My Home Biz - Page 643 of 765 -

Dominate Using These Digital Data Trends and Insights

Check out these 10 titles that capture the growing digital-everything trend and explain it to small business owners, helping them make sense of it all and how best to utilize it to their advantage.

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Exclusive: Apollo Global nears deal to acquire Fresh Market – sources

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is nearing a deal to acquire Fresh Market Inc , a U.S. specialty grocery retailer, for more than $1.3 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.


Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Exclusive: Energy Transfer has held talks to sell Sunoco – sources

(Reuters) – Energy Transfer Equity LP , the U.S. pipeline company that agreed to acquire Williams Companies Inc , has held talks to sell gas station and convenience store operator Sunoco LP , according to three people familiar with the matter.

Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

AT&T, Starwood, Marriott working on Cuba deals ahead of Obama visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At least three major U.S. companies, AT&T Inc , Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc and Marriott International Inc , are seeking to complete deals in Cuba as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Havana, a person familiar with the discussions said on Friday.


Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

As market rallies back, investors turn eyes to the Fed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors who have pushed the U.S. stock market higher over the past month will be taking their cues about the pace of future interest-rate hikes next week from the Federal Reserve.


Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Special Report: The final days and deals of Aubrey McClendon

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – The night before Aubrey McClendon died, the oil-and-gas pioneer was expected at a private dinner here with potential business partners. Among them: Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico.


Continue Reading Comments { 0 }

Weekend Roundup: Why There Is No Better Time for Another Trudeau

When Justin Trudeau’s sophisticated and cosmopolitan father Pierre was prime minister in the 1970s and early 1980s, Canada’s brand became synonymous with an open, liberal and sane society that got the balance right. During the Cold War and amid the conflicts in developing nations those days, its red and white maple leaf flag was the welcome symbol of an activist, peace-making foreign policy. However small its political clout compared to the colossus to its south, Canada enjoyed an outsized influence globally as the exemplar of the values of a civilized state.

The world today could do with another Trudeau, and thankfully we have one. Just how much Canada’s new prime minister not only walks in his father’s stead, but inhabits his spirit as well, can be seen in this global forum hosted by HuffPost Canada in Toronto this week. Trudeau took questions from around Canada and from editors of HuffPost editions around the world. In his report, Howard Fineman trenchantly sums up the discussion, writing, “Canada’s new prime minister is the opposite of Donald Trump.”

At a time when the leading Republican contender for the U.S. presidency is calling for walls and expulsions, and when European politics is relapsing into the kind of nationalist fervor that brought two devastating wars to the continent in the 20th century, the young Canadian prime minister already exhibits some of the wiser qualities bequeathed by his father.

As prime minister, Pierre Trudeau campaigned for the passage of the The Constitution Act, 1982 in Canada that eschewed “distinct status” for French-speaking Quebec in favor of a federalist solution. In an interview I did with the senior Trudeau as the Balkan wars ignited in 1990, he eloquently evinced the liberal creed against the siren of nationalism.

“Nationalists, whether of the left or right, are politically reactionary because they are led to define the common good as a function of an ethnic group or religious ideal rather than in terms of ‘all the people’ regardless of individual characteristics,” he told me. “This is why a nationalistic government is by nature intolerant, discriminatory and, when all is said and done, totalitarian.”

This message could not be more relevant at the present moment. Writing from Europe, both Alex Görlach and Gianni Del Vecchio worry that successes in state elections this week in Germany are strengthening the extreme right nationalists of the Alternative for Germany party and shifting the center of gravity of German politics. As Behlül Özkan writes from Istanbul, the nationalist backlash is so intense in Europe, that, in pursuit of a deal with Turkey to curb the influx of refugees, European leaders are looking the other way while the pro-Islam nationalist president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, cracks down on any opposition, recently seizing the country’s leading newspaper, Zaman. WorldPost Middle East correspondent Sophia Jones also reports from Istanbul on the outrage of Turkish journalists at European leaders “turning a blind eye” to the crushing of freedom of expression. In an interview, Turkish novelist Elif Shafak views the situation darkly: “Artists, writers, academics — people who have been trying to build bridges so as to promote coexistence and peace — know that they have lost big time.” Aydoğan Vatandaş suspects that the press crackdown is really aimed at undermining any support that may emerge for a new centrist party led by former President Abdullah Gül that would challenge Erdoğan.

