Economics of Good and Evil

April 24th, 2014

Tomas Sedlacek: economic advisor to the Czech President, Václav Havel, advisor to the former Minister of Finance Bohuslav Sobotka, named “Young Guns: 5 Hot Minds in Economics” in the Yale Economic Review, Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at the Československá obchodní banka (ČSOB), lecturer at Charles University, and author of Economic of Good and Evil.

tomas-sedlacek

The first copies of The Economics of Good and Evil were released in May 2009 as a Czech original known as Ekonomie dobra a zla. It soon became a national phenomenon. The book was the first non-fiction piece that has ever topped national annual list of best-selling titles. Since then, for the first time ever, the prize for the best economic book in Germany goes to a foreigner – Tomas Sedlacek, a young provocative thinker from Prague who became a global phenomenon by presenting a simple yet almost heretical proposition: economics is ultimately about good and evil.

 

Mr. Sedlacek will be joining me this Saturday, April 26th! Listen from anywhere Saturday morning @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD by logging onto www.wfmd.com and clicking the listen live button! Can’t make it? Don’t worry, our shows are recorded and you can listen to them here.

 

About our Guest:

Tomas Sedlacek (35) has shaken the study of economics as few ever have. His provocative writing achieved bestselling status in his homeland, The Czech Republic, and appeared among the leading titles of Oxford University Press in 2011. Sedlacek‘s book The Economics of Good and Evil triggered a wildfire of debate in the U.S. and Europe during author‘s recent tour. The book received great reviews by Financial Times and New York Times and it will be out in 11 languages next year. Sedlacek, advisor of Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel and a member of Czech National Economic Council, has himself entered a global path. The book reached no.1 rank among non-fiction bestsellers in Switzerland after Sedlacek appeared in World Economic Forum in Davos, while it broke into top 20 in both Germany and Austria.

 

The Solution Revolution

April 8th, 2014

The Solution Revolution

Joining me this week on Your Financial Editor is William (Bill) Eggers, author of “The Solution Revolution: How businesses, Government, and Social Enterprises are Teaming Up to Solve Society’s Toughest Problems.”

Listen from anywhere Saturday morning @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD by logging onto www.wfmd.com and clicking the listen live button! Can’t make it? Don’t worry, our shows are recorded and you can listen to them here.

About the Book:

Where tough societal problems persist, citizens, social enterprises, and yes, even businesses, are relying less and less on government-only solutions. More likely, they are crowd funding, ride-sharing, app- developing or impact- investing to design lightweight solutions for seemingly intractable problems. No challenge is too daunting, from malaria in Africa to traffic congestion in California.

These wavemakers range from edgy social enterprises growing at a clip of 15% a year, to mega-foundations that are eclipsing development aid, to Fortune 500 companies delivering social good on the path to profit. The collective force of these new problem solvers is creating dynamic and rapidly evolving markets for social good. They trade solutions instead of dollars to fill the gap between what government can provide and what citizens need. By erasing public-private sector boundaries, they are unlocking trillions of dollars in social benefit and commercial value.

The Solution Revolution explores how public and private are converging to form the Solution Economy. By examining scores of examples, Eggers and Macmillan reveal the fundamentals of this new – globally prevalent – economic and social order. The book is designed to help guide those willing to invest time, knowledge or capital toward sustainable, social progress.

William Eggers

About our Mr. William D. Eggers:

William Eggers is a leading authority on government reform. He is responsible for research and thought leadership for Deloitte’s Public Sector industry practice.

He is the author of eight books, including the Washington Post best seller If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government (Harvard Business Press, 2009), Governing by Network (Brookings Institution Press, 2004), and The Public Innovator’s Playbook (Deloitte Research 2009). He coined the term Government 2.0 in a book of the same name.

His books have won numerous awards including the Louis Brownlow Award for best book on public management, the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Award for best book promoting an understanding of the free economy, and the Roe Award for leadership and innovation in public policy research.

A former manager of the Texas Performance Review and appointee to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART) Advisory Board, Eggers has advised governments around the world. He gives close to 100 speeches a year and his commentary has appeared in dozens of major media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian and the Chicago Tribune.

The Retirement Crisis: A Statistical Mirage?

April 3rd, 2014

On February 21st Andrew Biggs was the moderator at the American Enterprise Institute in D.C. where they discussed policy changes for Social Security.

About the event:

Andrew Biggs

There is a widespread perception that many Americans are inadequately prepared for retirement. Some even call this a crisis. Policymakers have responded with proposals to expand the Social Security program and reduce or eliminate tax incentives for 401(k) and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) plans that many believe have served Americans poorly.

