After Halloween, James (left) has discovered the value of a barter economy. Lucia (right) looks on in awe.
Welcome to the second installment of "Invest with James," in which we learn about money, personal finance, and investing through the budding example of my almost-six-year-old son, James, who loves money and all that is associated with it.
Yesterday was Halloween, a day that is like Christmas, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Rio Carnival all rolled into one for my children. My daughter, Lucia, plans for Halloween in an elaborate, multi-phased way, months in advance, that culminates in the Big Night.
James had been more of a bystander. But this year, he discovered that there's something of value in Halloween. And that something is called "candy."
Of course, he knew about the candy. But this year, rather than just eat it, he recognized it for the first time as a medium of exchange and an opportunity to create a market. Yes, this was the first year that he sat down with his sister to trade the sugary haul.
tomblanton1957/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)
An Occupy Wall Street image for Bank Transfer Day.
Even though Bank of America has made the unusual decision to rescind its proposed $5 debit-card fee, apparently bowing to the consumer revolt that this fee provoked, plenty of customers may still move their accounts to credit unions and community banks on Bank Transfer Day this Saturday. Credit unions are launching efforts to promote themselves to prospective depositors; some are also expanding their banking hours.
There's skepticism that customers really will migrate from big banks to small banks en masse; a previous attempt to spur a revolt, promoted by the Huffington Post, didn't have much impact. And even if hundred of thousands of customers make the move, that's unlikely to significantly damage large banks, like BofA, Wells Fargo, and Chase, which have billions in deposits. There would need to be a Bank Transfer Day...pretty much every day to make a difference.
Person using debit card
MF Global, the bankrupt wannabe global investment bank run by Goldman Sachs alum and former New Jersey governor Job Corzine, may have been mixing client money with its own funds, a definite no-no: "'While we are unable to determine the precise scope of the firm's violation at this time, we are investigating the circumstances of the firm's failure,'" [Chicago Mercantile exchange CEO Craig] Donohue said in a conference call about his company's quarterly financial results. (LAT)
Henry Blodget still wants to be the CEO of Yahoo, but now he wants the board to resign — because that's what Steve would demand: "Steve [Jobs] taught many people many things, and one of the things he has now taught me is that you need to set your terms upfront. Especially when dealing with a board that is, slowly but surely, destroying a once-great company." (BI)
[Note: This is fully SFW, but there's no shortage of double entendre.] Kim Kardashian has been married to New Jersey Net Kris Humphries for a mere 3-months but will soon be married no more.
Luckily, she has a promising career ahead as an economist. So says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in the above video. I make no claims for its accuracy, but Kardashian is probably what you would call a born capitalist, so why not? I hear there's an opening at the Kansas City Fed, and post-divorce, Kim may want a change of scenery.
Make sure you stick around for the end, when Ben and Kim discuss quantitative easing and Chinese ownership of U.S. assets.
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure all 217 views of this on YouTube originated at 20th and Constitution in our nation's capital.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 01: Protesters hold signs after a march to Los Angeles City Hall during the "Occupy Los Angeles" demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York City on October 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The protesters slogan, "We are the 99 percent," calls attention to the fact that marchers are not part of the one percent of Americans who hold a vast portion of the nation's wealth. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
I've been meaning to link to this post from a wonky econoblog, The Slack Wire, for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it. Given that I haven't posted about the Occupy Movement for a week or so, it seems like a good time:
The key thing is that at one point, large businesses really were run by people who, while autocratic within the firm and often vicious in defense of their privileges, really did identify with the particular businesses they managed and focused their energy on their survival and growth, and even on the sheer disinterested desire to do their kind of business well. You can find a few businesses that are still run like this -- I've been meaning to write a post on Steve Jobs -- but by far the dominant ethos among managers today is that a business exists only to enrich its shareholders, including, of course, senior managers themselves. Which they have done very successfully....