Stories of Decade: The Great Recession

December 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

2009 could have very well been called the year of the near-Depression. All the economic indicators had pointed to a level of economic stagnation, not seen since the Great Depression. Fortunately, the U.S. Federal Reserve as well as central banks around the world was able to steer the global economy clear of fierce economic headwinds helping the world avoid a second depression. But the story does not end there. In order for the Federal Reserve to get the U.S. economy out of the economic quagmire, the institution has had to enact monetary measures so great that they are beyond the scope of economic understanding. As these unprecedented measures (such as basically giving the dollars away for free) are all reactive rather than preventive, there will definitely be consequences–grave and unprecedented. In short, hyper-inflation is coming and people (in the U.S. at least) should be ready for it.

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Halloween is universal?

October 29, 2010 § 5 Comments

Halloween is the world’s fastest growing holiday. What is the reason behind this? Halloween is one of those consumption holidays beloved by businesses. In the U.S., the occasion is the year’s second most bankable day. Apparently, retailers in other countries don’t want to miss out on such a lucrative event; they are actively promoting Halloween as a universal holiday. I mean everyone loves an adorable ghost, right?

Stories of the Decade: Economic Crises

October 8, 2010 § 2 Comments

Historically, each decade has produced at least one major economic crisis. In the 1970s, we had the Oil Crisis and subsequent Stagflation (combined high inflation and unemployment). In the 1980s, we had the Debt Crisis, a stock market crash, and the Savings and Loan Crisis. In the 1990s, we had the Asian Financial Crisis. In this decade, we have had to endure the Dot Com Crash (started in the 1990s) and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. The impacts of these two events on the world economy were quite severe. The Dot Com Crash caused tech-focused NASDAQ Composite to lose almost 80% of its value in just one year, effectively wiping out trillions of dollars in asset value. The Subprime Crisis has been just as unforgiving. The world financial system nearly crashed as a result of the housing bust, and the U.S. economy has lost millions of jobs during the current recession.

What has been the cause of all these financial and economic crises? The answer is human greed. As long as greed still exists, we will continue to suffer from more of these crises in the future.

Job interviewer vs. interviewee

September 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

Job interviews are among the most difficult and stressful events in one’s life. This is true for both the interviewee and interviewer. The interviewee obviously wants to make the best possible impression to enhance his or her chance of getting the job. The interviewer aims to learn as much about the candidate as possible, so the correct hiring decision is made.

The added problem for the interviewer is the fact that there isn’t much known about the candidate, except for the unverified information provided in the candidate’s resume. Due to these reasons, interview questions are intentionally crafted in a way that would allow recruiters to gauge a candidate’s true ability and level of experience.

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Economic depression avoided?

September 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

2009 could have very well been called the year of the near-Depression. All the economic indicators had pointed to a level of economic stagnation not seen since the Great Depression. Fortunately, the U.S. Federal Reserve as well as central banks around the world was able to steer the global economy clear of fierce economic headwinds helping the world avoid a second depression.

But the story does not end there. In order for the Federal Reserve to get the U.S. economy out of the economic quagmire, the institution has had to enact monetary measures so great that they are beyond the scope of economic understanding. As these unprecedented measures (such as basically giving money away for free) are all reactive rather than preventive, there will definitely be consequences–grave and unprecedented. In short, hyper-inflation is coming and people (in the U.S. at least) should be ready for it.

The rise of China, the fall of human rights

August 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

It is unofficial, but the data seems to indicate that China has finally passed Japan as the second biggest economy in the world. Additionally, the country is expected to surpass the United States in the next decade or two. This news actually makes me pretty sad. As a country becomes more well-off economically, its human rights situation tends to improve. It is safe to say that China will be an anomaly. In fact, the situation will worsen as the authorities are likely to step up their suppression of the Internet, religious freedom, and other basic human rights to confront greater awareness of such.

Health care reforms: winners & losers

March 30, 2010 § 3 Comments

After health care legislation was passed, my inbox was flooded with emails from people who wanted to know how the new law will affect them. As with any major legislation, there are winners and losers. Here is my breakdown of the winners and losers of the new law.

Winners

1) Low-income people: Approximately 32 million people will be added to Medicaid. These people won’t have to pay a dime for health care, in addition to not having to pay any income tax (since they are probably at or around the poverty level). In short, it’s a win-win for them.

2) People with preexisting conditions: The law prohibits insurance companies from rejecting or dropping coverage for people with preexisting conditions.

3) Insurance companies and pharmaceuticals.

Losers

1) Young and healthy individuals: These people will have to buy health insurance or face a hefty fine. As insurance companies are likely to shift the costs of covering people with preexisting or serious conditions onto these individuals, they should expect their premiums to soar. In effect, healthy people will be forced to subsidize insurance coverage of unhealthy people.

2) The unemployed: The legislation mandates that most businesses must provide health care for their employees or face hefty fines. As a consequence, businesses are likely to either layoff workers or suspend new hirings indefinitely (while having existing workers work longer hours and overtime) in an attempt to reduce costs. Expect higher unemployment once mandates come into effect in 2014.

3) The retired: The new law slashes 500 billion dollars from Medicare. The cuts will make Medicare less attractive to physicians and health clinics. Senior citizens will have less choices and benefits.

4)  The States: To accommodate the increased enrollment in Medicaid, states will have to enact painful cuts and increase taxes. Mass layoffs and reduction in public services are expected.

5) Doctors and other health care professionals.

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