Writing from Athens, Nicos Devletoglou compares the measly 300 million euros being offered by the European Union to Greece for refugee relief to the 3 billion euros being offered to Turkey and calls for national referendums on Europe’s open borders. Writing from the Greek port of Piraeus, Katerina Prifti says the refugee situation, already dire, is about to get much worse. And this photo offers a glimpse of the already severe human cost of Europe’s shut borders.

Joshua Ostroff worries that the xenophobic fires being set by Donald Trump may be hard to extinguish. Writing from Italy, Massimo Faggioli dissects how conservative American Catholics unhappy with Pope Francis are lining up behind Donald Trump. Ed Dolan takes up Bernie Sanders’ challenge and favorably compares Europe’s and Canada’s single-payer health systems to that of the U.S., which spends nearly twice as much of its GDP on medical care.

Writing from Rome in our “Following Francis” series, Sébastien Maillard discusses how the 79-year-old pope is preparing to ensure that his reforms are not rolled back when he is gone. In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we examine the resilience of the Somali militant group Al Shabab.

Former NATO commander James Stavridis and cybersecurity expert Dave Weinstein weigh in on the battle between the FBI and Apple over encryption and argue for a middle road that balances security and privacy, something that must ultimately be determined by lawmakers and not the courts. Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez looks at the FBI-Apple dispute from the angle of having lived in a society that is constantly under surveillance.

In an exclusive commentary, Saudi Arabia’s new ambassador in Washington, Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud, responds to the growing criticism of the kingdom in the U.S. “Today, we often hear claims that the ‘Wahhabis’ are exporting extremism and fueling radicalism in religious schools and ‘madrasahs,’ he writes “…it is illogical for the Kingdom to promote the very mindset that has threatened Saudi Arabia with deadly attacks against our homes and mosques.”

Writing from Brazil, Diego Iraheta says that there are serious questions still yet to be answered by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the corruption case against him. It is up to Lula, he says, to prove what he once proclaimed about himself, that, “there is ‘not a more honest living soul in this country.'” World Bank advisor Jorge Thompson Araujo makes the surprising find in a new study that Latin America’s growth in recent years was due as much to structural reforms as to the commodity boom, which has now fallen off. The McKinsey Global Institute reports in this essay how, for the first time, digital trade is surpassing traditional trade in goods and reshaping what globalization means. Writing from Hong Kong, investor Stephen Peel makes the case that Britain will become poorer if it leaves the European Union because its hinterland is too small without Europe to enable its companies to prosper.

Dror Berman and Samantha Wai examine how the latest innovations in synthetic biology, protein sequencing and tissue engineering are opening doors to rethinking food and protein production. In a photo series on everyday entrepreneurs, we look at how one man is perfecting coffee and chocolate production in the small African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe. Fusion this week delves into the new funeral practice of preserving the DNA of loved ones. Finally, our Singularity series foresees how 3-D manufacturing will be able to assemble structures in space so they will not have to be launched from Earth.


WHO WE ARE

EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.

MISSION STATEMENT

The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Continue Reading

20 Ways to Pay Less at Costco

2016-03-12-1457743155-163714-20lesscostco.jpg

By Morgan Quinn, Contributor

Costco is one of the best retailers out there for low prices and savings, but wouldn’t it be better if you could save even more money at Costco? Of course it would, and thankfully, you can.

Visit GOBankingRates for more deals, coupons and freebies from the biggest retailers >>>

Sure, scoring free food samples might save you a few bucks, but there are other ways you can save money at this major warehouse superstore. Click through to discover 20 nifty tricks that can help you pay less at Costco.

1. Split bulk items with a friend.

If you are single or live in a small space, it’s probably hard to justify purchasing and storing a package of 30 rolls of toilet paper, even if it is only $19.50.But listen: That stuff is even more expensive in regular grocery or big box stores. Head to Costco with a friend to split up bulk packages of essentials and the costs — it’s absolutely worth the savings.

