Carnival of the Capitalists

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Here it is folks – This week’s Carnival of the Capitalists! This is a much longer post than usual because it contains many, many posts from a great many blogs that all have something or another to do with capitalism, business or economics. Some have a decidedly “green” overtone to them, and some very much not. Some lefty, some right. I’ve tried to categorize them a bit and added a little editorial of my own on occasion. Each post is a short summary that will link to the original post on the original blog. There’s a lot of reading here, just in time for Monday! Oh, and Happy Halloween! Read on for the carnival…

Economics & Markets

From City HippyThe Starbucks Challenge – The Starbucks Challenge has successfully placed Starbucks under a global microscope and they have risen to the challenge admirably. Business in general must learn to live in a world of devolving and globalising activism.
InsureBlogActuaries miss too… Seems that a lot of insurance companies guessed wrong on the true growth of medical costs the last year or two. This post explains how, and why it’s important.
The Skeptical Optimist makes some interesting observations on the calculation of the National Debt: “The debt surpassed $8 trillion and the GDP surpassed $12.3 trillion. Result: no change in the USA’s debt burden.”
From Lipsticking, a Women’s Marketing Blog: Women are amazing business owners — and still the Queens of hearth and home. Did you know we buy the same products for our offices as we buy for our homes? Read more about how we shop — online.
Lucy MacDonald at R.E.A.L. Marketing presents Five Ways to Make Time for Marketing.

Political Calculations
offers us a very interesting demographic breakdown of “who’s running small businesses in America
Evelyn Rodriquez:You don’t need to be a marketer to raise $700,000” “Typically high-profile executives win the Community Foundation of Silicon Valley’s top prize for philanthropy. But this time a 16-year-old boy galvanized people with his vision and is being honored with the award. And that’s just one story in this post of being drawn forth by a vision of “the beautiful and the authentic, for experiences that challenge what we know, for ideas that show us the world from a new angle.”
Elisa Camahort at Worker Bees Blog presents The Myth of “Customer-Friendly” – specifically about blogs.
Brandon Berg of Catallarchy writes on the difference between social mobility and social movement. He further argues that social mobility should be expected to level off in a perfectly meritocratic society.
Datum reports: New Fed Chairman Ben Bernake has some complex and interesting viewpoints on deflationary recession, the “printing press” theory in particular… it’s very interesting.
More on Bernake – The Business Editors- Why a much-loathed British politician will be responsible for the Fed’s new policy.
The watchful Investor has more to say about Bernake in an article entitled “Inflation Hawks”.
So – “The big debate over Ben Bernanke, the US Federal Reserve chairman-designate, is whether he will be a hawk or a dove. It doesn’t really matter, though, as the biggest obstacle to sound US monetary policy is the man in the White House, something Bernanke can’t control. History will reserve a sad place for the next Fed boss; and it won’t be his fault”. – So says The Prudent Investor here.
Sammler at The Stone City presents The Great Motivator- or “How Fear Drives Economic Growth”.
Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur’s Journey presents Online Marketing Outside The Box.
Coyote Blog talks about the troubling “Payday Loan” industry, which some consider to be a parasitic group, that nonetheless does satisfy the needs of an underserved market. However – Phoenix is now moving to limit the number of Payday Loan stores that may operate in the market. Ironically, by limiting competition among them, they are likely to become worse, not better!
Conor Friedersdorf at Beyond Borders Blog presents Costs and Benefits of US/Mexican border issues.
Econbrowser: The latest GDP figures, particularly real final sales, are quite good news.

Advice

Brian Gongol: How three big lessons people take away from “The Apprentice” are dead wrong.
Jim Logan on The Easiest Way On Earth To Earn Fierce Customer Loyalty. And It’s Free. — If you’re in business of any sort you know the power, wealth, and tremendous value of having loyal customers. And there’s an incredibly easy and inexpensive way to earn and keep loyal customers.
Business Pundit – “A list of questions to consider before decision making “moments of truth.”
Tim Wostall gives us an interesting look at how foreign laws apply to blogs.
Slow Leadership: Taking Control of Your Time – Here’s a technique for dealing with the distraction of a horrendous to-do list, based on an idea from The Joy of Laziness: Why Life Is Better Slower — and How to Get There by Peter Axt and Michaela Axt-Gadermann.
The Coyote Within brings us a funny story about the risks of spreading oneself too thin by multitasking too much.
Random Thoughts from a CTO reminds us: “Are you just being very busy but don’t think you are spending quality time? It’s not how much you do, but the amount of effort and quality you put into your tasks.”
Jane Dough of Boston Gal’s Open Wallet details how she found a way to afford a single family home in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
Jack Yoest suggests: “Never Give a Bureaucrat a Chance to Say No
Marketing eYe Story of the Little Blue Books – How to double the sales of a lagging product: lessons learnt from the story of the little blue books
How to make the most of your retirement dollars: FMF at Free Money Finance presents Seven Ideas for Maximizing Retirement Savings.
BigPictureSmallOffice has some amusing intereveiw stories – “The interview process is tough enough without being stupid about it. Here are three stories about candidates who missed the point, including one who almost missed his appointment.“
LifeHack on “The Real Rules of Engagement” “An article about workplace order and some of the basic agreements we should bring to the workplace which nurture ultimate professionalism.
And what about bad customer service? David Daniels suggests true open communications through the effective use of blogging and technology is the antidote to bad customer service.

