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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Economics (and Politics) of Contrarianism

Today's post really should be entitled "The Economics (and Politics) of Going Against the Best Interests of Those you Represent for One's Selfish or Advantageous Means" but that just seemed a wee bit too long..

So 'contrarian' is the term we used instead..

Hope that makes things clearer as one reads on..
Often when presenting information on a financial blog such as ours, its difficult to keep to one singular narrative in a posting..

Just too many things going on in the world and often one can tie in a few stories or events into something cohesive though admittedly it takes a little more effort from the reader than a 30 second quick skim..

For instance, today's main focus is about the successful business Trader Joe's and how adamant and successful a community's black activist leaders were in Portland, Ore. to prevent them from opening a store there because -- Yes this is true -- it would attract too many whites.

We'll get to that in a moment..
First, we thought this news item from Bloomberg was a bit funny.. Not 'Ha Ha' funny but we got a bit of a sarcastic snicker..

Goldman to Fidelity Call for Calm After Global Stock Wipeout -- "Panic is making an enemy of telephones for Catherine Yeung, the director for equities at Fidelity Investment Management Ltd. in Hong Kong whose clients have been calling amid two weeks of declines that erased $3 Trillion from global stocks. 

She’s advising calm, noting that profits are rising and shares just got a lot less expensive."

Of course she is..  the Bitch.

Isn't that always how it goes though..

When market goes up, you're told to buy.. When it is meandering in a circle, you're told to buy..  And when it drops over 1000 points in two weeks, you're told to hold..
And in the case of Goldman and other big-name investment firms, they historically have advised their clients to take certain stock market positions then have gone the 100% contrarian route

It says in the teety weeny itsy-bitsy fine print when you sign your money over to them that they reserve the right to tell you to hold or buy while they sell, sell, sell..

Not those exact words but..

Its like what was explained in Martin Scorcese's film 'The Wolf of Wall Street'..  Traders don't make money when you keep your stocks in a company for the long term or sell when things look bad and hold until rough waters smooth..
They make their money off the commissions.   Buy.. Sell.. Don't matter.. So if they can get you to jump from A to B to C, or to have a diversified portfolio that you are constantly tinkering with, they make out like bandits..

And if the market drops and you have to sell your shares at 10% loss.. or 20%.. or 70% losses, guess who still gets a cut?  Yep..

The market was down over 200 pts yesterday around 1:45p.. then finished up 70 pts or so.. The rats decided stocks were 'cheap' just like their spouses and lovers and saw it as a buying opportunity.

Things are bad world wide..
Third world nations like Turkey and South Africa are an utter mess with investor money fleeing in droves..

And then you have places of real misery like Argentina

From Guardian.UK:

"Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and her ministers blame foreign 'vultures' for an economic meltdown as power cuts hit Buenos Aires and goods vanish from supermarket shelves..

(In mid-January) Argentina's central bank reserves dipped below $30bn, forcing the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to drop its policy of injecting large quantities of dollars into the exchange market to shore up the overvalued peso.
The sudden dollar scarcity on Argentina's exchange market sent the peso's official value crashing to eight pesos to the dollar, while the "blue" illegal rate shot up to nearly 13 pesos. 

Retailers immediately marked up their prices to reflect the new reality. In some cases, items were pulled en masse from the shelves, as retailers pondered how much to mark up their goods."

In the article an everyday woman mentions the price of an air-conditioning unit she considered buying a week prior shot up by 25% and her prescriptions cost her 20% more than 7 days prior!

So when you hear people telling you to 'hold' or 'buy', just nod, give a nice toothy smile and then start selling..
OK.. Onto Trader Joe's and black community activism sabotaging their own people

From AP:

"The Trader Joe's grocery-store chain has dropped a plan to open a new store in the heart of the city's historically black neighborhood after activists said the development would price black residents out of the area.

The Portland Development Commission (Oregon) had offered a steep discount to the grocer on a parcel of nearly two acres that was appraised at up to $2.9 million: a purchase price of slightly more than $500,000... a lot that has been vacant for years.

Critics said the development would displace residents and perpetuate income inequality in one of the most rapidly gentrifying ZIP codes in the nation..."
Ugh..  What bullshit!

So let us get this straight..

You have a piece of commercial property that has been vacant for years..  Unproductive..  No business of any kind using it for any purpose..  No local property or state sales taxes generated from the parcel...

And you have this business.. Trader Joes' which is considered a bit upscale and selling quality food goods which people seem to enjoy..

Now this business would attract higher consumer clientele to a depressed minority-dominated area and by extension encourage more businesses to follow suit and perhaps open nearby in the future and ultimately help raise property values in the neighborhood for purposes of resale..
And those activist scum sabotage their own people basically saying their community is not good enough to have a store like Trader Joe's in its area.

Here's more from the AP article.. Its really amazing..

"(The black activists) sent the city a letter saying it would "remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community."  It said the grocery-store development would "increase the desirability of the neighborhood," for "non-oppressed populations."..

Trader Joe's would have been the anchor of a two-building development that included space for four to 10 shops and 100 parking spaces. A company owned by blacks in Portland had been slated to build it."

Wow..  Just..   Wow..

Just Awful, Awful people!!
Gotta be blunt.. those black activists in Portland are complete Bastards..

Evil Selfish individuals sabotaged their own community and the ability for many in that area to have jobs and better themselves because Trader Joes' and the businesses that would move into the area with it dare to attract those 'damn whites'..

Can't be any clearer than that..

Then these same pieces of excrement can say to their community that its the whitey's fault that they live in such miserable circumstances and can't ever get from under!
Its all about playing the contrarian card..

If  people sell stocks when times are bad, how can you ever expect to make money off their downfall?

If you allow businesses to enter a blighted community which makes an area more attractive for people to show, work and live near, how can you ever expect to profit off of the concept of institutional racism holding a community back?
When someone tells or advises you of something especially where money, livelihood or community is concerned and they seem to benefit in some way, take the time to understand the other's angle and Question, Question, Question!

Then do what's to your singular benefit.