But some analysts question this perceived retirement crisis, arguing that official statistics significantly understate the benefits that retirees receive from 401(k) plans and IRAs. At this event, retirement experts discussed how proposed policy changes to Social Security or private pensions may be ill-considered.

Please join me Saturday morning, April 5th @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD by logging onto WFMD and clicking the listen live button! Can’t make it? Don’t worry, our shows are recorded and you can listen to them here (shows are generally posted several days after airing)

Also, check out his recent article: “Retirees aren’ t headed for the poor house

 

About our Guest:

Andrew G. Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Social Security reform, state and local government pensions, and public sector pay and benefits.

Before joining AEI, Biggs was the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he oversaw SSA’s policy research efforts. In 2005, as an associate director of the White House National Economic Council, he worked on Social Security reform. In 2001, he joined the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security. Biggs has been interviewed on radio and television as an expert on retirement issues and on public vs. private sector compensation. He has published widely in academic publications as well as in daily newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions. In 2013, the Society of Actuaries appointed Biggs co-vice chair of a blue ribbon panel tasked with analyzing the causes of underfunding in public pension plans and how governments can securely fund plans in the future.

Biggs holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Experience

  • Principal Deputy Commissioner, 2007; Deputy Commissioner for Policy, 2006-2007; Associate Commissioner for Retirement Policy, 2003-2006, Social Security Administration
  • Associate Director, National Economic Council, White House, 2005
  • Social Security Analyst, Cato Institute, 1999-2003
  • Staff Member, President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security, 2001
  • Director of Research, Congressional Institute, 1998-99

Education

  • Ph.D., government, London School of Economics
  • M.Sc., financial economics, University of London
  • M.Phil., social and political theory, Cambridge University
  • B.A., philosophy, Queen’s University of Belfast

 

Understanding the Bitcoin Saga—Is it really the “Currency of the Future”?

March 28th, 2014

Bitcoin by definition is: “a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009. It is a cryptocurrency, so-called because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money.” Understanding the Bitcoin can be somewhat of a challenge depending on who you read and trust. To help us understand the Bitcoin with some historical and legal insight is this week’s guest:  Thomas J. Schetelich.

 

Listen from anywhere Saturday morning @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD by logging onto www.wfmd.com and clicking the listen live button! Can’t make it? Don’t worry, our shows are recorded and you can listen to them here (shows are generally posted several days after airing)

 

About this week’s guest:

Thomas_Schetelich

Mr. Schetelich is one of the founding principals in the law firm of Ferguson, Schetelich & Ballew in Baltimore, Maryland. He heads both the firm’s corporate and business law practice and its personal legal services department. Mr. Schetelich concentrates his work in the fields of business planning, business litigation, trusts and estates, and family matters.  He devotes much of his practice to assisting charitable and religious organizations; and is an author and frequent speaker on the subject of Maryland Church Law.

Mr. Schetelich is highly regarded by attorneys and the community at large for his legal skills and community service. He holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubble, awarded by peer review, for the highest standards of professional skill and ethical practice. He has repeatedly been named a Maryland Super Lawyer.  He manages national representations for real estate and hospitality clients.

Mr. Schetelich also has extensive court room and trial experience, in both Maryland state courts and federal courts. He has appeared before both Maryland appellate courts and has been admitted for argument in three separate Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals. He has managed an extensive toxic tort defense as the lead Baltimore City attorney for asbestos defendants.

Mr. Schetelich devotes much of his practice to assisting churches and Christian ministries throughout Maryland.  He is the National President of the Christian Professional Network and the editor of its monthly publication CPN On Point.  He has served as the commentator on Religion and the Law, a regular radio feature. He serves on the Board of Directors for The Baltimore School of the Bible (where he was an instructor for over 25 years), for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, for Christian Missions in Many Lands, and for The Maryland Bible Society. He chairs the board for the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns.  Mr. Schetelich has been honored both by Baltimore City and the Maryland General Assembly for outstanding citizenship in serving the citizens of Baltimore.

