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G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/19/2020 5:43:14 PM

When looking into factors that cause wars to happen, seems if it isn't religion, it's economics in most cases, if not both. Hence it would seem essential to have a grasp on some basics of economics to better understand how/why some conflicts came about. While it often is a matter of markets and/or resources and access to such, there can be other nuances. Along with looking at specifics regarding various wars/conflicts, we can also examine some of the basics common to this area of human activity.

Following is a starter article/link of sorts to get some basics covered, considered, via some excerpts;

6 Key Takeaways Every Student Should Receive from Econ 101
A more widespread understanding of Econ 101 would reduce the likelihood of destructive government policies winning public support.
...
In a 2015 podcast conversation with American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, Vox’s Ezra Klein declared that “there’s nothing more dangerous than somebody who’s just taken their first economics class.” Often expressing a similar contempt for Econ 101 is University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak.

This expressed skepticism of Econ 101 comes across as wise and sophisticated—even hip—to many people who don’t grasp Econ 101. And it gives the mistaken impression that those who warn of the alleged folly of taking Econ 101 too seriously are experts not only in elementary economics but also in advanced economics.

Yet this contemptuous dismissal of the relevance of Econ 101 is foolish. Those who express it either really don’t know any economics whatsoever or mistakenly presume that the theoretical curiosities explored in Econ 999 are more relevant than is the reality revealed by Econ 101. But the truth is that Econ 101 taught well supplies ample, important, and timeless insights into the way the world works.

These insights, sadly, are far too rare among those who are unexposed to elementary economics.
...
But it doesn’t follow from these observations that knowledge merely of economic principles is “dangerous.” The young person who absorbs Econ 101 but who takes no further courses in economics will nevertheless, and for the rest of his or her life, possess a genuine understanding of reality that is distressingly rare among politicians, pundits, preachers, and the general public. Far from being a danger to society, this person—inoculated against the worst and most virulent strands of economic ignorance—will serve as a beneficial check on the spread of ideas that are dodgy and sometimes perilous.

The true danger is not knowledge of “only” Econ 101. The true danger is ignorance even of Econ 101.
....
They’re called economic principles for a good reason: What is taught in a solid economic-principles course are the principles of the operation of a competitive economy guided by market prices. They describe the logic of markets and, accordingly, in most cases offer a trustworthy guide for understanding the economy—and an understanding of the consequences of government interventions into the economy.

It’s true that reality sometimes serves up circumstances that render knowledge only of economic principles inadequate. But if economic principles did not on most occasions give reliable and useful insights into how real-world economies actually operate, they would be anti-principles. They ought not be taught, and students should demand tuition refunds along with compensation for being defrauded by their colleges.

But in fact, again, enormously important insights are conveyed in a good Econ 101 course. Here’s just a partial list of what an attentive Econ 101 student learns:

1. Our world is one of unavoidable scarcity, and so to use more resources to produce guns is to have fewer resources available to produce butter. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, a free gun, or a free anything else.

2. Wealth is goods and services; wealth is not money. And so to create more money without creating more goods and services is to create not more wealth but only more inflation—along with the distortions and uncertainties that inflation unleashes.

3. When the cost that a person incurs to take some action rises, the attractiveness to that person of taking that action falls. This fact is why higher taxes on carbon emissions reduce carbon emissions and why higher taxes on income-earning activities reduce income-earning activities.

4. Profits are entrepreneurs’ reward for successfully satisfying consumers’ wants; profits are neither stolen from consumers nor extracted from workers. Therefore, the greater the good performed in the market by entrepreneurs, the higher the entrepreneurs’ profits.

5. Prices and wages aren’t arbitrary. They’re set in markets by consumers competing against each other to purchase goods and services and by sellers competing against each other to sell goods and services. Sellers in competitive markets no more control prices than do buyers.

6. Because of the principle of comparative advantage, it’s literally impossible for one country to monopolize the production of all goods and services.

I submit that these and other lessons taught in Econ 101 are vitally significant and need not await being polished and conditioned by the lessons of higher-level economics courses before becoming immensely useful. Far from being dangerous, these and other Econ 101 lessons are beautiful and essential.
...
https://fee.org/articles/6-key-takeaways-every-student-should-receive-from-econ-101/
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/28/2020 4:14:35 PM

While there are a few other items/posts I need to make here on "The Basics"; this article I came across is a helpful, real world lesson, especially on what not to do, and the many shortcomings and pitfalls of "Socialism";

How Venezuela Struck It Poor
The tragic — and totally avoidable — self-destruction of one of the world’s richest oil economies.
...
In the spring of 1959, at a secretive meeting at a yacht club in Cairo, Venezuela’s then-minister of mines and hydrocarbons, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonso, hatched a plan to give big oil-producing countries more control over their black gold — and a greater share of the wealth it promised to create. A year later, his scheme would be formally christened the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. Venezuela, which sits atop what are arguably the biggest petroleum reserves in the world, was the only non-Middle Eastern country to be included — a testament to its importance to the global oil business.

