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Business ExecutivesWhy are big American companies hiring foreign-born CEOs?
Señor CEOMore executive-suite imports.

OK, now going back to the basics of what this entails, the writer of "Outsource the CEOs" seems to want to not only outsource the CEOs but also noted above the front offices. Even in middle size corporations that can be a lot of middle level managers and office staff. I am sure all the small and medium cities that have corporate headquarters would love to have their town die because of outsourcing the front office. It also has to be practical since hiring a CEO in another country also means that he/she needs to be close to a variety of staff and support personnel. It is not like you would dismember the head and all other functions would work out. Also the question of the board would need to be considered since they meet and then you would end up outsourcing the Board Members also.

From my experience of Radio Shack, Fort Worth would practically dry up without its headquarters there. Basically it is just a crazy idea and that if any company followed though would actually be protested by Jason Mark and Kevin Danaher. I might even be there to join them on that protest. Or at least to laugh at them.

Corporate Donations Increasingly Benefit Left-Wing Causes Monday, February 07, 2000

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New Economic Data Shows that Right Wing Economic Theory Is Simply Wrong.

Actually what it should say is:
New Economic Data Shows that Left Wing Economic Theory is Simply Made up Shit.

New Economic Data Shows that Right Wing Economic Theory Is Simply Wrong.
First, the most recent economic numbers on changes in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment made it increasingly clear that -- as The New York Times reported last Saturday -- the Obama economic stimulus and the massive government intervention in the financial markets were the critical medicine needed to prevent complete economic collapse.

It is now clear that, left to their own devices, there can be no doubt that private financial markets would have pulled the entire economy into another Great Depression.
The obvious question is to what proof is there that we would have had "complete economic collapse"? And that private financial markets would have created the next Great Depression? Like I stated on Thom's, we had a monetary stimulus going on for at least 18 months and a lot of support of banks. It was the Dems and Bush that passed the TARP packages anyway. Will the writer give that credit to Bush? Not likely-he is writing for Huff Post as a matter of fact.
Even as the right continues to rail against the Obama stimulus package, there is now near-universal consensus that the $700-billion-plus stimulus bill is largely responsible for beefing up the GDP in the last quarter. Studies by the private research firms IHS Global Insight and concluded that it is already responsible for saving 500,000 jobs.

Everyday there is fresh evidence that government spending to stimulate demand was critically necessary to pull the country out of the economic tail spin caused by the reckless risk-taking of essentially unregulated private financial markets. Contrary to right wing theory, private consumer demand and new business investment are not leading the way out of the Great Recession -- in reality, government demand was an absolute necessity.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Poly is a Dweeb

Ever hear of the Reconststruction Financial Corporation? Hoover instituted it.

"It lent almost \$2 billion in its first year, which was enough to serve the immediate goal of delaying a banking catastrophe, but the money did not inspire the expected general economic upturn."

"In February 1933 the banking system collapsed again. President Franklin Roosevelt, inaugurated in March, had none of Hoover's reservations about state capitalism. Roosevelt immediately declared a banking holiday and passed the Emergency Banking Relief Act.." Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Insolvent banks weren't allowed to re-open. Solvent ones were capitalized.

This article could have been written yesterday as an explanation of the past few decades up to the present.... rather than explaining the development of the Great Depression. Deja vu?.

