Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Quick Comment on the US Economy (economics/politics)

I was at the mall a couple of weeks ago doing some shopping and doing my part to stimulate the economy. Actually, I hate that term. Politicians and CNBC talking heads keep going on and on about stimulating the economy. That, to me, implies that the economy is like some stalled car that just needs some minor adjustments. I don't buy that. I think the engine is completely under water and totaled. Even if the original model did work (which I question), I feel that it is certainly broken now by the events of the last five years.

To use another analogy, the current belief is similar to saying the economy is like some dominoes set up where we just need to stimulate it by tipping over that first domino, and the rest will continue falling. My view is that given what has happened, people are far from incentivized to keep those dominoes falling. The setup itself is broken.

Anyway, back to the mall. So I'm in Foot Locker trying to buy a new pair of basketball shoes. I see all these Nikes, classified by LeBrons, Kobes, Jordans, etc. None of them looked like they would actually be great for basketball. Is this what the kids are buying these days at $150 a pop? So I ask one of the salespeople which are the most durable basketball shoes, considering that I actually plan to play in them. Obviously noone has asked such a question before, so he went and asked another salesperson which of the shoes are durable. Her response? "What does that word even mean, durable?"

Which leads me to wonder how we can classify this economy of ours? Are we a service economy? Because such lack of knowledge about the product doesn't feel much like service to me. Are we a manufacturing economy? Seems like the majority of the stuff we manufacture is not practical if the basketball shoes we are selling are not really good for basketball. I guess we're just the economy where we're trying to sell anything we can to the next schmuck (like our debt and money printing). Sooner or later, we're going to run out of schmucks to buy our crap, right?

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