Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Profits are what? Or, Gravy train II

Moral: Wherein we diverge, a minute, from the slow trek toward a position that is reasonable, and well-founded (knowledge, imperatives) with regard to that which everyone would hope is fair and just, and that honors Adam Smith and other thinkers; we pause just to ponder a few things.


Such as profits and other illusions associated with the cap-ital-sino and its gravy trains.

Why ask about profits? A recent Vanity Fair article discussed how the Irish are paying more through the nose than are the Americans (though, it is debatable when you think of the largess of Big Ben to business (hey, guy, some of the supposed little folk are as capable and mindful than are those who are milking the land of honey -- one difference, 'tude!) and of the mountains of debt being pushed out to the future generations), for the dumb (outright stupid, okay?) actions of those who were handling the monies (and who have no sense of 'on the behalf of"). Yet, the Irish are not complaining about their huge burden or about their stalled economy. Well, in the article, some old banker is asking a hot-shot about expected returns which were in the double digits (of course, before the fall and bail out). The old guy said, how is that? Meaning, of course, that long-term, sustained returns for a good bank would be not far above 5%.

Anything above is suspicious, non-sustainable, and downright anti-human. Yes.


Gosh, any saver can tell you what it is like to be sacked, thanks to Big Ben.


What are reasonable profits? Mind you, before you answer, many occurrences of large returns may be accompanied by luck (hence, not repeatable), malfeasance (Made-off is only one example, cooking the books has many connotations), and other deleterious characteristics. Show me an honest firm, working within the constraints of near-zero, who has sustainable success beyond a mere generation or two?


But, other things go into obtaining profits, such as outhousing and the like. Too, we have pushing the boundaries of cutting (see Toyota, as an example) so as to reap returns. Many times, such reduction methods can push toward a serious reduction in quality.

Why is this of interest? Well, a recent experience, involving a Sealy sham, brings this to the fore. Does diminishing of repute mean anything? At some point, one would think that good will would get chewed down to the bone.

It seems that jumping from a defensive mode to that of attacking the consumer is the preferred approach. In a sense, turn a blind eye to problems. At the same time, institute insurmountable obstacles for rectifying failed items.


But, as we know, generally, out-sized returns happen daily. From where I sit, many of these are being pulled in by those who run things. Is that not crappy or what? Gravy train? Or, those involved have some special situation (as in, the global elite) that allows the money to flow like a huge river.

Perhaps, some type of balance is obtained if those with the dough turn around and offer a benefactor's hand to the less fortunate. I wonder if Buffett could take time to discuss, and look at, a sustainable economy (I don't mean more for your pocket, Warren)?


It is obvious that some type of insight goes along with the luck. Can that be taught? Well, plenty seem to think so (there are many buying the training, many offering the training). Too, the reward may go to the risk, yet there is risk and risk. What we have seen, more than necessary, is risk spilling over to others, of late. In fact, what risks can be associated with our mortgaging the financial lives of those to come?


07/22/2015 -- Some of these are, now, poster boys.

05/17/2011 -- Golden sacks (leftmost mug of the rogue table), by Rolling Stone and Daily Ticker.

04/20/2011 -- Simple living (see Remarks 04/15/2011 - game theory), as opposed to greediness.

03/23/2011 -- The hopes spring, again, forgetting, of course, near-zero, all because of M&M. See the real story. But, Big Ben ought to know better.

03/16/2011 -- On the rise of the professional politician (will there ever be the citizen polico? that is, those who do not salivate when a buck is passed beneath the nose) toward robber barony. The M & Ms are apropos. As well, need to bring in Schervish's viewpoint.

02/24/2011 -- People matter.

02/16/2011 -- Ah, yes. The morning's paper has a couple of stories that we'll have to expand upon. We did miss the 'nationalization' chance two years ago. Too bad.
  • NYSE's moves -- as the thing says, computers run (rule) the realm. Which means, essentially, the fat cats, and their techie wizards, collect their fees (huge sucking machine).
  • Golden sacks -- speaking of fees, and windfalls (Gravy train?).
  • Middle class -- disappearing act
Both of these are only a small sampling of many things that ought to be looked at.

Modified: 07/22/2015

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