keeping the economy honest

Category Archives: current events

Priests and Child Abuse

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia just suspended 21 Roman Catholic Priests suspected of child molestation.   I don’t want to judge anyone, just want to make an observation. I thought Priests are holy men who possess the best understanding of church teachings. They’re moral and compassionate like Jesus whom they devote their lives for, they are probably closer to God than the average person, they’re like the Phds of the meaning of life.   So if a group of doctors who graduated from the same medical school claim to be experts on medicine and their patients keep dying, you would probably think the teachings of this medical school probably doesn’t reflect the best understanding of medical science.  So I’m just saying medicine is complex, extraordinary healers need extraordinary track record.


New York Times costs Nelly Furtado $1M

The New York Times reported that Nelly Furtado made $1 million for her performance for the Gadhafi family in 2007 for a 45min performance.  After the report came out, Furtado said she will donate the $1 million to charities.  I have to give her props for donating the money, because she obviously didn’t want to.   We all knew who Gadhafi was in 2007.  You had to know that to be paid $1.33 million/hour, there had to be something UP… nobody with a government salary would spend like that.  The same way that Canadian oil companies in Libya knew that their business also had to contribute to Gadhafi’s regime.   The same way that when Wall Street CEOs gets millions in severance for running their companies to the ground, you had to know there’s something UP.  But it’s all legal because that’s the system we live in and we all play the same game.  I mean that’s why Celebrities are so appealing because it’s a sweet gig and you make easy money.  That’s why I give Nelly Furtado props for donating the whole amount despite her intentions, because she really didn’t have to…  We need to change the system.

The Oscar goes to…. Inside Job

Watching the Oscars wasn’t a complete waste of time because it finally made me watch the Inside Job.  If you’re not in top 0.1% of the previous post, then you should probably watch it too because you’re getting screwed by them. Like I said in the previous post,  generally people can take a lot of injustice and unfairness before they start doing something about it.  I guess we still haven’t reached that point of outrage.

Food prices at record high

Two interesting pieces of news.  First, food prices reached a record high in January according to UN, which has been a main factor for the latest unrest in Middle East.  Second, countries such as Gulf states, China and South Korea are buying land mostly in Africa to grow crops in search of food securities.  It seems ironic to me that Sudan and Ethiopia are part of these deals to export crops to foreign nations while their own countries have famines.  If foreign investments bring latest farming technologies to allow more efficient farming, then it could be a good deal.  But it’s only good, if what you get out of it is more than what you can produce at your own less efficient methods on the same land.

Who wants to be a dictator at 82?

Ok, I can understand if you have never been a dictator before, then it might be cool to be the King of a real country at any age.  But, not if you have been the dictator already for 30 years.  Who wants to put up with angry mobs and constant assassination attempts at 82, especially when you can simply step down and not get tried?  I think at 82, it’s about time to reap the fruits of the 30 year dictatorship.

But seriously, the riots in Egypt should be a concern for all of us, because the uprising is the result of a society that has been plagued with  poverty, unemployment, rising food prices and the huge disparity between rich and poor.  Demand for jobs and food is the root cause and demand for democracy is the Egyptians’ solution for those problems.  40% of Egypt’s 80 million residents live in poverty.  When people get desperate and have nothing to lose, riot and social unrest follows.  Social inequality is a tough problem for any dictatorship or democracy to solve.  China has been peaceful without democracy, because the economy and standard of living of the regular people have been improving.  But social inequality has been rising along with China’s economic output.  Income inequality is also rising in the western world and the greatest income gap between rich and poor among Western industrialized nations is found in the U.S.

Regis is not happy with less than $18-$20 million per year

Apparently Regis quit because he’s not happy when offered less salary for his new contract.  The show’s producers offered lower salary due to lower ratings.  Ok, even if the show didn’t get lower ratings, the network should have negotiated the salary long time ago.  I’m sure they can find some quality host who can do the job for half of Regis’s salary.  You’re probably thinking that Regis is the star of the show and no one can replace him to the same extent.  I agree, granted, a lot of people watch the show for Regis and if they brought in another host, the show will probably have a lower rating.

Let’s say, the new guy is happy to work for $5 million a year and the show had 25% less rating.  But the $13-$15 million savings is straight network’s profit and probably will compensate more than enough the lost advertising revenues.  Or the network can keep the same profit and pass on the  $13-$15 million savings to the advertisers.  That’s probably a great deal for the adverstsers.  I don’t think 25% more rating will necessarily translate to more than $13-$15 millions more in business for the advertisers which is how much they have to spend for 25% higher rating.

Anyway, all these numbers are made up and have no basis in any inside knowledge of TV show production.  But my point is that this is how free market is supposed to work and free market should decide the fair compensation of the TV show host, but is not fully tested out.  It’s like the chef in the chinese restaurant can never make too much more than his worth because the owner will replace the chef faster than chinese fast food if the chef starts to demand excessive compensation.  But it’s much easier to exercise free market in small business, on a smaller scale, and to test out competition.