Full Work Force Utilization

September 22nd, 2014

Production of goods and services increases, unemployment decreases, and inflation accelerates

Dr. Philip M. Hauser’s and Dr. Leo J. Shapiro’s goal in writing the paper titled “Labor Force Measurements” is to provide the government with measurement methodologies for securing statistics needed to create programs that can achieve full utilization of the nation’s work force.

Read the full report here.

Don’t Confuse Income with Need

September 9th, 2014

Discussions of income inequality must take into account the relationship between a person’s income and their ability to meet financial needs.

People who talk about “income inequality” are often talking about two different things. Some are talking about the number of dollars a person makes, while others are talking about whether a person’s income is adequate to meet their needs.

In America, people in the lowest income group—under $30,000—include 7% who say they have more money than they need to buy what they want. And people with the highest incomes—$100,000 or more—include 11% who say they have less money than they need.

This is an important distinction, because people tend to associate a higher income with an ability to meet financial obligations and buy what they want—but this is not necessarily the case. Relative income is only one measure of inequality.

Survey data was collected online August 1-12, 2014 from a national sample of 543 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

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8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

The Housing Market is About to Boom

August 27th, 2014

Pent-up demand for homes that better meet people’s needs will drive the next big real estate boom.

 Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of a hou...

Obsolescence Drives the Housing Market Boom

The increasing obsolescence of current housing stock and people’s dissatisfaction with their current homes—particularly when it comes to technology—is driving demand for new housing.

Our August survey asked respondents to respond to a hypothetical question: If their house was destroyed and insurance covered its replacement value, would they rebuild it in the same location, with the same design?

41% of respondents said they would rebuild in a different location, and 80% said they would change the design of their new house, not rebuild the same one. Among those who would change the design of their new house, 70% said those changes would involve new technologies.

When asked about the technologies they would want to include in their new home, 80% had a spontaneous answer about which technologies are on their shopping list. Their desired technologies, in order of preference:

Solar power: 17%

Improve alarm system/security: 15%

Energy efficiency: 12%

Smart home: 11%

Smart appliances: 9%

Wireless communications: 7%

Heating/furnace: 6%

Cable: 6%

Central air/cooling/AC: 6%

Better wiring/outlets: 5%

Wi-Fi: 4%

*Full list available on request

If most Americans would change the location, design, and/or technology of their current home, given the opportunity, then current housing stock is not sufficiently addressing people’s needs. Demand for housing that better meets people’s needs will boost the housing market for many years to come, and may well fuel the next big housing boom.

Survey data was collected online August 1-12, 2014 from a national sample of 543 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older.

8Sages will continue to survey Americans on their preferences and expectations and to bring you “Tomorrow’s News Today”. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sages’ RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

Related articles

Americans Want Hillary

August 21st, 2014

Hillary Clinton is the name mentioned most often as the person Americans want for president when Obama’s term ends.

When asked who Americans want as president after Obama’s term is finished, the overwhelming favorite is Hillary Clinton. More than 20% of respondents name Clinton spontaneously as their first choice, which is five times more than the second-place candidate, Mitt Romney, at 4%.

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

Clinton’s strength stems directly from her support from those who align themselves strongly with the Democratic Party. 50% of Americans are Democrats. Of those who described themselves as “strong Democrats,” 34.4% named Hillary as the person they prefer as the next president. Furthermore, 33.5% of respondents who describe themselves “independent Democrats”—that is, people who tend to lean Democratic most of the time but also think of themselves as independents—cited Hillary as their top choice.

By contrast, of the 36% of Americans who describe themselves as strong Republicans, only 11.2% name Mitt Romney as the person they want as the next president. The rest named a number of different possible candidates—Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, etc.—none of whom rose above 2% mentioned.

8Sages will continue to survey Americans as they make decisions on how they will vote in the midterm elections (held this November) and in the 2016 elections. To be sure to receive reports on the results of this research, sign up for 8Sage’s RSS feed or follow this blog to get email updates. Look for the follow button in the lower right corner.

Copyright 2014 by Guidestar LLC. All rights reserved.

