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Showing posts from August 1, 2016

All the things that went wrong for Uber in China

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[Dirtiest-playing corporation meets dirtiest-playing government! :-) Boo-hoo for Uber - not. *RON*]

By Heather Timmons, Quartz, 1 August 2016
After burning through billions of dollars in China, Uber is planning to sell its business there to its archrival Didi Chuxing.

The sale follows years of brutal fighting between the two companies in China that went beyond just tough competition, and included look-alike logos, government involvement, and even the blackout of Uber’s name from the country’s most popular messaging app.

While Uber started in China in 2014, the company built up a following by introducing peer-to-peer ride-hailing before anyone else, and investing in second- and third-tier cities. It also attracted investment from Baidu, the country’s largest search engine.

But, as Quartz wrote in 2014, it might have already been too late, because China was awash in popular local taxi apps. The two largest had some hometown advantages:

False Flags Fluttering in the Empire's Hot Air

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[Terrorism, Black Lives Matter and The 1%. He clearly overstates his case, but by how much, exactly? Hard to say. The main reason I won't go as far as him is that I don't believe the overlords are smart enough to successfully pull off anything this thoughtful and complex. *RON*]
The Saker, The Unz Review, 29 July 2016
When I think of the recent developments in the USA (Dallas shooting, Orlando shooting) and Europe (Nice, murdered priest, Germany shooting) I get this unpleasant feeling that something is not quite right. For one thing, the perpetrators are absolutely ridiculous: pseudo-Muslims who turn out to be drinking homosexuals, ex-patients of mental institutions – the kind of people I call “overnight Muslims”: they all make darn sure to say Allahu Akbar a number of times, but other than that, they have no sign of Islam at all. In fact, far from being trained Daesh fighters, they are all losers with weak personalities. Exactly the kind…

Policing as a Tool of Systemic Racism

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[Excellent historical context; well worth reading the other two articles. I bought a copy of Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal as a result of reading this one. Also good: Black, White, and Blue: Working Class Self-Defeat in Somerville*RON*]
By William Black, New Economic Perspectives, 31 July 2016

Part 2 of my series on Race, Crime, and Policing

My introductory column in this series laid out the blood libels against police, policing, blacks, and whites that are doing so much harm to America. This second installment provides a brief historical overview necessary to begin the discussion about the blood libels against Black Lives Matter, law enforcement officers (LEOs) and whites as a racial group. I repeat my warning from my introductory installment that criminology produces hard truths and nuanced explanations that upset almost everyone.

In order to understand the discussion of blood libels I need to provide the reader with a very brief over…

Growing Oil Glut Shows Investors There’s Nowhere to Go But Down

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[When in the world are the oil companies going to grasp this? It's not a difficult point. And, when the hell are my gas prices going to drop? *RON*]

Mark Shenk, Bloomberg, 1 August 2016

Speculators add record number of bearish WTI crude wagersCrude, gasoline supply at highest seasonal level in decades Money managers have never been more certain that oil prices will drop.

They increased bets on falling crude by the most ever as stockpiles climbed to the highest seasonal levels in at least two decades, nudging prices toward a bear market. The excess supply hammered the second-quarter earnings of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. Inventories are near the 97-year high reached in April as oil drillers boosted rigs for a fifth consecutive week.

“The rise in supplies will add more downward pressure,” said Michael Corcelli, chief investment officer at Alexander Alternative Capital LLC, a Miami-based hedge fund. “It will be a long time before we can dr…

Why Growth Will Fall

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[Parts (well, half) of this are a bit nerdy, but the overall book summary, and the general points made concerning productivity and alternative measurements of economic growth that improve on the GDP are valid and interesting. *RON*]
William D. Nordhaus, New York Review of Books, 18 August 2016 issue

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The US Standard of Living Since the Civil War. By Robert J. Gordon. Princeton University Press, 762 pp., $39.95
Robert Gordon has written a magnificent book on the economic history of the United States over the last one and a half centuries. His study focuses on what he calls the “special century” from 1870 to 1970—in which living standards increased more rapidly than at any time before or after. The book is without peer in providing a statistical analysis of the uneven pace of growth and technological change, in describing the technologies that led to the remarkable progress during the special century, and in conc…

Retirement healthcare could bust the budgets of many US cities

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[Unfunded liabilities in this sector are far worse than for pensions. Of course Canadians know it's not true that "retiree healthcare plans are uniquely American," ours are just focused on extended benefits, dental and pharmaceuticals rather than basic healthcare requirements. Although, in BC, we are forced to pay out of pocket for even the basics. Election 2017. *RON*]

Robert Pozen, Financial Times, 31 July 2016

While the deficits of public pension plans have been widely discussed, much less attention has been given to the obligations of US local governments to supply healthcare for their retired employees.

The unfunded liabilities for retiree healthcare for the 30 largest US cities exceeds $100bn, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organisation. The unfunded liabilities for the 50 US states exceeds $500bn, according to Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency.

Retiree healthcare plans are uniq…