Venezuela was considered rich in the early 1960s: It produced more than 10 percent of the world’s crude and had a per capita GDP many times bigger than that of its neighbors Brazil and Colombia — and not far behind that of the United States. At the time, Venezuela was eager to diversify beyond just oil and avoid the so-called resource curse, a common phenomenon in which easy money from commodities such as oil and gold leads governments to neglect other productive parts of their economies. But by the 1970s, Venezuela was riding a spike in oil prices to what looked like a never-ending economic bonanza. Complemented by years of stable democracy, it seemed a model country in an otherwise often troubled region.

Such success makes the sorry state of Venezuela’s oil industry today, not to mention that of the country at large, all the more surprising — and tragic. The same state that, six decades ago, dreamed up the idea of a cartel of oil exporters now must import petroleum to meet its needs. Crude production has tanked, hitting a 28-year low in the fall of 2017 when it dipped under 2 million barrels a day. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a collapse of that magnitude [anywhere] without a war, without sanctions,” said Francisco Monaldi, a Latin America expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Venezuela has not, of course, fought a war in recent years. But the combination of plummeting oil revenues and years of government mismanagement has virtually killed off the country’s economy, sparking a humanitarian crisis that threatens to engulf the region. Caracas refuses to track inflation (or at least publish its findings), but the National Assembly calculates the annual rate to be more than 4,000 percent, and the International Monetary Fund predicts it could hit 13,000 percent this year. Given how much prices have already risen since January, the real number could be 10 times higher.
...
What explains the country’s precipitous decline from being one of Latin America’s richest and most stable states? Mark Green, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, blames President Nicolás Maduro — who, in May 2018, won another six-year term in elections widely denounced as fraudulent — and his “delusional” policies. But while there’s no question Maduro is partially culpable, to fully understand how a country blessed with the world’s biggest oil endowment could end up so crushingly poor requires going much further back. The fuse for the bomb that is now blowing up Venezuela’s oil industry — and the country along with it — was deliberately lit and fanned by Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, the strongman Hugo Chávez, not long after he swept into power in the late 1990s.
...
The decline and fall of Venezuela’s oil industry essentially begins with its nationalization in 1976, a time of booming crude prices and rising resource nationalism. President Carlos Andrés Pérez sought a much greater role for the state over the economy and especially wanted to use the country’s fast-growing oil wealth to turbocharge development. That year, to gain full national control over the oil fields, Caracas banished foreign oil firms and created a new, state-run oil monopoly called Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). The moves marked the capstone to Pérez Alfonso’s decades-long dream of Venezuela grabbing full control of its destiny. It was also the logical outcome of the widely held belief that the country’s oil, discovered in 1922 on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, was national patrimony.

At first, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company stood out from peers such as Petróleos Mexicanos in many ways. A large number of its executives, for example, had previously worked for foreign companies in the country and imbued the new firm with a business-oriented outlook and a high degree of professionalism. PDVSA had a lean workforce, an efficient cost structure, and a global outlook: A decade after its creation, the company acquired half of Citgo, the big U.S. refiner, and stakes in a pair of European refineries.
...
By the mid-1990s, international firms, including Chevron and ConocoPhillips, had moved back into the country and were hard at work unlocking Venezuela’s massive heavy oil deposits. But in 1998, the price of oil collapsed again, dipping to $10 a barrel. The impact on Venezuela — which, like many oil-rich countries, had never managed to diversify its economy despite a bout of reform efforts in the 1970s — was severe, given that petroleum exports then represented about one-third of the state’s revenues. Then along came Chávez, a former army lieutenant colonel who’d served time in prison for an abortive coup attempt in 1992. He won the 1998 presidential election on the promise to reshape and restore Venezuela’s reeling economy.

Among his first targets: the technocrats at PDVSA, especially the company’s deeply knowledgeable then-chairman and CEO, Luis Giusti, who’d led the drive to reopen the country’s oil sector. “Chávez saw Giusti as a potential rival. In fact, Chávez used the slogan ‘PDVSA is part of a state within a state,’” said Juan Fernández, a former PDVSA manager who would also fall afoul of the strongman. Giusti, alarmed by Chávez’s plans for the oil company, resigned just as he took office in early 1999; he was then replaced by a revolving cast of political appointees. The departure of Giusti, who’d spent three decades in the Venezuelan oil business and had won international plaudits for overhauling and modernizing the state-run firm since taking over in 1994, would prove to be bad news for PDVSA’s fortunes.

Chávez’s goal was to exert control of PDVSA and maximize its revenue, which he needed to fund his socialist agenda. But achieving the latter required cooperating with the rest of OPEC, which, as in the 1980s, wanted to cut production in order to raise prices. The problem for Chávez was that many of the PDVSA’s then-managers wanted to increaseproduction, by continuing the development of Venezuela’s technically challenging heavy oil fields. To do so, they needed to reinvest more of the company’s earnings rather than hand them all over to the government. So the managers had to go.

Unfortunately for Venezuela, Chávez — like many of the people he appointed to run PDVSA — knew nothing about the business that was so central to the country’s prosperity. “He was ignorant about everything to do with oil, everything to do with geology, engineering, the economics of oil,” said Pedro Burelli, a former PDVSA board member who left the company when Chávez took power. “His was a completely encyclopedic ignorance.”

