May 29, 2008

Think That New Sports Stadium Helps Create Jobs and Higher Incomes? Think Again...

Check out reason TV here for an economist's take on publicly funded sports stadiums. Above, a rendering of the future Twins stadium.

May 26, 2008

Zimbabwe Introduces the New 500,000,000.00 Bill

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - "As stores opened for business Wednesday in Zimbabwe, a small pack of locally produced coffee beans cost just short of 1 billion Zimbabwe dollars. A decade ago, that sum would have bought 60 new cars. Inflation has been over 1,000,000 percent over the last year;" read more here.

Also, from BBC News: "The central bank has issued a 500m Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth US$2, to try to ease cash shortages amid the world's highest rate of inflation. The previous highest denomination note was for Z$250m, issued 10 days ago. Prices are now doubling every week instead of every month and it is hard to see how we can survive to the end of June or how an election will be feasible at all if things continue to deteriorate at this pace," said Harare economist John Robertson, according to the AP news agency.

This is the fourth set of new banknotes to be introduced this year. At independence in 1980, one Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than US$1."

Above you can see the 10 Million Zimbabwe dollar, introduced earlier this year, and written about on Redonomics previously here.

May 22, 2008

Want 200-300 Miles Per Gallon? Check Out These Rides

Above is the Aptera, a cool 300 MPG. You can reserve one now for $500, and the car will cost you $27 - $30 K.

Volkswagen will sell this 230 MPG car beginning in 2010. Read more here.

May 13, 2008

Check Out This Ford Factory (In Brazil)... And Why The UAW Opposes It

From the Detroit News:

"This state-of-the-art manufacturing complex in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia is not only the centerpiece of Ford's Brazilian turnaround plan, it is also one of the most advanced automobile plants in the world. It is more automated than many of Ford's U.S. factories, and leaner and more flexible than any other Ford facility. It can produce five different vehicle platforms at the same time and on the same line.

Ford sources said it is the sort of plant the company wants in the United States, were it not for the United Auto Workers, which has historically opposed such extensive supplier integration on the factory floor."

And don't miss this video of the Ford plant.

Indian Expansion: Four of the World's Richest Eight People Are From India

The Wall Street Journal India writes here about India's billionaires. Are they robber barons or are they helping improve the lives of Indians? In the article, Mark Perry and Madhukar Angur say...

"First, it should be recognized that in the process of creating personal fortunes, India’s billionaires create vast amounts of wealth for others, including thousands of employees. Consider Azim Premji. At the age of 21, he took over Wipro in 1966, and helped transform it from a vegetable oil and soap company with $2 million in annual sales into a $5 billion global IT giant.

Premji obviously couldn’t have orchestrated the explosive growth of Wipro without the help of others. Wipro currently has a staff of more than 73,000, and most of those jobs are in India, and most of those jobs are relatively highly paid. The Wipro example is not unique. In almost all cases, billionaires amass personal wealth by creating large organizations that generate millions of jobs.

And these large billionaire-led organizations typically create employment opportunities across the board, from the lowest unskilled positions to highly paid executives. It has been estimated that India’s top 10 billionaires have collectively created more than one million jobs in their companies.

India is a much more prosperous country today, and has a much larger middle class with its abundance of billionaires, than it was 10 years ago, when billionaires were scarce. When the Forbes list of world billionaires comes out next year, India should aspire for many more on that list since it will be a sure sign that more wealth is being created for everybody."

May 6, 2008

Good Sales Pitch... But Is There Really A Recession?

Here is Gray's Papaya Hot Dog's in New York City. However, a recession is generally defined as two consecutive economic quarters (6 months) of negative GDP stats. GDP was up .6% in Q1 2008 and has not had a negative reading since 2001

May 5, 2008

Believe it or Not. Cubans Are Now Allowed to Have Computers!

Cuba's Communist leaders finally figured out there are normal people in the world with computers. The decided to let their people legally buy a computer. Here, from Wired Magazinge "Cubans are getting wired. The island's communist government put desktop computers on sale to the public for the first time Friday, ending a ban on PC sales as another despised restriction on daily life fell away under new President Raul Castro.A tower-style QTECH PC and monitor costs nearly US$780 (505 euros). While few Cubans can afford that, dozens still gawked outside a tiny Havana electronics store, crowding every inch of its large glass windows and leaving finger and nose prints behind (see picture above)."

May 1, 2008

The World's Most Worthless Currencies

Think you'd be rich with a few of these in your pocket? Actually the 10 million Zimbabwe bill is worth about $4 US dollars.
  • Want to buy a roll of toilet paper in Zimbabwe? That would be $145,000 dollars, about 69 US cents.
  • The smallest bill in circulation in Zimbabwe is $500. Read more here.

2008 Starting Salaries for College Grads

So the job market for 2008 grads is not that bad after all. The average salary is up 4% and the number of job offers is up 8%. Read more here from CNN.