2. Know the secret Costco pricing codes.

Costco’s pricing codes indicate whether an item is specially priced, discounted or will not be restocked. Here is a general breakdown of the codes, according to HubPages:

  • Prices that end in $0.97 have been marked down from their original prices, which usually always end in $0.99.
  • Other odd pricing, like $0.49, $0.79 or $0.89, typically means the product is regular-priced merchandise.
  • An asterisk (*) in the upper right corner of the pricing sign means the item won’t be reordered. So if it’s a favorite, you should stock up.
  • Prices ending in $0.88 or $0.00 could mean the store’s manager marked it down to move the product faster.

3. Look for Costco coupons.

You can find a number of coupons and discounts for various items in Costco’s monthly coupon book as well as the Costco mobile app, but don’t worry about clipping coupons. Costco cashiers keep copies of the coupons at their registers and will scan them for you when you purchase a qualifying item.

4. Shop summer closeouts before the season is over.

Costco does massive markdowns on large summer items like patio furniture and pool toys before the season is over because stores need to free up room for the next season’s merchandise. You can get great deals on merchandise like barbecues, beach chairs and camping equipment that can be used right away. End-of-seasons deals can also be found year-round, however, including after Christmas.

5. Non-members can access Costco discounts, too.

Those who aren’t Costco members can still buy alcohol in certain states, use the pharmacy and immunization services, eat at the Costco food court if it’s located outside of the store, and access the store’s eye and hearing exams, reports Cheapism. You can also get around the membership requirement and shop the store as usual by paying with a Costco Cash Card, though you’ll have to enlist the help of a Costco member as these can only be purchased and reloaded by a member.

6. Buy discounted gift cards and movie tickets.

Costco’s deals go way beyond bulk goods. Members can get discounts on movie tickets, store or restaurant gift cards, and local attractions like theme parks. For example, you might be able to snag a Coffee Bean gift card worth $100 for only $79.99 or a similar deal to your local movie theater.

7. Take your lunch break at the Costco food court.

Eating lunch on the go is a huge budget buster, so if you left your sack lunch at home head to a Costco food court. You can buy the signature $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda combo, a $10 whole pizza or other reasonably priced fare. Plus, buying and eating at the food court doesn’t require a Costco membership.

8. Buy the Kirkland Signature brand.

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s in-house brand, but products offered by the brand are far from generic. Products carrying the Kirkland label tend to be high quality at a good value, and some even come straight out of the same factories where name-brand goods are made. Consumer Reports lists bacon, car batteries and regular batteries, ice cream, toilet paper, organic foods, and dish and laundry detergent among the top-rated Kirkland products.

Related: 5 Best and Worst Things to Buy Generic

9. Make a list (and stick to it!).

This isn’t really top-secret information, but we know all too well how running into Costco for “just a few things” can devolve into multi-cart shopping overkill. Make a list to keep your spending under control and on track.

10. Fill up on free samples.

Don’t let anyone shame you out of eating your weight’s worth of Costco’s free samples. The company actually encourages distributors to give out as many free samples as people will eat.

11. Keep your Costco receipts.

Costco is famous for its incredible return policies, which doesn’t include a time limit. But there are some exceptions to this policy. For example, if you bought a TV, computer or another type of electronic from Costco, the retailer will only accept returns within 90 days. The retailer also offers membership refunds, stating on its website, “We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”

12. Put on your blinders.

Every entrance to Costco is the same: A narrow path lined with shiny new things looking to find a forever home with you. Put your head down, stick to your list, and if you really just have to buy something, at least make it a Tommy Bahama beach chair. Best impulse buy ever.

13. Book a vacation through Costco.

You might not know that your Costco membership gets you exclusive access to Costco Travel, a service that offers discounted vacation packages and planning. You can visit CostcoTravel.com to find deals on flight and hotel packages, cruises and rental cars for destinations from Las Vegas to Hawaii and Europe.