Related articles

Microsoft Is Positioned to Compete with Apple

October 28th, 2013

Get Tomorrow’s News Today…

In the past three years Microsoft has not only has achieved profit growth but also has acquired capabilities needed to grow in head-on competition with Apple.

With Steve Ballmer as CEO and Bill Gates as Chairman, Microsoft has developed  the capabilities required to compete with Apple by not only using their home grown talent and also by following the hobo’s recipe for chicken paprika which starts: “First you steal a chicken.”

Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s device division gave Microsoft the ability to manufacture and market cell phones and related products as well as the patents, professional staff, market presence and the other resources needed to maintain and improve competitiveness.

In addition, Microsoft’s purchase of a 17.6% equity interest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook Division gave it a line of e-readers with substantial market share, and a professional staff able to keep up with competition. Also, and importantly, since the Nook functions as a store within Barnes & Noble stores, it provides Microsoft with access to a major segment of consumers shopping for books.

Pearson, a publisher of text books, has purchased a 5% interest in the Nook and is developing innovative ways to develop and market text-books.  Again, since the Nook functions as a store within college book stores managed by Barnes & Noble, Microsoft’s equity interest in the Nook gives it check-by-jowls access to college students.

Founded in 1873 as printing business in Wheaton, Illinois, Barnes & Noble has dodged threats to its survival for a hundred and thirty nine years by keeping up with changing times by innovating.  It is now the dominant book store chain.

Barnes & Noble opened its first book store in New York in 1917. Today its national chain of 723 bookstores, plus 639 college bookstores, cover the market for books in a fashion that Apple cannot quickly, easily or cheaply duplicate.

Thanks to moves made by Microsoft, Barnes and Noble is prepared to morph into Apple’s worst nightmare by displacing Apple stores as the dominant brick and mortar retailer of personal electronic devices.

By striking back at Microsoft’s new tablet by offering free software, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple tacitly acknowledges that Ballmer’s decision to resign will not interrupt or deflect Microsoft’s campaign to grow in the face of competition from Apple.

Microsoft’s growth strategy was developed by Steve Ballmer who has resigned and by Bill Gates who is staying in place.  With Ballmer no longer at Microsoft, Bill Gates who is a college dropout who never held  high executive office in a major company other than the one he co-founded will compete head-on with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple whose resume is impressive.

Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and serves on its Board of Directors.
Before being named CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple’s Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Prior to joining Apple, Cook was vice president of Corporate Materials for Compaq and was responsible for procuring and managing all of Compaq’s product inventory. Previous to his work at Compaq, Cook was the chief operating officer of the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics.

Cook also spent 12 years with IBM, most recently as director of North American Fulfillment where he led manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM’s Personal Computer Company in North and Latin America.

Tim Cook earned an M.B.A. from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Auburn.

Disclosure:  Leo Shapiro, the publisher of 8SAGES.COM holds stock in Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, and Apple and has held such stock for some time.

Control of Republican Party Shifts to DeMint and Koch

October 18th, 2013

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In the upcoming mid-term elections, the Democratic Party gains seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Ironically, the Koch Brothers and DeMint will strengthen their control of the Republican Party but will weaken the Republican majority by purging Republican incumbents who fail to toe their line.

For background, read the 8SAGES article posted on October 17 that opens by saying: “The potential for intensified class warfare with increased chances for violence is developing as Republicans increase their efforts to cut spending on Medicare and food stamps, impose stricter limits on abortion rights as well as try to defund, delay or disrupt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”

Led by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Performs Well

October 10th, 2013

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Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has a perfect right to feel pleased with the performance of Microsoft under his leadership, even though his achievements are not widely applauded by the financial press

During the past five years, under Ballmer’s management, Microsoft’s profits increased at an average annual rate of 9.20%, compared to S&P’s earnings growth of 5.70% and earnings growth of 10.40% for its industry.

More important, but largely unnoticed, Ballmer strengthened Microsoft’s ability to compete. In rapid succession, Microsoft acquired Nokia, an 17.6% interest in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, and cemented relations with Dell by lending two billion dollars to help it go private.

