Thursday, June 11, 2015

Explaining Today's Retail Sales Report

It all comes down to the rising popularity of 'Asian-American Doll'.

Need proof? SHLD lost another 3.3% today. Do they stock the doll? I think not.

You won't find this level of actionable hard-hitting analytical investigative business journalism elsewhere. Okay, maybe you will. Journalism has generally been going down the toilet for years, lol. Sigh.

I rest my case.


Troy said...

I discovered a fundamental inconsistency of global capitalism last week putting together my PC.

The pricing I was paying was much lower vs either my valuation of the good or what it would cost me to construct it from its component parts.

For just $800 I will have a new PC that will hopefully serve well for say 8 years, for many hours a day.

Back in 1989 I valued that service at well over $5000, and that's 1980s money.

And on the goods side, how long would I have to labor to construct an i5-4960, or the z97-ud3h-bk MB?

I paid just $400 for this combo, but at $2 per hour Chinese wages hand labor would take maybe a solid decade to fabricate this.

So the illusion of prosperity isn't entitrely true, we are much more wealthy now than the 1980s.

Problem is other sectors of our economy have expanded to rake the available rents.

Stagflationary Mark said...


So the illusion of prosperity isn't entitrely true, we are much more wealthy now than the 1980s.

"We", meaning you and I as heavy users of computer technology, are definitely wealthier than we were in the 1980s. I'm not sure the factory worker who was replaced by automation (and/or outsourcing) would share your sentiments though, especially if he's underwater on his mortgage and is now living on food stamps. Sigh.

Wealth redistribution can be a real bitch in a rising income inequality world, pardon my language.

Troy said...

The more we virtualize our economy, the less wealth we lose to the 'friction' of physical wear and tear and consumption of resources, so the more 'spins' a given unit of wealth can be traded among service providers before it is lost.

This decoupling from the physical does alter the economic playing field in rather radical ways.

First they came for the textile workers . . .

People gotta skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it was 50 years ago.

And we're going to need Big Government to forcibly reconfigure the economy to work better for more people.

I worded that vaguely since I don't have a firm vision of what needs to be done, but it'd be nice if both blue & red teams could start pushing in the same direction instead of the 24/7 p*ing match we've been having since 1990 or so.

Stagflationary Mark said...


One thing that concerns me over the long-term is just how discretionary a service economy can be. It doesn't take much to turn a healthy service economy into an unhealthy one.

When push comes to shove, few *need* to eat in a restaurant, have maid service, visit nail salons, and have their landscaping done by others.

Heck, I don't even need to have push come to shove. I can simply imagine it happening in the future and be frugal in the present just in case, much like I've been doing since retiring.

Plan for the near worst. Hope for the near best. Life is generally filled with pleasant surprises with that attitude. Sure beats planning for the near best and hoping for the near worst anyway, lol.

As I've said before, good thing everyone doesn't share my mindset or the service economy would be toast.