Professional Affiliations:

  • Maryland State Bar Association (Estate and Trust Section, Tax Section)
  • Bar Association of Baltimore City

Education:

  • Washington and Lee University School of Law Juris Doctor awarded (magna cum laude) in 1980
  • Burks Scholar Teaching Fellow, John Marshall Research Fellow (Order of the Coif)
  • Kean College of New Jersey, Bachelor of Arts awarded in 1977 (summa cum laude)

Bar Admissions:

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Fourth, Eleventh, Federal, and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals

Building heart tissue that beats: Engineered tissue closely mimics natural heart muscle

March 28th, 2014

“When a heart gets damaged, such as during a major heart attack, there’s no easy fix. But scientists working on a way to repair the vital organ have now engineered tissue that closely mimics natural heart muscle that beats, not only in a lab dish but also when implanted into animals.” Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154723.htm

Bitcoin Is Property, Not Currency, in Tax System: IRS

March 28th, 2014

The U.S. government will treat Bitcoin as property for tax purposes, applying rules it uses to govern stocks and barter transactions, the Internal Revenue Service said in its first substantive ruling on the issue. Continue reading this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/bitcoin-is-property-not-currency-in-tax-system-irs-says.html

 

 

Words of Wisdom from Ford

March 21st, 2014

No this isn’t an attempt to start an argument about which car is faster, the Ford Mustang or the Chevy Camaro.

 

I wanted to share some very insightful thoughts from the chief economist at Ford, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick. I’m a member of the New York Association for Business Economics and when in NYC on business sometimes I’m able to catch a luncheon with one of our guest speakers. It just so happens I did just that, this week.

 

First let me say that Ellen is an extremely intelligent and sincere person. And she happens to be the top economist for one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers Her research style and analysis seems different than most other economist I have spoken with or read. Important points were stressed that I wanted to share with you, mainly because as I’ve stated often, the media and financial journalist in particular get the story wrong.

For example: we have been told for years that China, with one billion people give or take, will demand products for all those citizens. The fact is when it comes to automobile sales for example Mrs. Cromwick has China divided into 3 sections and one of those sections is already saturated with auto’s. The other important point she conveyed in her talk was that before the other sections are able to purchase a vehicle they have to achieve a middle-class like status. That means and income equal to $5,000 – $15,000.

Example 2: India. Another emerging market (more on that term in a minute) that is heavily populated and in need of goods and services as incomes rise. One thing that has constantly been reported by journalist is the lack of infrastructure in the country. However, Mrs. Cromwick informed me that as she has traveled the country not only are there roads, etc in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai, but also outlying areas as well. The government of India has been committed to infrastructure, as well as, a reputable Central Bank (akin to our Federal Reserve.) Why do I use these examples? It’s rather simple if Mrs. Cromwick is charged with identifying macro-economic trends in order to help Ford strategize for future automotive development, transportation, appropriate vehicle models, etc. she will obviously go the extra mile to learn the true state of affairs in an existing or potential marketplace. Again this is from a skilled and crafted chief economist, not a financial journalist who may be mainly consumed by creating an emotional headline to get a persons blood pressure up.

Before signing-off I’ll touch on the term I mentioned earlier, “Emerging Markets” This phrase may be very misleading a times. For example there is an acronym that was created (I don’t know by whom) quite a few years ago to describe emerging markets in one fell swoop. The acronym is BRIC. it stands for Brazil Russia India China.

To put this into perspective:

Brazil is deeply entangled with mandatory trade agreements with Argentina and also is at a very serious crossroad with it political elections this year.

Russia is not only throwing mud at America and Europe while repatriating Crimea from Ukraine, but its also in a recession.

India was discussed briefly above. I will add that it also is in the midst of a major political change.

China is the elephant in the elevator. We hate them for making cheap products,  jailing people under their buildings and giving false economic data that makes it very difficult to truly judge the health of its economy. But, we have been able to sell them a ton of our debt to finance America’s spending problems.

So the question is should Brazil and Russia really be thrown in the same category with India and China. I think not. I have always believed that each emerging market should be judged on its individual merit and not by anything else and they definitely shouldn’t be lumped together.

The lesson of the day is be very cautious of what you read, watch, listen to and download. Much of the material should come with the surgeon generals warning “This information may be hazardous to your health.”

And for the gentleman reading, please, no cheap shots on my title. I just feel sure that I’m going to get a “Mopar No Car” response from someone.

Best Regards – Chris

P.S. Mrs. Cromwick commented that she’d like to come on the ”Your Financial Editor” radio program. We’ll be working to make that happen because I’m sure you’ll find her as enjoyable as I did.
Christopher Murray

An Inside look at the Federal Reserve— Jim Bruce the writer and director of Money for Nothing unveils the scary and hard-hitting facts of their doings. This week on Your Financial Editor:

March 13th, 2014

With the 100-year anniversary of the Federal Reserve behind us, the once distant fear that this central banking system would turn into a profit for the already wealthy and forget the general public and private bankers it was established to help is now, an all too concerning reality. Jim Bruce takes us through the history and interworking of The Fed.