14. Compare Costco’s per-unit prices against other stores.

Costco might have tons of discounted goods, but not everything there is a steal. For example, my Costco store’s tilapia is about three times the price of that at my local grocery store. Also, many grocery stores offer coupons and discounts on name-brand items that Costco sells in bulk but does not markdown.

15. Avoid “action alley.”

According to Lifehacker, the middle area of the store is named “Action Alley” because of the high traffic. Distributors sometimes pay to put their products there or hand out samples. The flashy signs and advertising can be deceptive — oftentimes, this is where the highest-priced items and non-bargains at Costco live.

16. Start at the back of Costco.

The best bargains at Costco are typically at the back of the store or hidden at the end of aisles. Start your shopping trip from the back of the store to get your staples and deals, and then work your way up to the front where the cash registers are.

17. Buy meat in bulk, and freeze it.

One of the best deals at Costco is bulk meat because you can portion it out and freeze it for later use. Even the late, great Julia Child was a fan of buying meat from Costco — she was especially fond of the hot dogs.

18. Fill up at the Costco gas pumps.

Some Costco stores also have gas stations on their lots, which offer members competitive per-gallon prices. You can check off grocery shopping and filling up on gas at the same time.

19. Take advantage of the Costco Tire Center.

Sometimes Costco discounts name-brand tires by $70 to $80, which is enough savings to cover the cost of a membership and then some. For customers who’ve purchased tires from Costco, the center also offers free tire balancing and rotations. I’ve even had one Costco Tire Center worker patch a small hole in one of my tires for free.

20. Shop online, and use Costco’s app.

Going to Costco doesn’t top everyone’s list of favorite things to do. Skip the crowds, and avoid the hassle by shopping the Costco website or through the Costco mobile app — you can even find web-only deals that aren’t offered in the stores.

The Costco app is also a great resource that highlights current deals and offers, so checking it before heading to your Costco can help you pre-plan and have a smoother trip while still hitting the best deals. You can even use it to create your shopping list.

Keep Reading: 10 Best and Worst Deals at Sam’s Club

This article, 20 Ways to Pay Less at Costco, originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com.

More from GOBankingRates:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton Wants To Bring Back The ’90s Economy. Here’s What She’s Missing.

Hillary Clinton is pointing to the economic growth during her husband’s presidency in the late 1990s as a model for her own economic plans.

The period during President Bill Clinton’s administration saw well-distributed economic gains that lifted the fortunes of marginalized communities of color.

But if Hillary Clinton is to revive the best aspects of that era of prosperity, she should acknowledge the pivotal role of the Federal Reserve, liberal economists argue. Clinton hasn’t said how she’ll choose Federal Reserve Board governors or otherwise indicated how she would like the Fed to act.

“You know, at the end of the ’90s, we had 23 million new jobs. Incomes went up for everybody,” Clinton said at the Univision-sponsored Democratic debate this week in Miami. “We were talking earlier about what needs to be done for Latinos and African-Americans. Well, we were doing it by the end of the ’90s. Median family income went up 17 percent. For minorities, it went up even more.”

As Clinton accurately pointed out, the economy created more than 23 million jobs from 1993 through the end of 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a period that spans Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Widespread wage growth followed robust job creation as high demand for labor forced employers to raise pay to compete for workers. As a result, median household income rose nearly 15 percent in 1999 from its low point in 1993.

Demand for labor was so high that the gains reached workers on the lower end of the earnings spectrum — something that was virtually unheard of since the early 1970s, and has not been replicated since.

As Clinton noted, the booming job market was especially beneficial to workers of color, particularly African-Americans.

By 2000, black unemployment had fallen to 7.6 percent, the lowest rate in recorded history, according to an Economic Policy Institute analysis. The median wage for blacks rose even faster than for whites, propelling a higher percentage of African-Americans into the middle class than in any economic recovery since 1982.

It’s understandable why Hillary Clinton is pitching her presidency as a return to the halcyon 1990s.

But Clinton neglects to mention that the economy cannot grow to the levels it reached in the 1990s if the Federal Reserve does not permit it.

When the Fed raises the benchmark interest rate, it deliberately puts downward pressure on the job market to head off a rise in prices.