But Chávez wasn’t the type to let that stop him. In 2001, the former paratrooper pushed through a new energy law that jacked up the royalties foreign oil firms would have to pay the government. It also mandated that PDVSA would lead all new oil exploration and production; foreign firms could only hold minority stakes in whatever partnerships they struck with the national company.
...
The president survived the putsch, but his popularity plummeted — especially inside PDVSA. By the end of 2002, opposition to Chávez had solidified, and big labor groups called for a national strike in hopes of pressuring him to leave office. Oil workers backed the effort, setting the stage for what would turn out to be the critical step in PDVSA’s road to ruin.

During the two-month work stoppage, PDVSA’s output plummeted as field workers stopped pumping and tanker crews refused to leave port. Venezuela’s oil production fell from close to 3 million barrels a day before the strike to levels as low as 200,000 barrels a day in December 2002.

Crucially for Chávez, however, the international oil companies refused to join the protest. “The multinationals kept producing during the strike,” said Monaldi of Rice University. “That is what saved him,” by blunting the economic impact of the protest.

Chávez immediately fought back. During the strike, he axed scores of senior executives, including Juan Fernández, one of the organizers of the protest. In the months that followed, the pink slips kept coming, and by the time the smoke finally cleared, Chávez had fired more than 18,000 workers. With them went most of the managerial expertise and technical know-how PDVSA had managed to preserve during the earlier purges.

This evisceration of the PDVSA’s human capital would prove the most damaging of Chávez’s many moves against the company. Even his own government soon realized the harm it had done. Accidents and spills began to proliferate, and in 2005, a top energy ministry official admitted privately that it would take at least 15 years to rebuild the technical skills lost by the mass firings. Another energy ministry official even asked U.S. diplomats in Caracas to help arrange training in the United States. And in the years since, the situation has only worsened. Conditions at the company (and in the economy) are now so bad that employees take home a pittance — just a handful of dollars a month — and face political pressure to support the regime. Such treatment has led to the large-scale flight of skilled workers: more than 25,000 since last year, union officials say. According to Reuters, the exodus has grown so big that some PDVSA offices have begun refusing to let their workers resign.
...
For all Chávez’s abuses and mistakes, Venezuela’s oil industry managed to stagger along for a surprisingly long time. Production held virtually steady from 2002 (just before the strike) to 2008, when global oil prices peaked at almost $150 a barrel. That year, Venezuela earned about $60 billion from oil. (These production numbers come from OPEC; the government’s own estimates are higher and viewed skeptically by the rest of the industry.)

The higher prices more than made up for the slight decline in production — between 2002 and 2008, Venezuela’s output fell from 2.6 million barrels a day to 2.5 million — allowing Chávez to keep spending and masking the need for a major overhaul of the industry. But even high crude prices couldn’t hide the deeper economic dysfunctions caused by Chávez’s efforts to build what he called “21st-century socialism.” Shortages of common consumer goods became endemic. A country that was once an exporter of agricultural products had to start importing lots of government-subsidized food — another common feature of the resource curse. “In 2007, there were already intermittent shortages,” said Patrick Duddy, who served as U.S. ambassador in Caracas from 2007 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2010. “There was, at times, no milk of any sort on the store shelves, not fresh, not powdered, not condensed — and this was when oil prices were soaring. It was startling.”
...
Reality finally came crashing down in the summer of 2014, about a year after Chávez died from cancer and was succeeded by Maduro. Oil prices collapsed from a high of more than $100 a barrel in the summer to less than half of that by January 2015. By the end of that year, Venezuelan oil was selling for less than $30 a barrel, even as the budget was predicated on prices of $60 a barrel. By this point, Venezuela had become nearly wholly dependent on oil revenues, which made up about 95 percent of its export earnings. Cheaper oil tipped the economy into recession in 2014 and a full-blown crisis in 2015, with GDP shrinking by almost 6 percent and inflation exploding. And because Venezuela had neglected to diversify its economy, the country was out of options.
...
All these problems cost PDVSA — and Venezuela — huge amounts of cash. Selling oil at a discount, shipping it off to China (and Russia) to pay off the national debt, and subsidizing Venezuelan drivers cost the company, and the country, more than $20 billion a year, Monaldi estimated. Among other things, this massive shortfall has made it increasingly difficult for PDVSA to pay service companies such as Halliburton and Schlumberger, which help it drill for oil. Last year, the two companies wrote off more than $1.5 billion in unpaid bills owed by PDVSA. And since they’re not getting paid, they’ve slowed their work on the mature oil fields that were once Venezuela’s livelihood. That means even less light oil — which makes all the industry’s other problems even harder to solve.

That toxic mix collided in 2017, when production suddenly collapsed by 30 percent, marking a net decline of 2 million barrels a day since Chávez launched his plan to use Venezuela’s huge oil endowment to build a socialist paradise. The oil ministry now is reportedly bracing for a further fall during the rest of this year, to as low as 1.2 million barrels a day.
...
Real reform would require a wholesale change in the country’s economic management: getting hyperinflation under control, establishing a stable and realistic exchange rate, and building an enforceable legal framework that could offer foreign investors some semblance of predictability and protection. Of course, it’s impossible to imagine Maduro doing any of those things, especially after recently winning (or stealing) another term. And his re-election carries additional short-term risks for the tottering Venezuelan oil sector. The United States is considering additional sanctions that could limit exports of U.S. crude and refined products to Venezuela or even ban the purchase of Venezuelan crude by U.S. refineries. Either move, or both, would deal yet another body blow to an industry already on its knees. What likely can’t be put back together again is the state oil company. “There is no money in the world that can bring that back,” Burelli said. “You might be able to rebuild an oil sector full of private players but not PDVSA.”

