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Category Archive for 'Competition'

What was the (net) profit margin for Walmart in the most recent quarter for which I can fund data? In other words, for every $100 of goods that Walmart sells, how much profit do they “take home?” My bet is that if you asked a typical person they would think the number would be very […]

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Reader warning – this is not well thought out, and I am narrating it to my phone via voice as I am driving to work this morning. It occurs to me that either retail financial institutions are intensely sclerotic, old-school, dinosaurs, or that regulation is strangling what they are able to offer retail customers, or […]

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Two Items for Today

1. I wonder why running shoe and hiking gear or really almost all apparel manufacturers rarely if ever advertise on the durability and “long-lastingness” of their product? I don’t mean general claims but rather things like, “these new La Sportiva’s will give you 450 miles of class3 and below hiking!” 2. I once took Koch […]

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I’m not much fun to go out with anymore (that presumes I ever was fun in the first place). Any sign, slogan, bumper sticker, protest, comment, etc. elicits a reaction from me – mostly simply with me asking the question, “How do you know?” That’s not a way to make friends or keep wives happy. […]

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This is a theme that we will come back to from time to time. Let’s think for a minute about what Daniel Kahneman says about making good investment decisions: “You should talk to people who disagree with you and you should talk to people who are not in the same emotional situation you are,” (via Marginal […]

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Suppose you are worried that some particular activity threatens the water that you rely upon. In many cases, since there are so many possible polluters invading “our” water resources and since there are so many people who use a water source, the idea of arranging contracts between polluters and pollutees to get an optimum amount […]

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It turns out that Californians have successfully made their lives less comfortable by banning plastic bags. As you surely know this is yet another feel good policy that will accomplish almost nothing in the way of real environmental benefits.  Now, I have no problem with people making poor choices especially with their own funds, and […]

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The Huffpo and the minimum wage cheerleaders have now gone off the deep end. If you simply SAY that someone “demolishes” a classic argument, does that make it so? And just look at how uber-sophisticated and intelligent that post is. WHAT classic argument? It’s not like anyone tells us. Is it the classic moral argument […]

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Among some of the most unproductive questions I am asked regularly include questions of the type, “are you in support of XYZ?” As if XYZ is some monolithic, black and white, easy to understand and represent with the word XYZ, thing. Of course, it is not. So, in the past I’ve been very evasive when […]

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What Protects Workers?

If the populist view of wage determination is true, then we’d see that the only reason firms pay workers more than the bare minimum is to keep workers alive enough to continue exploiting. Further, if that narrative were true, then the only other reason why firms pay more than that amount is because labor market […]

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