Let the Good Times Roll. By Jim McNiven
The American and Canadian economies will do well this next year, especially the American. Their consumers, who represent over 70% of that economy’s GDP, should begin to shed their uncertainties and the Federal Reserve won’t raise interest rates. The Canadian economy will go into an election year with the outcome looking close, which means Canadian austerity will relax and its consumers, only representing 50-or so per cent of that economy, will get some breaks. The biggest break for both countries is the collapse of oil prices, which is likely to persist for some years, well after the initial sigh of relief has disappeared from the consumers. It is like a nice, ‘progressive tax cut’ in both countries. Numbers like $750 billion are bandied about in the U.S., a lot more than any Congress could deliver. On top of this, there is a ‘goody’ coming to the travelling well-off, including seniors.
A Man Dies on Reality TV, and Privacy and Permission Collide. By Charles Ornstein
The U.S. reality television show NY Med filmed Mark Chanko’s final moments without the approval of his family. Even though his face was blurred, his Anita wife recognized him on the show. “It was the last clip before the commercial … or as I put it, ‘Watch this man die, now we’re going to sell you some detergent.’”
Just drink it: wine is rarely worth an investment By Karl Storchmann
Investing in fine wines has become increasingly popular over the past few decades as many in the viticulture industry have promoted fermented grapes as a way to boost returns and diversify a portfolio. The rapid rise in public interest has been accompanied by a growing body of economic literature. The evidence suggests it may not be wise to buy wine as investment instead of for drinking. Investing in common stocks yield higher returns in the long run – and is less risky.
Noteworthy: our recommendations from elsewhere on the Internet:
Recommended by F&O contributor Sheldon Fernandez:
Virunga – Official Trailer 2014 from Grain Media on Vimeo.
Playing Dumb on Climate Change. By Naomi Oreskesian, New York Times
When applied to evaluating environmental hazards, the fear of gullibility can lead us to understate threats. It places the burden of proof on the victim rather than, for example, on the manufacturer of a harmful product. The consequence is that we may fail to protect people who are really getting hurt.