Ultimately, Caracas’s bid to nationalize the oil industry and assert its sovereign rights to the country’s black gold has all but ensured that less and less of that wealth will be left for Venezuelans. With no other vibrant economic sector, the only way to fund the government is by increasing oil production — which would require investing up to $10 billion a year for a decade, Burelli suggested — and the only way to attract that kind of investment is by offering international companies favorable terms. That means a bigger cut for them and a smaller cut for the state.
...
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/how-venezuela-struck-it-poor?utm_source=pocket-newtab
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/28/2020 11:22:35 PM

How exciting. And what nonsense. You say: Quote:
While there are a few other items/posts I need to make here on "The Basics"; this article I came across is a helpful, real world lesson, especially on what not to do, and the many shortcomings and pitfalls of "Socialism"

"Basics"? Basic whats? "ADE's"? "BXY's"? Can you see my yawn from Lynden?

You've posted this in General History, and you make it sound as if you are offering a 101-level class in Reagonomics. David, this is, for better or worse, a history forum. Please learn some SA history before you blame everything on a system that works for scores of nations.

I'm not interested in your shallow evaluations of economic theory, particularly when it's connected to predetermined values. So spare MHOers whatever "Basics" you want to offer, and spare us your limited and somewhat tedious arguments.

You may believe you have a point to make. I find this post tedious. In a world where a new Cold war may have been created by a US President, and we are living with a pandemic, I'm not ready to tolerate half-baked lectures on the "basics" of socialism. In a world of incredible grief, I'm not prepared to accept US values or concepts. ...

I'm going to stop there, because I'm getting angry. I'd rather talk about things we can share. Do you think we can do that? Otherwise, we're going to get into the scores of US nastiness throughout South and Central America over the past five decades.

Cheers, and stay safe
Brian G

I'm not going to argue with you further about this, because there is nothing to argue about.
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/29/2020 9:42:18 PM

Consistent with the message of the OP (Opening Post), a first start point would be that of WEALTH versus MONEY. Two concepts often confused and mangled/mingled in dialogue and minds of some when dealing with economics. NOTE: going to start here with some basic applications and uses of the terms, nuances and picks -of-nit left to any others whom care to join in/get involved.

WEALTH = Goods or Services of Market Value such that others are willing to exchange their goods/services for such. basically engage in Trade (originally Barter).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth
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MONEY = A device used to achieve two goals in dealing with Wealth;
1) A means(device) for measuring Wealth
2) A means/device to facilitate the exchange/trade in Wealth that circumvents the cumbersome and often inequitable process of Barter.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money
[Read More]

A "formula" I came across a few decades ago might be useful for consideration here;

((Human Energy(HE) times(x) Tools (T) [Knowledge/Skills; "picks-n-shovels"; Steamships, train, planes and trucks; factories; Etc.] )) Plus (+) Resources(R) Equals(=) Wealth(W)

(HE x T) + R = W

Basically, humans doing something/stuff(working) will produce Wealth ...

... from crops to harvest, through to manufactured goods and consumables, etc.

The Value of those produced Goods and/or Services are Wealth and can be expressed and traded in Money.
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/29/2020 10:51:25 PM

Early History of human activity, culture and later civilizations, could in a thumbnail and broad description, be one of the "Chief and his thugs" have ownership and rights to all produced within their tribe/community; later evolving into "The King, and Royal Bloodlines/Families" holding similar exclusive Rights and Authority. Millennia of "Rule by Oligarchy" can be debated and parsed to uhmpth degree here and please go for it. ...
... came a point some few thousands of years ago where private ownership of "citizens" gained enough traction to make more effective trade and relations among nations/peoples possible, and human cultures and civilizations began a more effective path of progress leading towards conditions we know today.

Enter the trader/merchant class and society and it's economic foundations began to see growth towards more common wealth, improved technology, and greater well-being for all. Along the way, this diversity of Wealth creation and Retention would pave the way for greater evolution in human governments, societies, and individual well-being.

The seemingly evident bottom-line being that the more those whom MAKE Wealth can Keep what they Produce, the better off society will be and the greater it can grow. Wealth retention is the foundation of capital for investment, and essential to growth and increased productivity, increased Wealth.

During the past few millennia we have seen this develop to point where average human can(should) enjoy a higher standard of living than ever in the past.

Unfortunately, in recent century~decades, we've found those whom would Regress back to the poverty and lower standards of the past that existed when "The State" controlled and dominated the economic efforts of it's citizens; humans in general.

This eternal conflict continues ....
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/29/2020 11:49:26 PM

In past couple of centuries, the economic issues for humankind have settled into two polar applications, adjusted by the onsetof the Industrial Revolution - extensive development of machinery and mechanized transportation, etc.

On the one side there is the concept of Free Enterprise;
QUOTE:
Free enterprise, or the free market, refers to an economy where the market determines prices, products, and services rather than the government. Businesses and services are free of government control. Alternatively, free enterprise could refer to an ideological or legal system whereby commercial activities are primarily regulated through private measures.

