Busted: Bankers and The Global Economy

November 1, 2010

“Economic Shock Therapy” by Corporate Oligarchy

In her new book, Naomi Klein describes the economic process and consequences of multinational politics inflicting capitalist theory on the world. In essence, after moments of crisis, new answers are touted through the regression of human rights in exchange for corporate economic “therapy”. Privatization of “government function,” as in the case of Blackwater and Deloitte, are typical exploits to get around temporary blockades of policy, politically sanctioned as in the case of the Federal Reserve. A radical example of this disaster therapy is the result of Hurricane Katrina, where “the hand of God” is what made the restoration of a better New Orleans possible by removing the people.

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April 1, 2010

Don’t Get Taken by Pyramid & Ponzi Schemes

What are some of the similarities and differences between ponzi and pyramid schemes?

Pyramid schemes and ponzi schemes are closely related. They both involve paying longer-standing members with money from new participants, instead of actual profits from investing or selling products to the public. Here are some common differences:

Pyramid Scheme
Ponzi Scheme
Typical “hook” Earn high profits by making one payment and finding a set number of others to become distributors of a product. The scheme typically does not involve a genuine product. The purported product may not exist or it may only be “sold” within the pyramid scheme. Earn high investment returns with little or no risk by simply handing over your money; the investment typically does not exist.
Payments/profits Must recruit new distributors to receive payments. No recruiting necessary to receive payments.
Interaction with original promoter Sometimes none.  New participants may enter scheme at a different level. Promoter generally acts directly with all participants.
Source of payments From new participants – always disclosed. From new participants – never disclosed.
Collapse Fast.  An exponential increase in the number of participants is required at each level. May be relatively slow if existing participants reinvest money.

What steps can you take to avoid schemes and other investment frauds?

When you consider your next investment opportunity, start with these questions:

  • Is the seller licensed?
  • Is the investment registered?
  • How do the risks compare with the potential rewards?
  • Do I understand the investment?

Many ponzi schemes share common characteristics. Look for these warning signs:

  • High investment returns with little or no risk. Every investment carries some degree of risk. Investments yielding higher returns typically involve more risk. Be highly suspicious of any “guaranteed” investment opportunity.
  • Overly consistent returns. Investments tend to go up and down over time, especially those seeking high returns. Be suspect of an investment that continues to generate regular, positive returns regardless of overall market conditions.
  • Unregistered investments. Ponzi schemes typically involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC or with state regulators. Registration is important because it provides investors with access to key information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances.
  • Unlicensed sellers. Federal and state securities laws require investment professionals and their firms to be licensed or registered. Most ponzi schemes involve unlicensed individuals or unregistered firms.
  • Secretive and/or complex strategies. Avoiding investments you don’t understand or for which you can’t get complete information is a good rule of thumb.
  • Issues with paperwork. Ignore excuses regarding why you can’t review information about an investment in writing, and always read an investment’s prospectus or disclosure statement carefully before you invest. Also, account statement errors may be a sign that funds are not being invested as promised.
  • Difficulty receiving payments. Be suspicious if you don’t receive a payment or have difficulty cashing out your investment. Keep in mind that ponzi scheme promoters sometimes encourage participants to “roll over” promised payments by offering even higher investment returns.

January 31, 2009

Unemployment and Government Stimulus

economic-ideaAs Digital Economy has previously noted, the heralded stimulus plan is mostly a safety net for government services, government jobs and the disadvantaged, including the recently unemployed. What is the current ‘$825 billion’ stimulus plan going to do for the recent numbers of jobless Americans?

• $43 billion for increased unemployment benefits. Weekly benefits will go up by $25 a week and the amount of time the unemployed may claim them will be extended by at least 20 weeks, plus another 13 weeks for those in high-unemployment states.

• $39 billion for expanded health care benefits for the unemployed. The federal government will reimburse states to extend Medicaid coverage for the jobless through Dec. 31, 2010. For those who want to keep their old employer’s insurance plan, the government will subsidize their Cobra payments – paying 65% up to 12 months. Cobra eligibility will be extended for some groups of workers.

• $20 billion to increase food stamp payments by 13%. For a family of four, that means an average increase of $79 a month – from $588 now to $667 if the current legislation passes.

internet-personal-businessThe largest opportunity for economic growth, especially for small business and the individual in these times, remains on the internet segment of the digital economy. In other words, Americans need to get creative and found a personal small business based on solid business principles while employing creativity. I am not referring to internet hype or ‘affiliate business’ that has become the rage and plague of the internet. The fact remains that you cannot depend on Wall Street or Main Street Corporate America for your livelihood. Counter to the intuition of business activity and the economy, the internet remains a bright spot for many, Amazon.com among them. ~ E. Manning

October 18, 2008

Innovation Needed in a Time of Crisis

Filed under: banking, economy, money — Tags: , , , , , , — digitaleconomy @ 1:02 am

The financial crisis is really hurting because people have no idea where things are going. Who is hurting worse is subject to debate, but the U.S. housing industry is clearly one flashpoint, not only in pricing value, but in production. The economic outlook has darkened with new negative reports on lay offs and consumer confidence fears in the business world. Finally, economists are beginning to admit that a recession has been in place since the end of last year as the evidence becomes crystal clear to even the most stubborn bull mentality. There is little good news, but plenty of opportunity. The American taxpayer just needs a little cooperation.

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