Thursday, June 26, 2014

Everyday Economics (video)

In this week's EconTalk podcast, host Russ Roberts points out how entrepreneurs made huge investments---taking huge risks---in the hopes of making huge profits through the production of high-priced natural gas. The success of many of them inspired other capitalists to take part and, consequently, the supply
becomes enormous and the price just goes to the floor. And, all of a sudden, all the users of gas now are benefiting from all the investments that these people made---so confident that they were going to make enormous sums of money---and ended up mainly benefiting the people who use the gas.

I got up this morning at the usual early hour, reviewed the morning's economic reports (we get them early here on the West Coast), assessed the market open, recorded and sent out an audio commentary (I do that when the Dow drops a hundred points), reviewed my calendar and notes for the day, ran to the gym with my wife for a quick workout and made it to the office a couple minutes late for my first appointment.

Ten, maybe fifteen, years ago I was getting up at least an hour earlier to get the workout in. My clients would not---as they've now grown accustomed---have heard my assessment of the market, and I would not have spent nearly as much time reviewing the day's economic releases---nor spent the previous afternoon running my valuation screens and compiling my research notes (as I did yesterday)---because back then a client's portfolio analysis took so much time and effort that my then smaller staff couldn't perform their tasks and get it all done without my involvement. Leaving me less time to do the stuff that would make me more valuable to my clients, not to mention my family.

Ah, but today---while I wasn't complaining back then---my world has changed dramatically. The quality of the work we do---the quality of the life I lead---is so much better than it was just a few years ago. Why? Have I worked hard? Well, yeah. But my hard work didn't produce the phenomenal technology that has so enriched---personally and professionally---my life. Nope. For all that I thank the individuals who sought to make themselves filthy rich by making the stuff that would enrich my life. Thank goodness for capitalism!!

This morning I summoned my staff into my office and we watched four short videos produced by Marginal Revolution University, featuring economics professor Don Boudreaux. I've posted the first one below. Here's the link to the series. Please take a few minutes and take them in. And try, just for this brief period, to open your mind and suspend your preconceptions about industry, the roots of progress, trade and immigration. And don't hesitate to share these with the folks around you, they make for great conversation. My staff and I spent a good forty minutes afterward discussing and, yes, debating many of the points Don makes.

If you sometimes find yourself repeating, as if they're gospel, the preachings of your chosen pundit from your favorite cable news channel, syndicated columnist or partisan economist, you owe this to yourself, and to those at whom you preach:

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