Tag Archives: economy

Financial Analysts Watch Turkish Protestors

14 Jun

Civil unrest in Turkey is causing some concern on the part of credit agencies over whether Turkey will be able to maintain its economic performance.  While Turkish markets have recently rallied in light of Moody’s decision to upgrade the country, anti-government protests have occupied the capital and other Turkish cities for more than two weeks.  Protestors claim the political part in power is moving public policy to favor Islamic law, even though the country is officially secular.  A recent law curbing alcohol sales seems to have been the last straw for the non-religious half of Turkish citizens, and protests have persisted and in some cases become violent.

Rating agency Moody’s, led by Raymond McDaniel, said that the Turkish government will need to act swiftly and effectively to curb the unrest in order to maintain its newly achieved rating of Baa3, because the protests could reduce tourism revenue and thus affect the country’s debt to income ratio.  The protests could also make foreign investors hesitant to bring capital into the country if the government is seen as unstable, which is why agencies are emphasizing the dependence on the government’s reaction to the protests, rather than on the protests themselves.  Overall, both Moody’s and rival agency Fitch said there is no danger of a credit downgrade at this time.

The Turkish economy is performing better than expected this year and has managed to bring unemployment to the lowest rate in seven years.  Inflation is also down and the working class seems to be happy.  So far the protests are isolated to the educated groups of people who are against religious rule, rather than being able to ignite the working class.  Most analysts feel the protests will be controllable and not effect Turkey’s economy.

3D Printing Opens Worlds of Possibility for Entrepreneurs

16 May

As the price of 3D printers continues to drop and sales increase, new services are opening up to anyone who has an idea.  Suddenly, the jumping through hoops process of creating a prototype have disappeared.  No longer do people have to suffer the lack of flexibility of manufacturing plants commit to buying 50,000 copies of their own invention just to get it to market.

Now, services like Shapeways can make your design idea a reality almost immediately.  Some of their applications simply make a black and white drawing into a 3D model, with no extra technical knowledge on your part required.  Shapeways will even sell your design for you in their online marketplace if you choose.  With 8 different materials to print with, the possibilities are abundant and everything from art and jewelry to machine parts and tools can become a reality.

A start-up called Kor Ecologic has designed a car using 3D printers that is aimed to be the world’s greenest car. Urbee, as it is named, is lightweight, aerodynamic and requires little material and labor compared to other cars manufactured today.  The car comes with a solar kit for garage rooftops to recharge the battery.  Someday, surely every city will have small companies making custom cars to order out of someone’s garage.  Urbee is just one example of how 3D printing will eliminate manufacturing competition overseas, re-localize economies, and even the playing field for small businesses and start-ups.

The Urbee from Shapeways is being called the "world's greenest car" Image: solidsmack.com

The Urbee from Shapeways is being called the “world’s greenest car”
Image: solidsmack.com

The wonder of this technology is not without its demons.  Recently, a group called Defense Distributed posted plans for printing a gun on a 3D printer online.  The plans had over 100,000 downloads before the U.S. State Department ordered the group to remove the plans.  Such actions and other thoughts have put 3D printing in the hot seat for ethical debate.  Is a system that is easier to exploit mean there will be more abuse than what we experience now? It is hard to say.  Surely, the benefits to social equality and sustainability will outweigh any negative effects the technology could have.  New technology is always met with challenges and hurdles, but one thing is for sure: 3D printing will change our world.

Warren Buffett Says Women Are Key To Economic Prosperity

6 May

Warren Buffett has written an essay for Fortune magazine, to be published later this month, that discusses women—and how they are essential to economic prosperity in America. Buffett echoes the sentiments of many women through the years that have pushed for women to be given more opportunities within the business industry.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett says women are America’s key to economic prosperity.
Image: Fortune Live Media / Flickr CC

Buffett starts out his essay discussing the enormous success of America since it won independence in 1776. “Our secret sauce has been a political and economic system that unleashes human potential to an extraordinary degree. As a result Americans today enjoy an abundance of goods and services that no one could have dreamed of just a few centuries ago.”

And he’s absolutely right. When we look back at just how far our country has progressed in the last two hundred and fifty years, it’s pretty amazing. The rest of the world has also progressed, yes, but no one will argue that the United States are now one of the world’s top powers.

“America has forged this success while utilizing, in large part, only half the country’s talent. For most of our history, women—whatever their abilities—have been relegated to the sidelines. Only in recent years have we begun to correct that problem.”

Buffett goes on to discuss the struggles women have endured over the years just to gain the same basic rights—voting, working, getting highly educated—as men. He recalls how our history is filled with powerful men who stood against those changes—men who ended up on the wrong side of history when all was said and done.

Perhaps most poignant of all is when Mr. Buffett recalls how he was treated differently from the moment he was born. He had all the opportunities in the world simply because he was a boy, whereas his sisters had only the hope of marrying well simply because they were girls. His baseline was as far as they would ever get, despite the fact that they were equally as smart, personable, and capable as he.

Buffett’s essay calls for both men and women to recognize and capitalize on the potential that women bring to this country as entrepreneurs and leaders. He urges us to become free from the societal restraints we’ve placed on ourselves and move forward into a new era—one that is ethically and economically prosperous.

Obama and Romney look to refocus on the economy

25 May

Obama’s groundbreaking announcement made history across the states earlier this month, but afterwards both he and his political opponents instead turn their attentions on an equally pressing issue, the American economy. While gay rights are an important issue, it’s honestly the best move for everyone involved.

America’s economy has been in decline since ex-president George Bush Jr left office, and each side of this election seeks to shift the blame on the other for current state of the country. Our current policy of deficit spending has put the country in to an unfortunate position, and whomever sounds like they have the best plan for the future of the economy will have a considerable edge in the upcoming election.

Providing ease to the mounting national debt and to poverty across the nation is a crucial task on the political agenda, and one that all candidates can safely debate, for the most part. The controversial issue that is gay rights, however, is a subject that can easily cement most voters on to one side or the other. Obama’s announcement was important, but it’s highly encouraging that, instead of attacking Obama’s discussion on the matter, Romney, the leading Republican candidate is instead zeroing in on what he intends to do about unemployment.

I believe gay rights are a vital issue to have a stance on, but not to attack. Whoever wins the election this year, the economy will likely benefit from the focus both sides are giving to it.

High costs of daycare may keep some parents from going back to work

28 Apr

It is becoming increasingly challenging for people to move to a higher socioeconomic class in the current economy.  This is even more of the case for families because, without excess money to send the children to daycare at least one adult usually has to stay home.  It’s a sad result of the economy that nurseries and day cares simply charge more than that one parent would make, thus keeping that family from improving their lot in life.
While it’s not the only factor in some families’ destitution, this is one of the many impetuses keeping the average American family  locked in their current social class. In addition to daycare keeping one parent from entering the workforce, lower class families are starting to give up luxuries that up to even five years ago were common. Family vacations and summer camp for the children have had to be sacrificed because of the lack of well paying jobs available in the current economy.

 

While many of these unemployed parents have a desire to work and bring money into their families, it is an unfortunate fact that they simply don’t have the means to support their children should they take up a job.  And at the same time, because of their inability to supplement the family income these same families are unable to enjoy the same luxuries they were once used to.

Families that once used to feel that they were well off have may very well feel that they are now victims of the current economy.