These three companies have patent portfolios, product developer staff, access to the consumer, education and business markets, and brands that nicely complement Microsoft’s ability to create and launch new electronic products.

Microsoft is now in striking distance of challenging Apple retail stores by becoming Barnes & Noble’s preferred store-within-a-store vendor of e-readers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other personal electronic products.

The development of Barnes & Noble as a store selling electronics as well as print publications is described in an 8sages article titled “Barnes & Noble is Apple’s Biggest Threat,” posted on January 13, 2013 (click on article title to view).

The article opens by stating, “The investment community treats Barnes & Noble as a zombie company ready to follow the death path of Borders…Now Barnes & Noble is prepared to morph into Apple’s worst nightmare.”

Disclosure:  Leo Shapiro, the publisher of 8SAGES.COM holds stock in Microsoft and Barnes & Noble and has held such stock for some time.

Wealthy Lose Control of Federal Government

October 7th, 2013

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The potential for intensified class warfare with increased chances for violence is developing as Republicans increase their efforts to cut spending on Medicare and food stamps, impose stricter limits on abortion rights as well as try to defund, delay or disrupt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The longer the government remains disabled the greater the likelihood that control of the federal government will shift from the wealthy to the middle and poorer segments of the population.  Labor unions will benefit as champions of the middle and poorer segments of the population.

When the government resumes operating, stock prices and consumer spending will spike and holiday spending will start early.

 

Breaking News about Events Shaping the Future

New York Times (October 6, 2013)

A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

DRIVING FORCES:  David Koch and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III (following DeMint’s quitting the Senate to head the American Heritage Foundation, met with more than three dozen conservative groups to derail the healthcare overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans – including their cautious leaders – to cut off financing for the entire federal government)

At a Nissan Plan in Mississippi, a Battle to Shape the U.A.W.’s Future

“[The United Auto Workers] has recruited thousands of union members in Brazil to picket Nissan dealerships…[and] sent a team of Mississippi ministers and workers to South Africa, where Nissan has an assembly plant, to try to embarrass the company with accusations that it violates workers rights in its Canton plant…[The U.A.W.’s president said] unions in Japan, Germany, Australia and Britain are backing the Mississippi fight.”

Prior Posts on This Topic

October 3rd, 2013

Republican Effort to Defund Affordable Healthcare Fails

October 3rd, 2013

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Republican efforts to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act fail.  No telling how much damage the government shutdown will do.

The struggle for control of the federal government will energize and organize middle- and lower-income citizens.

The greater the damage done by the government shutdown, the greater the likelihood that control of the federal government will shift from wealthy to middle- and lower-income citizens.

 

Breaking News about Events Shaping the Future

New York Times (October 2, 2013)

Staunch Group of Republicans Outflanks House Leaders

Opening Rush to Insurance Markets Runs into Snags”

Bloomberg Businessweek (September 26, 2013)

Jim DeMint, Congressional Republicans’ Shadow Speaker

New York Times (October 1, 2013)

Why the Health Care Law Scares the G.O.P.

Historical Account of Events Shaping the Future

The comprehensiveness of information carried by social networks increases as telephone and internet conversations are recorded; surveillance camera output is recorded, as well as outputs of other monitoring devices.  Intel is planning to record three days’ worth of everything from every channel.

The reach and influence of social networks also increases as the cost of smart phones plummets and access to broadband internet becomes affordable to even the poverty-stricken.

Growth in the influence of social networks is transforming the structure of society from one divided into groups on the basis of wealth to one divided into groups of persons who communicate with each other via the internet.

In the present society, the wealthiest are the leaders.  As the influence of social networks grows, citizens who communicate with the largest number of persons become leaders.

DeMint, in quitting the Senate to become head of the Heritage Foundation, increased the number of citizens with whom he communicates and displaced Boehner who is the elected leader of the Republican Party which controls the House of Representatives.

The struggle for control of the federal government between the advantaged and disadvantaged has been in progress since the nation was founded over two hundred and thirty years ago.