Great Depression in the United States

Same responses to the same problems. Of course, today there are a few differences. We've outsourced our "real economy' and are now the world's largest debtor nation rather than the world's largest creditor nation. We're broke and using non-existent resources to enable the banks to pay off derivative players in an attempt to make them solvent.
Thank you for clarifying your position. But this only points out why I find you a dull to respond to. Out of your 5 links one works and one I could fix. You failed to even acknowledge that you got confused about who said what. As far as the "Reconststruction Financial Corporation", HH was President but that was about it.
In January 1932, on the recommendation of President Herbert Hoover, Congress created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which would use government money to make loans to banks, railroads, and insurance companies. In July, with the crisis deepening, the Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Act authorized the RFC to make loans directly to farmers, states, and public works projects.Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Reconstruction Finance Corporation
So not even created the bill just a recommendation and it should also be noted that it was much more than banks and was a loans only aspect of any support to the markets but then this does not fit in your view:
Hoover was wary of any sort of government intervention in the marketplace. He was slow to propose the RFC because he hoped bankers could solve their own problem, and he never stopped viewing it as a temporary agency. Hoover's chairmen (Eugene Meyer and Atlee Pomerene) insisted on an overly conservative set of guidelines. The RFC's loans carried high interest rates (they did not want to compete with private lenders), and its collateral requirements were extremely rigid. Moreover, RFC-funded public works projects had to pay for themselves (hydroelectric plants or toll bridges, for example). According to Hoover and his advisers, the primary purpose of the RFC was to encourage banks to start making loans again so the private sector could initiate its own recovery.
You conveniently ignored that section as it stated the loans had high interest rates and required collateral. Not many "Zombie Banks" have lots of good collateral lying around. It also does not seem to have any subsidy basis to it.
U.S. government agency established (1932) to provide loans to railroads, banks, and businesses. The RFC was an attempt by Pres. Herbert Hoover to counter the early effects of the Great Depression by rescuing institutions from default. It was widely used by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in the New Deal and to finance defense plants in World War II. After the war, the RFC's powers and functions were gradually transferred to other agencies.
Oh, so FDR used it more. Well that again does not fit in your ideology.
We are pumping blood money into zombies. Same thing Herbert Hoover did.
So letting 744 banks fail in 1930 was pumping blood money into zombies? And allowing 9000 banks to fail? And wiping out 140 billion dollars of depositors money is "pumping blood money into zombies"? So maybe FDR pumped blood money into a lot of banks, railroads, farmers, and public works projects? {Bank Failures}
In January 1932, on the recommendation of President Herbert Hoover, Congress created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), which would use government money to make loans to banks, railroads, and insurance companies. In July, with the crisis deepening, the Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Act authorized the RFC to make loans directly to farmers, states, and public works projects.
Let the spin begin...

Records of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation [RFC]


Idiot Poly

Sue wrote:

Ron, do you have any evidence to back up your arguments? Have you thought about the arguments presented here? Insulting others gives the impression that the answer is no in both cases.

What evidence are you looking for? Back to my comment:

Well the world has plenty of "fresh water" we only need to tap it or change its form. The world is 3/4 water!!

What evidence that the world is covered by 3/4 saltwater? That we only have to "tap it"-meaning that we have it go to productive activity or that we "change its form" thus meaning that if it lost its salt content but could easily retain its other traits.

You're knowledge of agriculture seems nil.

Sue, am I not an "other" also?

Back to assumptions:

1. And just what do you propose to do with all the salt after its been extracted from the water?

That assumes that there is only one solution that I have thought about but clearly the question I ask is where did the salt come from? That should answer any question and if we really concerned about salt content in the oceans then make some salt domes in the ground.

2. Have you ever seen what happens to arid land when its irrigated over a period of time? Salts in the soil are disolved, rise to the top and turn the land into desert. Edible crops can't be grown on it.

If he assumed that I took out the salt then why ask it like my only choice is to irrigate it over the land? That was another persons idea that said to divert saltwater in the Pacific to the Southwest of the USA in the old forum. But maybe salt tolerant tomatoes can grow in such areas that are present in the world. Scientists create saltwater tomatoes

I have read already about areas that have tried to do the direct application of seawater to irragated fields and the reports I read were of mixed results. Thanks for admitting as such.

Lastly nothing I said implied or even hinted that that (irrigation of straight seawater} was in my mind at the time as seaweeds are not land based or do we worry about what happens to the salt them. Do we?

First find viable solutions, impliment them, then talk to me about increasing the population.

We need more consumers...we need more consumers! When you're trapped into a system that requires continual expansion in order to not collapse upon do.

More assumptions than I care to address now. Only find some economic solutions, implement them...