Economics Archives

May 13, 2005

$... Euro...?...

We have seen the (long and often painful) economic "unification" of Europe come to pass. Now there are the first signs of a similar unification happening in Asia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming decades...

June 15, 2005

Making stuff up

Seth Godin has a post which rehashes the old saying "the good is the enemy of the great" but in the process he appears to miss the key point. He appears to get caught up in telling a story about how things are either wallyrigged in a fool's quest to achieve lowest cost by providing less than functional quality or they are being designed by visionaries in a "relentless pursuit of better".

Perhaps it is just rhetoric to jolt into action those brain cells which have been desensititized by overexposure to marketing campaigns or maybe it is just his way of making a point, but it completely misses the real point that except at the margin, value is what drives design and production. This is so obvious that it hardly bears mentioning. One can look around and find that various levels of quality are available at different price levels. This is true for everything from shovels to jumbo jets. Perfection is what you pay for.

The reason I even bother to post this is that Seth seems to place such conviction behind his ideas that they almost seem convincing until you take a second look at them. He prides himself on his ability to lie. In this case there are a few examples where the lie exposes itself badly. The first is when he proclaims:

But is anything as good as it could be?
Maybe a cup of Starbucks coffee or a Scharffenberger chocolate bar. But almost everything else needs a lot of work....

And what's with the layout of this keyboard? They came up with a keyboard a century ago, decided it was good enough and then stopped!

Um... he said Starbucks? He said that keyboards haven't changed? Then he holds up the example of Jet Blue seeming to imply that perhaps the presence of ladies only toilets is the secret to their business success. I think if you really ask David Neeleman what is more important to his customers, toilets or cost structure he would probably defer to the latter. Perhaps if we asked him what his airline does he would agree that it offers the best possible value to his customers. Certainly it can always be better, but it is the best at that particular price.

Looking at quality alone without considering the cost of that quality is idiotic. Likewise not providing quality when it is cheap or even free to do so is idiotic. It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine where developing false dichotomies and proclaiming them breathlessly falls in the spectrum of things.

March 22, 2006

Sell on the News - Google enters the world of Finance

If you haven't seen the new google finance pages ( http:\\ ) it is worth taking a look. At first glance it looks like a rip-off of, but when you look a little closer, the charts are actually rather interesting. First, they are draggable like google maps, but more importantly they are annotated with key news stories and announcements. Take this example of the chart for Intel:
Those marks with letters in them like "E", "F" and "G" are links to news stories. Click on them and you go to the headline, from there it is another click to the story itself. There is an old saying which goes "buy on the rumor, sell on the news". At least this chart of Intel seems to illustrate the wisdom of that. It would be interesting to see if there is any more corroborating evidence - and now you have a way to find out.

March 24, 2009

Sign of the Times - Libraries During Economic Crisis

I was logging in to the library to find a book this morning and the first thing I saw was this page touting bankruptcy, foreclosure, healthcare and legal assistance - was this the work of a hacker?.


No, not at all, but this is a big change from what used to be a page with links to upcoming events, fund-raisers and general library promotions. It is interesting to see this transformation to a more active role in solving people's problems.

I've been lucky to have spent time in some rather nice libraries over the years and especially over the past couple of decades I have wondered if they would survive due to the widespread availability of information over the internet, but seeing the resurgence of libraries in my local area and the more social role they are taking, it seems that they are adapting to that change just fine.

Here is the new San Mateo City Library building. It replaced a concrete bunker of a library that was on the same site since the 70's. Support your local library! I do my part through overdue book fines :-)


About Economics

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Project in the Economics category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Criticism is the previous category.

EPM and PPM is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.34