In the late 1990s, Fed Chair Alan Greenspan repeatedly refused to raise the interest rate, which many economists say is what ultimately permitted the unemployment rate to dip below 4 percent in 2000.

The mostly liberal economists who laud Greenspan for staying out of the way during that growth period argue that the Fed’s restraint was a rare bright spot in a decades-long trend of the central bank unduly prioritizing inflation concerns over job creation.

Hillary Clinton, however, hasn’t said whether her aim to recreate the days of job growth and wage growth would influence who she appoints as Federal Reserve Board governors.

The economy section of Clinton’s campaign website, subtitled “a plan to raise Americans’ incomes,” does not mention the Fed at all.

A spokesman for Clinton’s presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment on how the Fed fits into Clinton’s economic agenda.

The president has the power to appoint the seven Fed board governors, including the chair, who must then be confirmed by the Senate. The governors occupy the Fed’s 12-person Federal Open Market Committee, which is responsible for adjusting the key interest rate. 

Two governors’ seats have remained empty in recent years as the Obama administration has struggled to get the Senate to confirm appointments.

Some analysts have criticized the Obama administration for not pushing harder to fill the vacancies. The openings mean that the five seats reserved for the unelected presidents of regional Federal Reserve banks have more influence over monetary policy than they otherwise would.

The Fed bank presidents tend to have close ties to the financial community, which has an interest in tamping down inflation. Four regional Fed presidents have worked for Goldman Sachs, for example, including William Dudley, who is currently on the FOMC. (Dudley, as president of the New York Fed, has a permanent seat on the FOMC, while other regional Fed presidents alternate serving one-year terms.)

Josh Bivens, research and policy director of the Economic Policy Institute, said he would “love” for Clinton to speak out about prioritizing filling the two vacant seats on the Fed Board of Governors.

“She could even talk about it in terms of the late 1990s,” Bivens said. “There are reasons to feel warmly about that period and a big part of that is the Fed did not take away the punch bowl too early.”

There are reasons to feel warmly about that period and a big part of that is the Fed did not take away the punch bowl too early.
Josh Bivens, the Economic Policy Institute

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank, and co-author of the book Getting Back to Full Employment, lamented Clinton’s reticence on the topic.

“If the Fed is not on board, they are going to have a hell of a time,” Baker said. “What are they are going to do if the Fed is raising interest rates?”

Clinton has not weighed in on the Fed’s decision to raise its key interest rate in December.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Clinton’s rival in the Democratic presidential primary, condemned it, arguing that the Fed should wait until unemployment is below 4 percent.

It was not an especially radical stance. Lawrence Summers, a former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, who nearly became Fed chairman in 2013, opposed the Fed rate hike on similar grounds.

The Fed Up campaign, a coalition of grassroots groups mobilizing low-income workers to push for progressive Fed policies, emphasized the rate hike’s disproportionate impact on African-Americans and Latinos.

If the Fed is not on board, they are going to have a hell of a time.
Dean Baker, the Center for Economic and Policy Research

The endemic difference in employment opportunities for black people and white people of comparable education levels points to widespread racial discrimination in the job market. A Fed that keeps interest rates low — erring on the side of full employment rather than inflation — is essential, Fed Up and many economists argue, because when demand for workers grows to a certain level, employers can no longer afford to discriminate based on race.

The other problem with using the late 1990s as an economic model is that the era’s jobs boom was driven in large part by an unsustainable stock market bubble. The Fed’s refusal to put on the brakes was nonetheless a good thing, according to many economists, because it reflected the right balance of job growth and inflation. The stock market bubble, they say, could have been avoided through other means, such as better regulation.

But it does mean that the engine of growth cannot be recreated as easily as Clinton sometimes implies.

The most ambitious piece of Clinton’s job creation plan is a five-year, $275 billion investment in infrastructure.  

Bivens called Clinton’s plan “pretty good, not small potatoes.” But he said he doubted it would be enough to counter the gap in demand for goods and services left over from the recession, and the depressing effect of forthcoming Fed interest rate hikes.