Investments

Big Picture gets us thinking about “Savings Gluts” if they even exist, and their effects on global trade imbalance.
Harvey Multani: A quick guide to technical analysis in the market.
Abnormal Returns Has a piece on the difficulties associated with forecasting most anything associated with an investment.
Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade presents The Best Idea About Applying for a Mortgage.
Interested-Participant on The IPO Price Slide: “There’s nothing new in asserting that investors should be somewhat skeptical of IPOs (initial public offering), in general, and IPO hype, in particular, but it doesn’t hurt to provide the occasional reminder. The Independent reports on three recent examples of companies in the UK whose stock didn’t meet expectations after initial issuance.”
Roth & Company: Why do high-income returns usually report business income? “Most high-income taxpayers report some business income on their returns. Instapundit suggests it may be due to the growth of the e-bay economy. This post has the rest of the story: a fundamental change in how businesses choose to be taxed.”
Old Niu: “In the world of investing, we all know the principle of higher risk, high return. If you want to achieve a return beyond the low rate paid for the FDIC insured deposits, you have to take certain risk. What if I tell you that there is an investment that offers you a large portion of the upside of a certain stock market or a segment, but there is no downside risk? I know what you are thinking: too good to be true, right? Well, let me introduce this investment in this post, and then in Part 2, I will discuss how to use it to achieve different investment objectives.” Read on.
David Porter at Pacesetter Mortgage Blog presents “Stated Income” Mortgage Loans are bad for America http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/3480957 also: a Mortgage Pre-Approvals create problems for many Realtors.

On Gasoline and Transport

Multiple Mentality – Some say the simple solution to dealing with high gas prices, is, don’t drive so much! But the author gives us a reality check in that most of the US, it’s just not posible to avoid driving. He also suggests density becomes economically inefficient. My Comments – I disagree with the “Density is inefficient”… it’s just way more complex than that. He’s absolutely right though, about the pickle the country is in about transportation. Out infrastructure is so spread out, it will be 50 years before most people have alternatives to “driving so much”, and I think that a wise mix of density, walk ability, and transit mix is the way to go… but that’s another topic.
“I want to live where there is price gouging” is the satirical title to Et Tu Bloge‘s piece on recent events in Alabama concerning the price of gasoline. Apparently, a gas station owner has been charged by an act called the “Unconscionable Pricing” act with charging too much for a gallon of gas. My comments – I can see laws like Alabama’s making sense in times of dire emergencies, but in this case it seems like they really went too far – why can’t we let the real price of gasoline be decided without massive government (and that includes military (*ahem* Iraq war) involvement? We’ll never get unhooked from the stuff if we keep meddling with the economics. Is America ready for high gas prices? Evidently it still freaks people out.
MoverMike: It’s about Oil Shortage, Not Price! If one hurricane hitting the tip of Yucatan could slow the Mexican economy by 1/4 of one percent, what do Katrina, Rita and Wilma do to the US, especially when it shuts down 25% of our oil production?
Photon Courier brings us a review of a book about the railroad industry, as seen from the front lines.

Uncategorized

Fat Pitch Financials – When do strong brands NOT lead to sustainable competitive advantages?
From RethinkIP: The biggest problem managing invention is bias. Not overt “I’m going to crush your skull because I hate you” bias, but instead bias that is made up of the compounding of ordinary little negative assumptions that crop up in IP management. These are the cultural assumptions, sociological assumptions, and psychological assumptions that educated, smart, busy people agree about without realizing any agreements have been made. I’m going to call the kind of bias that chills invention ‘invisibias.’ Read on.
New Millennium Minds brings us a very in depth critique of the Search Engine Optimization industry.
Speaking of SEO, expert Graham Hansell explains the basics of Search Engine Optimization for programmer/web designer Mike Weissberger. This post by Alane by Day is an inside look at how strategic key words in the structure of a website significantly increase the site’s relevancy ranking. In other words, this is a post on how to be found by Google.
Blog Business World gives us a solid article on increasing subscriber numbers to Email Newsletters.
Barry Welford at BPWrap – A Different Point Of View presents Can Graphic Designers Do Website Design?.
Cold Spring Shops has a piece on Electric Power Deregulation. A local radio station did a three-part broadcast on electric power deregulation. This post links to all three broadcasts, including one interviewing the weblog owner, as well as providing a summary of the topics that had to be omitted owing to time constraints.
Back to the internet – Christopher Carfi of “The Social Customer Manifesto asks – What is Google Base? It appears to be a dead-easy online database creation capability within Google. Google Base will surely be useful for storefront owners, classified-ad-placers, and the lovelorn to put up structured information. However, there are two additional cases where Google Base may be useful: for delivering very “focused” applications as well as for delivering applications that are only designed to exist for a short period of time. Think of these as cases of Chris Anderson’s “Long Tail” concept, but applied to software.
Lively Debate> – Exploring the cognitive dissonance involved with being a protectionist Republican.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He was instrumental in the creation of TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years as well as an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.