Posts by Peter Gorenstein
- Peter Gorenstein at Daily Ticker1 yr ago
In the 1970s, future shock was a huge issue. Theorists feared that technology was progressing so quickly that people would soon be unable to keep up or even cope. Today, Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and head of Code Literacy at Codecademy, argues that the future is here and what we’re faced with is present shock.
Because of technological advancements, we have a new relationship with time where there is a persistent need for immediacy. Rushkoff claims that we live in “an always-on 'now' where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything.” As a result, our sense of the future, direction, and goals are lost.
“You can go into a shock about it,” Rushkoff tells The Daily Ticker, “where you’re just chasing the moment and responding to every Twitter feed and kind of acting like an air traffic controller.”
We are constantly on our phones, trying to figure out if anything better is happening somewhere else. We expect political action immediately. We want answers before they even exist. The idea of a slow, linear life is all but gone.
- Peter Gorenstein at My Family Business1 yr ago
Think pineapple and Hawaii probably comes to mind. Which is why it might be surprising to learn that though the 50th state led pineapple production in the 1960's, Hawaii doesn't even rank in the top ten global producers now. But Lisa and Craig Bowden have a plan to change all that.
They have a tiny company, less than 20 employees and their business Hawaiian Crown is the last and only family-owned commercial pineapple farm in the state. But what Hawaiian Crown lacks in size, it more than makes up for in spirit. Even though Lisa and Craig may be outgunned by produce giants, they have still managed to invest more than $3 million and 20 years of research and development.
"Pineapple has a very special place in Hawaii as a symbol of hospitality," says Craig Bowden. Yet, quality and quantity has "declined relative to cheaper, lower cost sources around the world."
Five years after the market peaked, the housing market remains depressed. October new home sales, released this morning, totaled 307,000, slightly below estimates. Meanwhile, prices rose slightly.
But, as your real estate broker will happily mention - 'Now is a great time to buy!' Unlike 2007, when that obviously was not the case for most, now it might actually be true. Ironically, the reluctance for many to buy a home is what makes it a good (relatively) time to purchase.
Earlier this week "Dr. Doom" Nouriel Roubini andCurrency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis author James Rickards got into a war of words on Twitter over the return of the gold standard. (Read the exchange.)
As Rickards explained last week on The Daily Ticker, he believes a return to the gold standard will do a lot to fixing the current troubles in the global financial system and the U.S. economy.
In the accompanying interview with Aaron Task, Roubini continues to disavow Rickards of his claim.
Congress is once again at an impasse and running out of time to make a deal to lower the country's debt, according to wide spread reports. The so-called 12-member congressional "super committee" is still split along party lines on how to cut $1.2 trillion from the budget over the next decade. The group has a November 23 deadline to come an agreement.
"I don't read more into the hour-to-hour, day-to-day reports than you should," saysJack Lew the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the accompanying interview with The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Daniel Gross.
With Europe in serious crisis over their rising borrowing costs and this summer's debt downgrade, U.S. lawmakers are very well aware of the stakes.
Will it allow for compromise? Lew thinks so.
In another sign of America's fiscal mess, Jefferson County, Alabama filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history on Wednesday. The most-populous county - home of Birmingham - defaulted on more than $3 billion of debt related to a sewer system project after negotiations with creditors broke down.
The biggest loser - besides the locals - is JPMorgan Chase, the largest Jefferson County creditor who may lose hundreds of millions. It's not the first time the largest U.S. bank by assets, has had problems with this deal. In 2009, JPMorgan paid a $722 million settlement with the SEC over corruption charges related to the project.
Erin Brockovich - the public advocate made famous on the silver screen by Julia Roberts - has a message for the temporary residents of Zuccotti park: Get your act together!
The anger and blame galvanized by the movement is understandable, she says, but without a clear message she's afraid the protest won't yield results. Simply living in a park does not create change.
"We are all frustrated," Brockovich tells Jeff Macke in the accompanying interview. "If you don't get yourself together, collectively with some leadership and message to be conveyed then it just falls on a deaf ear."
Her advice for the Occupy Wall Street protesters: get organized, get a spokesperson and make tangible demands.
Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group stopped by the Daily Ticker set today to give us his take on the never ending and ever escalating European debt crisis now centered on Italy.
First, here's the latest out of Italy where the focus is political: It appears Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's days as head of the government are numbered. Berlusconi failed to get enough support in parliament today to keep his job for much longer. Now, there are reports he will resign after the country's austerity vote.
"He's lost all his political capital," says Bremmer of Berlusconi, noting he's also lost the confidence of the markets, as has been witnessed by the rising yields on short term debt.
Bremmer clearly thinks the European crisis will lead to economic hardship and recession on the other side of the Atlantic, but ultimately he's optimistic about the future of the Euro and Eurozone. As he rightly observes, very few if any important parties in Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, are looking for an exit from their monetary union.
Might we be nearing the bottom of the housing market? Housing prices in the third quarter were essentially flat compared with the previous quarter, according to the latest zillow.com market report. Unfortunately, home prices do continue to fall, and are 4.4% lower when compared to last year.
While that doesn't seem devastating, the number of underwater mortgages remains a major problem. In fact, the percentage of single-family mortgages with negative equity rose to 28.6% fromm 26.8% in the second quarter. Negative equity has been on the rise since the robosigning controversy, says Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist.
"Once that erupted, and the pace of foreclosure slowed down, we saw a notch up in negative equity because essentially foreclosures are a process to clean out negative equity," he says.
Negative equity and unemployment are the biggest factors keeping the housing market depressed, Humphries tells The Daily Ticker in the accompanying video.
When is the carnage going to end? The worst may soon be over. "We're expecting about 3-5% declines before a definitive bottom, which we think would come as early as 2012," he says.
European politicians are running out of time. After more than a year of failing to sufficiently handle the the Greek sovereign debt problem, the crisis is spreading to Italy in a meaningful way. Italy's cost of borrowing rose to its highest rate today - with two-year yields rising to over 6% -- since the country adopted the Euro.
The financial situation is leading to a political crisis in Italy. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is facing mounting to pressure to resign at home. Meanwhile, international markets are looking for the country to take bold steps to get their spending under control.
Why does this matter? That's the topic in the accompanying video segment with The Daily Ticker hosts Aaron Task and Henry Blodget.
1. Italy is the third largest economy in Europe, and by some estimates is the third largest issuer of debt in the world.
2. Italy has EUR167 billion in debt coming due next year alone, the WSJ reports. While they can probably roll that debt over, the question is can it be done at a reasonable interest rate?