Tag Archives: Business

Knives For Sale On The Boardwalk

The local weekly newspaper, The Maryland Coast Dispatch, published a long interview with Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, beginning on page 8 in the Aug. 30, 2013 edition. It’s well worth a read.

Chief Buzzuro’s comments on one particular issue touched a nerve with me:

“We talk about beer bongs, underage drinking, explicit T-shirts and there are still merchants that sell knives. Why does anyone need to sell knives on the Boardwalk? They are not Swiss Army knives by the way, just for clarification.”

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Is It Economic Contagion? Or Only the Flu?

NOT TO WORRY. IT'S ONLY A BAD DREAM. THIS WALMART WAS BOARDED UP AS A PRECAUTION BEFORE HURRICANE IRENE A FEW YEARS BACK. -- John Hayden photo

NOT TO WORRY. IT’S ONLY A BAD DREAM. THIS WALMART WAS BOARDED UP AS A PRECAUTION BEFORE HURRICANE IRENE A FEW YEARS BACK. — John Hayden photo

February sales are a “total disaster” for Walmart? That’s what the cable news channels report. It must be a slow-news Saturday. Sounds to me like a desperate stretch for a headline. The month is barely half over!

You say Europe is in recession?  Fuh-get about it! Europe is peanuts. Europe went out with the 20th century. Get over Europe, already!  Walmart — now we’re talking important.

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Extreme Advertising

free beer

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November 30, 2012 · 9:06 pm

Truth And Lies About Business And Jobs

Let’s expose a few lies that Americans hold dear.

“Small businesses create most of the jobs.”

TRUTH:  Small businesses are what? SMALL. By definition, small businesses have few employees.

“Small businesses fuel economic growth.”

TRUTH:  Most small businesses FAIL within the first five years. Often within the first year. When they close their doors, they create unemployment.

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Worshipping False Gods — Americans Bow Before Business

Americans worship at the altar of BUSINESS.

The faith was renewed at the Republican Convention. Nearly every speaker gave praise to BUSINESS, voicing both devotion and reverence. Blessed be BUSINESS.

The delegates, all devout practitioners of BUSINESS, rose to their feet and clapped their hands in spontaneous outbursts of adoration. Many are converts from the wretched status of employee. They were more than willing to  share their testimony — how they broke free from the chains of sin and employment, overcame great adversity, and gained salvation through BUSINESS.

Speaker after speaker repeated variations on the central dogma, that everything good  flows from BUSINESS. Only those who join the church of BUSINESS and diligently practice BUSINESS shall be blessed with prosperity all their days. Their children and their children’s children shall inherit the riches of the Earth. Nor shall they fear the Death Tax. Continue reading

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Business Owners Only

Based on the rhetoric, I conclude that all delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa were business owners. Specifically, men and women who built their businesses themselves, from scratch, with their bare hands. Proud people! Independent people who neither need nor accept help, not from God or anybody. The delegates do acknowledge, however,   the positive influence of their parents — impoverished immigrants all — who sacrificed everything so the next generation could be free, business-building Americans. Also allowed on the convention floor were qualified spouses, those who stay at home for the benefit of their home-schooled children.

— John

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Mitt Romney and WaWa: “Amazing”

Mitt Romney’s reaction to WaWa is, in his own words, “Amazing!” The part about WaWa is near the beginning of this three-minute video, and especially at the end. You have to endure a fascinating anecdote about a dentist and government bureaucracy in between, but it’s  worth it.

