Investing, Interest and Consuming

June 23, 2013

An investment expert admonished her interviewer to not count the American consumer out. Here then it seems was what many concerned about the US/world economy needed to know: once spenders resume spending employment will increase; deficits will diminish, and maybe tax rates will decline; once those consumers start consuming again there will be money again even if that money purchases things imported from outside the spenders’ national confines. Money needs to flow.

And where do these consumers get the money they should be spending. Well the financially literate may think that it comes from a hoard of cash that spenders are afraid to spend because no one else is spending, and so that cash may not be replenished, and may run out: so who wants to chance spending.

And who are these spenders, the ones who stubbornly hang onto the cash that could save the economy if it were spent in consuming, buying “stuff”? Well I read recently in a Naked Capitalist article that maybe these potential purchasers live on fixed incomes of interest bearing investments that will increase with interest rates and so be able to take a chance on increased “stuff” purchases. But maybe these fixed income people are by definition, frugal, perhaps even avaricious, and that’s why they patiently endure the low rate of return from fixed income: GI C’s, government bonds; and for the more daring: uninsured dividend paying preferreds.

I also heard some years ago that the real spenders: the one’s who constantly spend all they have are the real consumers, the American consumer, the European consumer, or maybe even the global consumer none of whom can stop spending and save to earn interest or to invest in stocks because the money they receive must keep circulating as they purchase food, shelter, energy often at interest rates of between 19 and 28% just to stay alive.

Machine Versus Outsourcing

What follows was published on Feb. 7, 2013 on Blogspot. I’m putting it out again because for the past two days on BNN I’ve been hearing these themes: what Mr. Bernanke said last week about interest rates, fears about China’s monetary gyrations and dread of its GDP diminishing to 4 %, as though North American and European economies were really Chinese communist economies. Nothing is said about the real financial difficulties facing Western nations: capital being created beyond their borders.

Technology surges while labour falls in its wake.

The Canadian Business News Network recently interviewed an American economic thinker who repeated (reiterated as they say) the view that off shore labour was not taking North Americans’ jobs but that advances in technology were permanently replacing workers with more efficient “means of production,” so that today America was manufacturing more than it ever had.

Off shore labourers are not taking American jobs robots are.

I saw a PBS News Hour show on May 24,2012 about understanding financial news which explained how American workers are being replaced by technology. Videos showed examples of organic things (body parts) now inorganically fashioned by highly intelligent machines. Manufactured goods such as running shoes are shown as products of a computer program that has replaced the American shoe maker. Nothing is said, however, about my Clark shoes labelled made in Vietnam, and purchased last June at Canada’s oldest retailer, American owned Hudson’s Bay Company, nor is there mention of my wife’s recently purchased running shoes with their made in China label, nor my 7 month old once Canadian made Heintzman piano now manufactured in China. The solution of this job loss to technology say those employed at universities is higher education. Again no one dare mention the countless factory workers making pianos,toy trains, shoes, IPads, IPhones, and solar panels in China, telescopes in Taiwan, Korean and Japanese pianos in Indonesia; and other lower wage “off shore” labourers performing tasks that American workers could do without the expense of higher education, or the importing of semi skilled building trades workers from places such as Mexico.