In principle and in practice, free markets are defined by private property rights, voluntary contracts, and competitive bidding for goods and services in the marketplace. This framework is in contrast to public ownership of property, coercive activity, and fixed or controlled distribution of goods and services.

In Western countries, free enterprise is associated with laissez-faire capitalism and philosophical libertarianism. However, free enterprise is distinct from capitalism. Capitalism refers to a method by which scarce resources are produced and distributed. Free enterprise refers to a set of legal rules regarding commercial interaction.
...
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/free_enterprise.asp
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OR ....
Capitalism
...
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.[1][2][3][4] Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets.[5][6] In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism
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The counter-point; or polar opposite is Socialism~Communism;
Socialism
...
Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership[1][2][3] of the means of production[4][5][6][7] and workers' self-management of enterprises.[8][9] It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems.[10] Social ownership can be public, collective, cooperative or of equity.[11] While no single definition encapsulates many types of socialism,[12] social ownership is the one common element.
...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism
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Communism
...
Communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal")[1][2] is a philosophical, social, political, economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money[3][4] and the state.
...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism
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Would seem the difference between Socialism and Communism is the amount of National State Control versus more Local government control. However, even that looks to be more nuance than substance and to many, both are 'red' apple, one a MacIntosh and the other a Fuji ~metaphorically speaking.

One useful comparison, or metaphor, can be found in fiction of the form of "Atlas Shrugged", Ayn Rand, where a fictitious and near future USA has become divided into those whom produce wealth and those whom consume the redistributed wealth. In essence, there are the wealth "Makers" versus the wealth "Takers".
Atlas Shrugged
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged
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In many ways, these terms are applicable to the current divide in politics and economics (the two being closely tied), not just here in the USA, but across the globe. One could say there are two types of humans; 1) those whom want to be Makers and have as little guv'mint as possible, and those whom want to be Takers and use guv'mint as means to legalize their theft from the producers~Makers.

Considering how this divide/conflict can quickly delve into "life or death" matters, it is no small academic discussion/debate/argument.

Another engaging and informative fiction presentation come from "the Dean of American Science Fiction"; Robert A. Heinlein's novel;
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress
[Read More]

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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/30/2020 9:39:12 AM

38 million people in the US were categorized as poor in 2017.

One in eight Americans live below the poverty line.

28 million people in the US did not have health insurance in 2018. That includes 4.3 million kids.

Median income for black American households was $41 K compared with $70 K for white, non-Hispanic households. The poverty rate for black Americans was 21% compared with 8% for whites.

source: US Census Bureau

I'm not sure of the purpose of this thread, unless filling space with wiki articles now passes for discussion on this forum, so I just thought that I would toss out a few statistics that may or may not reflect problems associated with capitalism and the disparity in wealth acquisition.
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G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/30/2020 3:00:51 PM

"Poor" is a category in any economic demographic~breakout where income and/or wealth are stratified.

The classification for "poor" or "poverty line" are subjectively set by government agencies and vary from nation to nation.

In the USA, most of our "poor" have a roof over their head, electricity, running water, a TV, often a computer and most have a car/motor vehicle. In essence "poor" in the USA; or most of the Western, developed nations; tend to have lifestyles that would be considered middle to upper class in most other nations.

i.e. it's relative.

A link(s) to where within "US Census Bureau" you found this would be polite and helpful. Usual proper historical dialogue requires documentation.

Purpose of this thread was presented in the first paragraph of the Opening Post (OP).

In my thirty+ years experience on a variety of Forums, sharing of information is also a major purpose/focus. I've also noticed the usual breakout/demographics on political poles and ideological variations, actual percentages vary some based on foundation and nature(host) of the Forum. "Discussion" is one part of purpose/function, but for some members of forums that is more in nature of debate to argument, and occasional trolling.

As saying goes, 'Opinions are like rectums, everyone has such." Some opinions would appear to originate from rectums. Also, why ramble on when the original source says something more efficiently ?

No economic system is flawless. Capitalism/Free Enterprise provides incentive or coercion, rewards in proportion to investment of knowledge, labor and capital - usually; but also includes an element of risk(chance) along with potential for varied success.

Socialism/Communism is basically a form of using the State/Government to legalize theft from the productive to "redistribute" to those less productive or non-productive. As practiced historically, and to date, it also shows as great a disparity in wealth "acquisition"~ more correctly re-distribution; and tends to share the poverty over a larger demographic and proportion of the population. See the movie; "Moscow on the Hudson" for an example of the nature of life in the USSR just prior to it's collapse;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_on_the_Hudson
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Those few nation where there is the illusion of "socialism" "working", don't have as many satisfied citizens as claimed but more importantly, tend to provide via the National "credit card" of deficit funding and growing Debt, passing the costs off to future generations of citizens/taxpayers.
Debt to GDP Ratios;
https://www.usdebtclock.org/world-debt-clock.html
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/30/2020 4:10:45 PM

no comment.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/30/2020 4:51:30 PM

Quote:
no comment.


Don´t need to.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/30/2020 9:19:09 PM

a.k.a. = no alternatives to suggest or present.
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 6:51:53 AM

Quote:
a.k.a. = no alternatives to suggest or present.