Mitt Romney appears to be a very knowledgeable CEO in the high-finance business, owner of many mansions and cars, a man who loves dogs and so on.   Continue reading

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Walmart And The American Dream

Creative Destruction, A Photo Story

There used to be a Walmart right here. But it was too small.   Continue reading

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Is this a great time to be a writer, or what?
The title to this repost from David Gaughran’s blog tells exactly what the post is about, and the body of the post gives all the details about direct selling. No need for further comment from me. But I do have a question.
QUESTION: WordPress.com from the beginning has been almost fanatically opposed to advertising by bloggers. (Sorry WordPress, that’s my ONLY criticism of WordPress.com, which is by far the best blogging platform for me.) I believe WordPress.com has probably always made an exception for selling one’s own handmade goods (I might be wrong about that), and I guess handmade goods might include one’s own handwritten books. My question, David, is how is WordPress.com responding to this sudden surge in blogging by Ebook authors? Was WordPress.com OK with your recent sale of 99-cent books? I gather that you and many others are Amazon affiliates, and possibly affiliates of other booksellers as well. Do you think WordPress.com might crack down on this?
BTW, I tried switching my blog over to WordPress.org a few years ago, to gain more freedom, but found the technical hassle not worth the benefit. These days, WordPress will handle all the technical details of the switch for a fee, so it’s much easier now if you want to pay the fee.

— John Hayden

David Gaughran

Selling e-books direct to your readers has just got a little easier, thanks to a new company called Gumroad.

I heard about them through indie author Sarah Billington on Friday, had my store up and running on Saturday, and fully pimped out by Sunday. (Cost = Zero!)

But before we get to that, should you open your own e-bookstore?

Advantages of Selling Direct

The first obvious advantage is higher royalty rates. You can earn a lot more than 70% if you sell direct. I’m making $3.49 on my $3.99 titles (as opposed to $2.70 from Amazon) and I’m getting nearly double the royalties on 99c titles.

On top of that, I can now directly serve readers who face higher charges internationally (such as readers in Amazon’s surcharge zone) and those readers who can’t buy from the major retailers (e.g. Barnes & Noble only serve the US, and Amazon…

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American and European Workers in the New Economy

It’s possible that we’re on the brink of historic collapse. Maybe not the Dark Age that Jane Jacobs suggests in her final book. Maybe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire is not an apt comparison. Maybe it will be more like the decline and fall of the British Empire. Or the breakup of the Soviet Union. Maybe only partial collapse, failure of some systems, here and there.

Is the era of labor-intensive capitalism over in the U.S. and Europe?

You can trace the demise of the factory to decisions made in the 1950s. The actual dismantling of American industry began in the 1970s. By 1982, the process was so advanced that we spoke of the industrial heartland as the “rust belt.”

The remaining labor-intensive parts of American industry were taken apart and exported during the globalization of the 1980s and 1990s. After the manufacturing base was hollowed out to a shell, the next labor-intensive sector to collapse was the construction industry.

Capitalism remains strong. But for the first time, capitalism doesn’t need many workers, at least not in America and Europe. What about the knowledge industry? Won’t that provide jobs? Google is big, but its workforce, not so much. Yes, there will be jobs for the lucky, the talented, the highly educated. But ask a recent college grad how easy it is to find a job.

We have what’s left of retailing. Count the vacant stores at your local mall. Walmart thrives. We have fast food. Many jobs, minimum wage.

The new capitalism is technology-intensive and finance-intensive. And coming soon, computers that “think,” to compete with slow, old-fashioned humans.

As manufacturing jobs slipped away, the financial sector created an illusion of growth and wealth.

The workings of the financial sector are a mystery to me. But the events of the past few years have caused me to view banking and finance with fear and loathing. Based on what little I know, the world financial system — many currencies and fluctuating values, with competing central banks and regulators — is dysfunctional and completely irrational. Finance is a crazy system, more likely to create chaos than order. It’s FUBAR (go ahead, look it up).

The institutions of finance have no soul or conscience to oppose corruption. American banks, corporations and wealthy individuals are awash in money, while average Americans, especially underwater “homeowners,” are awash in debt. For whatever reasons, the wizards of finance refuse to spend or invest.

If high-tech, high-finance, American and European capitalism can profit without much labor input, what happens to the surplus workers?

Economic, political and social systems will have to adapt rapidly, or risk collapse. The European Union looks kind of unstable. In the U.S., some states are financial basket cases. Maybe collapse is happening now.

— John Hayden

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