Category: Business

The Pernicious Funnel

The United States of America is presently running a larger deficit than any other time in its history. Measured in constant dollars, which adjusts for inflation, our country is deeper in debt than ever. Dozens of states, including California, the republic of the west coast, are running near-catastrophic deficits that inspire economic commentators to use...

A Blessed Life

Capitalism requires that we consumers feel as though we never have enough. Our lives will be fuller, richer,better if only we might acquire, chew, possess that which we don’t yet have. The media reminders that constantly bombard our senses teach us that more money, more fame, more fabulousness will magically enlighten our days as friendship, love...

Sexism

A coalition of women’s groups — the exact name, we confess, escapes us at the moment – recently released to the media their rankings of the “most sexist” advertisements of 2003. (The august Wall Street Journal used the story as an opportunity to print a still photo of a half-naked woman shilling some cleaning product.) The group’s...

Watches

Since I don’t wear a watch, I can’t say with any certainty that one brand is better than another. (I don’t wear any jewelry, especially the kind that would remind me on a constant basis that I’m creeping inexorably toward death.) So if I’m completely out of line here, forgive me. It seems to me,...

A Radical Idea for Lowering Gasoline Prices

Here in Los Angeles, a gallon of unleaded fuel costs more than $2. The premium stuff, used to power our high-performance, eight-cylinder power fiends (that can travel at more than 125 mph but are required by law to be kept under 65 mph on most roads), costs nearly $2.50. Experts are saying the summer could...

Insider Trading

The U.S. stock market is the world’s largest casino, except in this particular gambling den players don’t know the odds on their wagers. They just bet and hope. There’s very little correlation between a company’s real value and its stock price or between its earnings and its stock price. If there were, anyone could safely...

Kroc’s Great Gift

Joan Kroc, the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of the American dining institution MacDonald’s, died a very rich woman. Thanks to sales of Big Macs, deep-fried potatoes, and colored corn syrup in water, she was, in fact, a multi-billionaire. Upon her death last year, Kroc’s executors were pleased to announce that the fast-food heir had...

Against Charity

Giving to the needy is supposed to be a virtue. Indeed, it’s once of the sacraments of most religions. In our venal world, being charitable — sharing with those who don’t have what you have — is akin to secular holiness. How much someone gives to charity is a powerful if imprecise barometer of how...