No, as in I think you have emotional problems and you have not a real clue what you are talking about. Now this is not meant as an insult but an analysis of the content that you write as well as how you interact.
I have come to the conclusion you are either a very poor troll or a very bitter angry old man. Your posts are a host of scraps jumbled and thrown together from all kinds of anger-justifying pieces, taken from here and there, rationalising your right to despise and hurl abuse at other people.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2810
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 8:45:31 AM

I would like an explataiton of exactly what the hell a "conservative with a little c" means.

Not for me necessarily, I`m asking for "a friend." I understand. I am a "leftist with a little l."

Respects, Morris
----------------------------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 3:41:06 PM

Quote:
I would like an explataiton of exactly what the hell a "conservative with a little c" means.

Not for me necessarily, I`m asking for "a friend." I understand. I am a "leftist with a little l."

Respects, Morris


And there was me thinking you were a Georgian with a little "g".

I will finally get off my lazy backside and explain Morris when time and health allow. As quite a few have asked me. And I´m a lazy bugger at the moment. It is a european expression. It is really a bit difficult to explain different european political thoughts and systems for Americans used to the US two-party system. WTF, it´s even difficult to understand all the differences and I´ve lived in a couple of countries. Although I´m amazed at all the different state systems in the US. Learn a lot on MHO.

A promise Morris
Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2810
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 4:32:06 PM

Trevor? Everybody knows it`s Jawjah with a "J."

Respects, Morris
----------------------------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 4:51:56 PM

Quote:
Trevor? Everybody knows it`s Jawjah with a "J."

Respects, Morris


LOL

It´s one of those strange things on MHO. Not only do we not know what the other looks like ( OK, I´m not showing my old, ugly mug on the internet), but we don´t know what the other sounds like. For me, imagine John Lennon talking with a german accent.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 7:10:27 PM

Morris, in Canada we use terms similar to Trevor's "conservative with a little c" when talking about socio-economic-political conceptions. In Canada, the expressions are "small-c conservative", "small-l liberal" and – not so much any more – "red Tory".

Here, at least, I am certain at least part of the reason for such terms is because we have a Conservative Party and a Liberal Party. Without getting into specifics, e.g., I hold some fiscally conservative views, but would not want the be associated with the fiscal policies of the Conservative Party. If I say I am a small-c conservative fiscally, I have made it clear that I am not politically aligned with Conservative Party fiscal policy.

In a different thread, Killroy63 mentions his Libertarian tendencies, but talks about registering as a Republican to work on changing the system from inside a major party. I think the "small-C" thing, in Canada at least, may reflect a similar dilemma within a different political reality. Because we have a greater variety of political parties, and because affiliation with a political party is a voluntary, private and often arbitrary issue, we can and do separate our private values from those of our political parties.

Just some few thoughts on your question.

Cheers, and stay safe
Brian G

----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 5/31/2020 8:05:58 PM

The party that rules in my province is the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. And it wasn't so long ago that the federal Conservatives were also Progressive. I never thought that the pairing of conservatism with progressivism was a contradiction in terms.

I believe that the concept of progressive conservatism is not exclusive to Canada. It seems to me that there was a movement in Britain too but I forget when that happened.

Sometimes described as conservatism with a heart, PC philosophy determines that fiscal responsibility and limited government can be combined with social reform to build a safety net.

And our first PM, John A. Macdonald was a member of the Liberal-Conservative Party in 1867.

Cheers,

George
----------------------------------
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2810
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/1/2020 8:22:32 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Trevor? Everybody knows it`s Jawjah with a "J."

Respects, Morris


LOL

It´s one of those strange things on MHO. Not only do we not know what the other looks like ( OK, I´m not showing my old, ugly mug on the internet), but we don´t know what the other sounds like. For me, imagine John Lennon talking with a german accent.

Trevor

Trevor, one of the odd things I discovered about listening to the radio is that we all imagine what some one may look like. We develop a mental image of them. And then, when we actually see them some where, the mental image is the reality....not the real image. The person we finally see...is an imposter.

Respects, Morris
----------------------------------
"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/1/2020 8:21:05 PM

Morris and Trevor, this is something that has fascinated me for years, maybe because I'm both a reader and a bit of a magpie. I used to complain about movies made from books I had read, and feeling that the movie version just didn't live up to the book. But of course even in the best adaptations to film, the person casting the actors can't match the characters that already have a full life in my mind.

As to radio, for many years I received all my news from radio by choice. My late partner in crime Annette had no TV, and during our evening meal time we listened to CBC news and discussed issues as necessary. I'm fairly certain we got a better read on the news, to be honest. A voice must convey information to retain focus; a background visual can skew a particular argument simply by the choice of setting.

A brief step into today's news from this perspective. From time I wonder if any MHOer I'm chatting with might be black, or hispanic, or Jewish, or whatever. And to be honest, I think the fact a person on a website is judged by his comments really defines who they are. It's another side of "Who you are speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say", or whatever that expression is.

Just a final audio/visual thank to Trevor. From his comments, I see John Lennon in Himmler glasses, with cropped hair and a lightning-strike badged high collar of an SS uniform, saying to a captured airman undergoing psychological probing, talking over background covered Beatle's song and saying, "Ve haf Ways of making you sink!" OOPS, that sounds more like Peter Sellers in "Dr Strangelove"! And yet, as much as I like the image, it doesn't seem to capture the reality Trevor is when he posts.