Baker expressed a similar view. He also argued that reducing the U.S. trade deficit with countries like China by prioritizing their currency devaluation policies during trade negotiations would spur high-value job growth.

Ultimately, Clinton may be able to benefit from Americans’ fond memories of a prosperous economy if she embraces the complexity of the 1990s.

“I would love to see the late 1990s loom a lot larger in policy discussions — both the upside and the downside,” Bivens said. “The upside is that it showed we can have full employment without inflation reaching dangerous levels. And the downside is that it showed we need a stronger foundation for economic growth.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Continue Reading

The Financial Crisis Film ‘Boom Bust Boom’ Falls Prey To The Big Problem It Addresses

Can a group of portly, middle-aged puppets explain the financial crisis?

They certainly can try.

In the new Terry Jones documentary, “Boom Bust Boom,” which premiered Friday in New York City, the Monty Python comedian uses puppets, cartoons and interviews with real people to turn a difficult and often boring subject into a lively lesson on history and the human biases that drive huge swings in the economy. Think of it as a whimsical version of “The Big Short.” 

Set for a national release on March 18, the film shows how markets can boom and bust with regularity. Over the course of centuries, we see this cycle play out over and over, and yet, before each bust, we learn how people convince themselves this time is different. It’s frustrating. Why can’t humans just get it right? 

Unfortunately, the film falls prey to its own thesis, almost shutting out the voices of anyone who isn’t a middle-aged white man, leading to a narrow view of this complex topic. It’s not very helpful for thinking critically about how we might change things, and perhaps that’s why the film offers few solutions.

“Boom Bust Boom” is at its best when illustrating some of history’s worst economic meltdowns. It has informative and fun depictions of the 1637 tulip mania in the Netherlands, the crash of the South Sea Company in early 18th-century Britain, and the 19th-century speculation in (and fantastic crash of) British railroad stock. It also describes how the heights of speculation in the 1920s led to the lows of the Great Depression, and, finally, the hard lessons of the 2008 mortgage crisis. Every time is the same: Euphoria over rising prices leads to speculation, which ends with a crash.

Humans are not rational, the movie tells us. We are hardwired, from the time of our primate ancestors, to have certain biases and blind spots. When it comes to capitalism, those blind spots lead to financial crises. And when someone sees the issue clearly, they are often disregarded until long after it’s too late.

The problem is, the film doesn’t take the next step and ask why policymakers and economists continue to think the same way and follow the same patterns from one crisis to another.

Here’s one reason: The world’s top economists (and government officials) more or less all have the same background. They went to a handful of schools, studied under a few dozen of the same professors, have read the same books and mingle in the same circles. Oh, and, to a large extent, they’re all white and male. That doesn’t encourage diversity of thought. 

Neither does this film. I counted about a dozen puppets woven into the story, and nearly all of them depicted middle-aged (or older) white men. Activist-actor and Huffington Post blogger John Cusack makes several somewhat puzzling appearances in this movie, too. (No disrespect to Mr. Cusack.)  

Women and minorities are almost entirely left out of this film — not unlike the way they’ve been left out of financial and economics professions. Yet, we know that women are slightly better at managing financial risk than men are. Study after study over the last five years has found that female financial managers consistently outperform their male peers. They think differently.

The two expert women the movie manages to talk to are Lucy Prebble, a playwright who once wrote a play about the collapse of Enron, and Laurie Santos, a Yale psychology professor who studies how monkeys make decisions. Neither have a background in economics, or in the 2008 crisis. 

But there is a long list of people — who aren’t white men — who would have made great interview subjects for the filmmakers.

Where was Christina Romer, who wrote a paper in 2015 examining the impact of financial crises on advanced economies? Where was Brooksley Born, who warned against the danger of unregulated derivatives — which ended up creating the 2008 financial crisis — when she was head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the 1990s? Where was Harvard economist Carmen Reinhart, who literally wrote a book called This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly? Where was Raghuram Rajan, India’s top central banker, who warned of a potential financial crash way back in 2005, when he was working at the International Monetary Fund? 

If the world is to develop a framework for thinking differently about economics, it might help to start with more diverse sources.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



Continue Reading