The Constitution that established the United States allowed each of the thirteen former British colonies to retain their sovereign rights as States and establish the requirements for citizenship and the right to vote.

As a result the Constitution failed to honor the ideals asserted in their Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal with unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Control of the Revolutionary Society was put into hands of the privileged elite comprised of white male landowners whom the states granted the right to vote. Blacks were relegated to slavery, women were treated as the property of their husbands, Native Americans and foreigners were treated as non-persons and not counted in the first national Census.

Not until passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, almost two hundred years after the Constitution was ratified, outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.

It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as “public accommodations”).

Progress toward outlawing all forms of discrimination was made haltingly, usually when the nation was fighting a war or facing some other crisis that the leaders had difficulty managing. The crisis made it advantageous to recruit the help of the disadvantaged by acceding to their demands for the right to vote or to have access to privileges otherwise denied.

The 2013 shutdown of the federal government is the sort of crisis which grows out of the inability of the advantaged to manage the government and enables the disadvantaged to expand their power to control the government.

Barnes and Noble is Apple’s Biggest Threat

January 11th, 2013

The investment community treats Barnes & Noble as a zombie company, ready to follow the death path of Borders.  Founded in 1873 as printing business in Wheaton, Illinois, Barnes & Noble has dodged threats to its survival for a hundred and thirty nine years by keeping up with changing times by innovating.

Barnes & Noble opened its first book store in New York in 1917. Today its national chain of 723 bookstores, plus 639 college bookstores, give it a reach into the general population as well as the college population that Apple cannot quickly, easily or cheaply duplicated even given Apple’s wealth.

Now Barnes and Noble is prepared to morph into Apple’s worst nightmare.

In 2009, Barnes & Noble introduced the NOOK e-reader and quickly captured a substantial share of the market.  Since then, innovated versions of the Nook offering color, readability in the dark and other features have repeatedly challenged Amazon’s Kindle reader.

In 2012, Barnes & Noble formed a partnership with Microsoft that will spin the Nook and its college businesses off into a subsidiary, announced partnerships with UK retailers, began selling the digital products overseas, and sold a five percent stake in the Nook subsidiary to Pearson, a publisher of text books.

Sale of five percent of the Nook to Pearson valued the Nook at 1.8 billion dollars, the same value placed on the Nook by Microsoft it purchased a stake in the Nook.

Microsoft, which owns a stake in Nokia, the Finnish producer of smart cell phones, has just begun to market an electronic tablet under the Surface brand name.

Barnes & Noble is now ready to transform itself into a direct competitor to the stores that Apple operate with stores that have a continuing, hard to duplicate competitive advantage.  Barnes & Noble operates 723 stores, almost twice the 394 stores operated by Apple, which, in addition to offering a line of proprietary branded electronic products that parallel the electronic products offered in Apple stores, offer customers a dominant assortment of books, a café serving refreshments, and easy chairs where customers can lounge, read and talk.  Apple will be challenged to overcome the inherent superiority of the Barnes & Noble store network.

Barnes & Noble will be challenged to overcome the strength of the Apple brand of electronic products with brands like the Nook, Nokia and Surface that are less well established than the Apple brand.

Barnes & Noble, as part of the Microsoft, Nokia and Pearson alliance, has access to the technological capabilities and capital needed to create innovated products that challenge Apple’s products.

Apple, of course, on its own has the technological capabilities and capital needed to continue to create innovative products to maintain its brand superiority.   Overall, Apple has an edge, but not an insurmountable edge over Barnes & Noble in terms of brand superiority for electronic products.

On the other hand, Barnes & Noble has an edge over Apple in terms of the superiority of its consumer and college store networks, its access to text book titles and, its flexibility as a retailer, to stock any brand of personal electronic product that can compete with the Apple brand.

The development of Barnes & Noble as a purveyor of information has been a long time in coming and has a bright future.

For background, read the following posts on 8SAGES.COM:

Disclosure:  Leo Shapiro, the publisher of 8SAGES.COM holds stock in Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, Nokia and Pearson and has held such stock for some time.

Copyright 2013 by Leo J. Shapiro. All rights reserved.

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