Cheers, and stay safe,
Brian G



----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/3/2020 5:44:27 PM

Brian,

I said SOUNDS like, not looks like.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/3/2020 6:00:51 PM

Trevor, you certainly did. And I certainly misread what you wrote. Apologies.

Cheers, and stay safe,
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/3/2020 8:33:40 PM

Pleasant Spring weather and rapidly over-growing yard and garden keep me from rejoining here, but on related note, here's something that might help. Your results don't need to be broadcast, this is mostly an FYI quiz. Personal honesty helps and note the answers allow a slide scale of points to work with as you graph them, (yes, this has a USA slant/perspective, should still apply to other nations) ...

Where do you fit?
Find your fit on the world's smallest political quiz.
...
More than left and right
Our world-famous quiz challenges the dominant "Left versus Right" political model, which is misleading and fatally flawed.
...
[Read More]



.........................................
See also;
Video: The American Form of Government
What is America's true form of government? Is the United States a democracy or a republic?
...
[Read More]
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/3/2020 9:40:54 PM

And these are our options? None of the above, thank you very much!!

One of my functions when I contracted for others was to create graphics to clarify complex issues. While this is a beautiful graphic image, it doesn't meet the demands of the issue. If this is how the world is to you, I get why we disagree on many political issues. It's a bad matrix!

Cheers
Brian G
----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/4/2020 12:47:49 AM

Quote:
And these are our options? None of the above, thank you very much!!

One of my functions when I contracted for others was to create graphics to clarify complex issues. While this is a beautiful graphic image, it doesn't meet the demands of the issue. If this is how the world is to you, I get why we disagree on many political issues. It's a bad matrix!

Cheers
Brian G

You have a "better" ... please present.

I bet I could guess what your answers would be and where you would place.

Meanwhile, did you go to the website that created it to get context?

Or is this just another spat of being contentious?
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/4/2020 10:20:00 AM

The site was a Libertarian site. I couldn't help but notice that the top of the graphic indicated that, so whether there was a bias indicated, I don't know.

I took the quiz but the result didn't really reflect my views. The political spectrum is much wider than that acknowledged by this quiz.

So if you aren't slotted into conservatism, liberalism, or libertarianism then you fall into two catch alls.

We have centrist for the moderates, and statist for all of those whom subscribe to the evil ideologies that the other three despise. (socialists, democratic socialists, communists, perhaps fascists).
----------------------------------
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/4/2020 1:27:40 PM

Quote:
The site was a Libertarian site. I couldn't help but notice that the top of the graphic indicated that, so whether there was a bias indicated, I don't know.


Read some of the articles on the site and you'll get a better gauge on what Libertarian is here in the USA. It would be the same/apply other place on this planet.

Quote:
I took the quiz but the result didn't really reflect my views. The political spectrum is much wider than that acknowledged by this quiz.


My results had me more to the "Left" and up towards "Libertarian" while barely in the "Centrist" section, which weren't quite how I would have described myself before. But on reflection afterward, it seemed to be accurate for the limited scope it engages.

I'm not convinced the "political spectrum" -globally - is any wider than that presented. Granted it is a bit generalized, but many of the supposed nuances are just that, nuances (metaphor= apples with same skin color, slight flavor variations).

Quote:
So if you aren't slotted into conservatism, liberalism, or libertarianism then you fall into two catch alls.

We have centrist for the moderates, and statist for all of those whom subscribe to the evil ideologies that the other three despise. (socialists, democratic socialists, communists, perhaps fascists).


Which those five "catch alls" would basically encompass. At least until the Borg arrive

We humans like to think we are more unique than others, other than our similar and close associates, but while one might use different terms to describe, the concepts and breakouts of this "quiz" apply globally. so it would seem from my studies and experiences.

I have a neighbor whom is from Poland. Zdzislaw was involved in Solidarity movement back in the 1980s and had misfortune to spend several months as a guest of the KGB. When released, he was advised to consider getting his affairs in order and out of the country or he might be a "guest" again within a few months. He and his family did so and are glad they came to USA. He has no fond words or thoughts regards "socialism" of whatever version/flavor there is. Not impressed with our "socialist" political candidates/politicians and disdainful of recent "AntiFa" riots. The "quiz" presents no challenge to his experiences and perceptions.

Note that this "quiz" isn't comprehensive, just a general gauge device. One can tweak it a bit such as pick an answer value to each question that isn't the 20-10-0 "suggested", but any number in between such as 3, or 7 or 18, etc. Also, one could do some "what ifs", and see if those qualifiers would alter your score. For example, the question about Social Security (which could be applied to any other nation's government sponsored retirement funding for its citizens) would have to be qualified as to if it is just the employee's contributions or those of the employer as well.? Or would that be only a percentage which the individual could redirect into say an IRA or 401K? (For those whom don't know, the Social Security contribution(tax) paid by an employee is matched by one from the employer).

It might help to view this and then take the quiz;
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody Parody (Political Opinions Rhapsody)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IABRgZH12YA&list=RDIABRgZH12YA&start_radio=1&t=0
[Read More]


----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2778
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 6/6/2020 5:33:09 PM

Quote:
Trevor, you certainly did. And I certainly misread what you wrote. Apologies.