Listen from anywhere, by logging on to www.wfmd.com and clicking the listen live button! This Saturday morning @ 8am on AM 930 WFMD.

Portrait_jim_bruce

About this week’s guest:

Money For Nothing is Jim Bruce’s directorial debut.  Jim was Editor/Writer/Co-Producer of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars – finalist for the 2006 International Documentary Association’s Feature Film of the Year. Jim has also worked as an editor on acclaimed documentaries (including The King of Kong and Dambe: The Mali Project), and as an assistant editor on Hollywood films such as Kinsey, Insomnia, X-Men: The Last Stand, and The Incredible Hulk. He was a Visiting Professor at Middlebury College in 2007.

Jim has been a student of financial markets for many years, and began writing a newsletter in 2006 warning about the oncoming financial crisis. His short trades in 2007 and 2008 helped finance a significant portion of Money For Nothing’s budget.

Jim has appeared on CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, Bloomberg TV, and Fox Business, and has spoken at Harvard Business School and the Dutch Central Bank.

MONEY FOR NOTHING is a feature-length documentary about the Federal Reserve – made by a Team of AFI, Sundance, and Academy Award winners – that seeks to unveil America’s central bank and its impact on our economy and our society.

Current and former senior Fed officials, prominent economists, investors and traders provide unprecedented access and take viewers behind the curtain to debate the future of the world’s most powerful financial institution.

Digging beneath the surface of the 2008 crisis, Money For Nothing is the first film to ask why so many facets of our financial system seemed to self-destruct at the same time. For many economists and senior Fed officials, the answer is clear: the same Fed that put out 2008’s raging financial fire actually helped light the match years before.

As the global financial system continues to falter, the Federal Reserve finds itself at a crossroads. The choices it makes will greatly influence the kind of world our children and grandchildren inherit. How can the Federal Reserve steer our nation toward a more sustainable path? How can the American people – who the Fed was created to serve – influence an institution whose inner workings they may not understand?

The key tenet underlying Money For Nothing is our belief that a more fully and accurately informed public will promote greater accountability and more effective policies from our central bank – no matter the conclusions any individual draws from the film.

A different look at the 2008 Financial Crisis. This week on Your Financial Editor.

February 27th, 2014

The causes of the 2008 Financial Crisis have been discussed in detail over the past few years. But not everyone is in one-hundred percent agreement on these causes. Join me this Saturday as I talk with Peter Wallison about his view on the crises as we discuss his presentation on, “The Causes of the 2008 Financial Crisis: A Dissenting View”

Listen from anywhere by logging onto WFMD and clicking the listen live button – Saturday morning at 8:00 on AM 930 WFMD.

About this week’s guest:

Peter Wallison

Peter J. Wallison, a codirector of AEI’s program on financial policy studies, researches banking, insurance, and securities regulation. As general counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department, he had a significant role in the development of the Reagan administration’s proposals for the deregulation of the financial services industry. He also served as White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan and is the author of Ronald Reagan: The Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency(Westview Press, 2002). His other books include Competitive Equity: A Better Way to Organize Mutual Funds (2007); Privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks (2004); The GAAP Gap: Corporate Disclosure in the Internet Age (2000); andOptional Federal Chartering and Regulation of Insurance Companies(2000). He also writes for AEI’s Financial Services Outlook series.

Just how independent is the Federal Reserve? This week on Your Financial Editor.

February 13th, 2014

The Federal Reserve operates independent of the government, or at least it was supposed to. My guest this week, Allan Meltzer would beg to differ. Join me this week as Allan and I discuss his paper, “What’s Wrong With the Federal Reserve: What Would Restore Independence?

Listen from anywhere by logging onto WFMD and clicking the listen live button – Saturday morning at 8:00 on AM 930 WFMD.

About this week’s guest:

Mettzer- Allan-HR

Allan H. Meltzer is the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy at Carnegie Mellon University. His research and teaching interests include the history of U.S. monetary policy, size of government, macroeconomics, and international financial reform. He was the founder and chairman of the Shadow Open Market Committee. Meltzer has served as a consultant on economic policy for the Congress, the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the World Bank, and the U.S. and foreign governments. He was Chairman of the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission, U.S. Congress, 1999–2000. He was given NABE’s Adam Smith Award in 2003 and is a NABE Fellow. He received A.B. and M.A. degrees from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.