There’s a reason they call it Black Friday


Barry Ritholtz shared the following infographic on The Big Picture blog today.

In a time when so many are clamoring for our government to reign in spending, and some of the Occupy Wall Street folks protesting the Black Friday, I expected a dip in sales when compared against last year.  Imagine my surprise when I read the following quote.

Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent to the largest amount ever as U.S. consumers shrugged off 9 percent unemployment and went shopping.

Source: Bloomberg.com

Looking back at Ritholtz’s graphic, the section on who we were planning to buy for is telling.  46% of shoppers were planning to shop only for themselves and another 18% were looking for things for themselves and others.  Thus, in this time of scaling back and calling for austerity, we’re also breaking shopping records while primarily buying things for ourselves.  I hate to break it you, but that dog won’t hunt.  As my grandpa has often said, “Shit in one hand and wish in another and see which one happens first.”  If we want the government to start acting responsibly, we need to start by getting our own houses in order.  I don’t have all the answers to our economic issues, but I’m certain that retail therapy, for those who are straining under personal debt burdens, is not the answer.

For those who’ve camped out, I wonder what your return was?  If you spent 48 hours on the porch of Best Buy, in the hopes of “saving ” $400 on a TV, you’re essentially saying your time is worth less than $10/hr (And that assumes you’ll end up with the TV).     If you didn’t get the TV…

We also have the ongoing issue of shopper violence during these events.  A Google search of “Black Friday violence” returned over five and a half million hits.  I’d love to put the onus on the retailers (They are the ones setting the traps, no?), but I think we need to do a bit of navel gazing here.  (When am I not calling for that?)   So, if I’m to be the shrill voice, so be it, but I can assure you, you won’t like it.

“You have been warned!”

 

The Capitalism Paradox?


I took a quick look at Twitter this morning, and found the following two posts, back-to-back, in my twitter stream.  I can’t say I’m none the worse for wear, but at least my head did not explode.

http://twitter.com/SparkingInsight/status/137876726276571138

The article opens with:

AS PROTESTS against financial power sweep the world this week, science may have confirmed the protesters’ worst fears. An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

And this one with:

By collaborating with companies, donors will see their aid have a much bigger impact and genuinely contribute to pro-poor growth

Did I miss something, or is this an example of perfect incongruence?Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

For What it’s Worth, Paul Krugman’s Got Game


Post-A-Day: Day 7 (Post 2)

I can’t seem to pull myself away from the music of my youth lately.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are getting heavy rotation as well as their predecessor’s (Buffalo Springfield) “For What it’s Worth.”  As such, I had a good laugh when I saw the opening to Paul Krugman’s take on the Occupy Wall Street protests.  The song in question and the link to the article are posted below.

Confronting the Malefactors

By 
Published: October 6, 2011

There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.

Read Professor Krugman’s full article here.

Lyrics to Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

It seems appropriate to close the reference loop from this post’s title.

Public Enemy – “He Got Game’

We Won’t Be Afraid to Say Revolution


Post-A-Day: Day 3

Flickr/Adrian Kinloch

I’ve been tracking the Occupy Wall Street movement from its planning stages and haven’t been sure what to make of it.  One thing that’s clear is it’s not going away quickly.  Here are a couple of quick videos which I think capture the general feeling of the effort: Continue reading