To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
Sometime today, Barataria will hit 3 million total pageviews. Over 6 2/3 years that averages out to 37k per month or 2.7k per post. The views came from regular readers, social media promotion, search engine arrivals, and more than a few people who stumbled in accidentally. Things are pretty tough for me right now, so if you like what you’ve read I’d very much appreciate a donation (which may get my car a new alternator) to help keep this effort going!
But what matters most are you, the readers, because without you there’d be no point to writing at all. The ideas and perspectives I spend time thinking through only come to life after you’ve read and responded, refining them and making them better. It’s a good time to go over this strange year, 2013, to find what conclusions we’ve come to as a community – and to ask you where you think this should go!
Tuesday is scheduled to be the day that everything changes. Not everything, really, but it’s the day that the “Volcker Rule” will finally go into effect. “Leave the capital markets to their own devices without any expectation of government protection and keep the existing safety net for the commercial banking system,” Volcker said in 2009. In practice, this means that commercial banking, with deposits backed by the FDIC, have to be separated from stock trading and similar activities.
It’s not the Glass-Steagall Act, which required completely separate kinds of banks operating as different companies to perform the different kinds of investing. But it’s not bad. And if it sounds simple in principle the regulation authorized by Dodd-Frank takes 800 pages. Four years from its proposal and 3 years from its passage, it’s ready to roll out. How will it go?
The economic news this week has been amazing – at least five pieces of news that show that 2013 is shaping up to be the year that sets the foundation for a strong restructuring, as predicted here last January. It’s hard to run it all down without getting a little breathless, so … hold on to something …
The economic teachings of Pope Francis are a hot topic. People feel a need to weigh in on what he said whether they understand it or not. But it’s the simple fact that so many don’t understand where this comes from that is probably the most important point in the public debate.
To sum it up: Money should work for people, and not the other way around. That shouldn’t be controversial, but having forgotten this way of looking at things is may be at the heart of economic and social cycles. The simple answer is that it’s time we remembered. More to the point, that philosophy is at the heart of American tradition going back to our earliest days.
Black Friday. It’s worth $59B in sales this year, if you believe the projections. More importantly, it’s a financial and cultural reference point, the day when the Holiday Shopping Season officially starts.
But Black Friday is really a state of mind.
The psychology of the day is what matters most, as the excitement and crowds fueled by a small number of loss leaders gets people to spend far more than they otherwise should on other not-so-great deals in the stores. That’s how shoppers are manipulated by a system that sees them as nothing more than pawns to be used up on a game where the take on one day is really just a way of keeping score.