Cheers, and stay safe,
Brian G


No need to apologise Brian, I found it funny.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/11/2020 1:11:58 PM


----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/11/2020 2:58:58 PM

This reminds me .... Of the "good ole days" many months ago when Canadians were frequently seen at our(Bellingham, WA) Trader Joe's loading up on quantities of certain items to haul back across the border and"market" to their fellow Canadians.

Ah, free enterprise.


----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
George
Centre Hastings
ON Canada
Posts: 10971
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/11/2020 7:23:18 PM

Hello David, are you saying that Canadian retailers are stocking up in the US and selling in their stores in Canada? We know that plenty of Canadians used to border shop but for individual needs but I haven't heard of say, convenience store operators, stocking up in the US.
If the authorities inspected, they would look for Canadian markings including the French language on the products.

Not saying that it doesn't happen but I wonder whether a retailer would take the risk.

Cheers,

George
----------------------------------
Brian Grafton
Victoria
BC Canada
Posts: 3203
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/11/2020 8:59:57 PM

George, I tend to be with you on this.

I was first introduced to Trader Joe about five years ago, having been told that they had great spices at outrageously good prices compared to products available in Canada.

It was true. Pepper corns, salt crystals (for grinders) and the like were available at about one-third the CA price. And it is true, I bought some of each, either to have available in the future or to offer as a gift when being invited for dinner. But to sell? Never crossed my mind. And David is close enough to the border to know that his implication is a no-show at the border.

I could travel to the US and buy some 125 packets of whole peppers (assuming US1.50/packet) without breaking the duty-free limits. If I lived in Victoria, I would spend $US90 return to get to and from the US. I would face an overnight time, which even if I decide to eat private, which is going to add at least another US$50. I’ll save US$6 on a gas fillup. I’m trying to find where I gain anything here.

In my experience (and of course this is pre-COVID), US officials don’t give a damn about what CDNs may be hauling back to Canada. Fair enough. But Canadian border officials do care, and are as fully astute as (but perhaps less obvious than) their US compatriots.

To suggest that there is some kind of black market activity (and that’s the only alternative to your suggestion) is – IMHO – not on. I can’t think of a single important issue the US has that would be worth attaining from the black market. I admit that’s probably a statement of my lack of “cultural” sophistication, but at least when it is applied to staples, it is true.

I don’t want your GMO products. I don’t like your “diesel cheese”. Your regular eggs have no real flavour. I might pay what you consider an outrageous price, but my eggs come from real free ranges and taste like it.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

----------------------------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/11/2020 10:40:56 PM

Not retailers. My experience was private citizens buying max they could and then resell to friends and family.

Get a grip folks.

BTW, we have a variety of cheese types , not all "diesel", but what I saw most of was gallons of milk, likely for making cheese at home. And the handful of five gallon jerry cans of petrol into the trunks.

Update: Though my initial comment was about Trader Joe's, saw even more Canadians at Fred Meyer(Kroger) and Costco. I recall that for some conversations with those Canadians in line to check-out, it was the larger selection of products(and variety within types) and lower prices that were the main lure.

I've been across the border often enough to notice there aren't any bargain$ up there and other than to attend Abbotsford Air Show usually have little reason to go North. Did have an invite to join a table top game of Market Garden (general Vancouver area), which keeps getting pushed back due to COVID, now looking to be sometime in 2021, hopefully.

UPDATE #2;
About those eggs, I can partly understand and having a few hens running around in the back yard, do get about 2-3 a day of the cage-free/free-range sort. While appearance and flavor is different, nutrition may be the same;

The Surprising Reason the Color Of Egg Yolks Matter
Kiersten Hickman 8/10/2020
...
I tend to be cheap with my grocery shopping week-after-week. But if I find a great deal on quality products—like cage-free eggs—I always take advantage of it. This week I came home with a cage-free 18-count carton and immediately made some scrambled eggs when I got home. When I cracked open the egg, the yolk was orange. At first, it felt off-putting. But after a bit of research, I soon found out that having an orange yolk is actually better for my health. Surprisingly, the color of egg yolks actually does matter.

According to a study published by the Journal of Food Science, egg yolks that have a darker color (such as a mustard yellow or a light orange) typically contain even more omega-3s and vitamins compared to an average lighter yolk egg. The difference in the two different eggs is actually based on the diet and health of the chicken who laid them.

In order to better understand the subject, I spoke with two different registered dietitians about egg yolks to find out if it's really healthier to eat darker egg yolks, and what consumers should know.
....
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/the-surprising-reason-the-color-of-egg-yolks-matter/ar-BB17Nhoe?li=BBnba9O&ocid=msnbcrd
[Read More]
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden
WA USA
Posts: 337
Economics ~ Wealth and Money
Posted on: 8/25/2020 5:16:16 PM

Archive of sorts;
Investors Have Been Making the Same Mistake for 300 Years

If Isaac Newton could lose all reason in the pursuit of riches, so can anyone else.
August 23, 2020
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/even-geniuses-make-bad-investors/615592/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

BTW, "The Atlantic" limits number of free articles, so keep in mind ...
----------------------------------
TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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