DoomwatchTM vs. Timesizing®

Collapse trends - June 16-29, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 622, Cambridge MA 02140 USA (617) 623-8080


6/29/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Xerox revises revenue data, tripling error first reported, by Claudia Deutsch, NYT, B1.
    The Xerox Corp...conceded earlier...it would reclassify more than $2 billion of revenue from previous years. {Now it will be] restating...$6.4 billlion.... News of the restatement shook investors, who sent Xerox's shares plunging....

  2. The [WorldCom] employees - Misery in Mississippi, reward on Maui, by Jennifer Bayot, NYT, B2.
    ...At the company's headquarters in Clinton, Miss., nearly 90 workers began losing their jobs....
    At the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel in Maui, Hawaii, on the other hand, about 200 of WorldCom's top employees basked in balmy weather and stayed in rooms that regularly cost $435-10,000 a night [as part of] the company's annual "Inner Circle" recognition convention.... The convention started on the same day that WorldCom announced it had improperly accounted for $3.8 billion in expenses....
    [Spastic US management rolls on....]

  3. [So it's no wonder that -]
    Consumer confidence slips [from] May, pointer digest (to B5), NYT, B1.
    ...from 96.9 in May..\..to 92.4 in June. The drop was the second in three months and compares with a low of 81.8 in September. The Commerce Dept. reported that personal income rose 0.3% [Bill Gates made another $5B?] but that consumer spending dropped 0.1%.

6/28/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Debt limit rises by $450 billion - GOP pushes hike through Congress, by Alan Fram, AP via Arizona Republic, A7.
    WASHINGTON - Republicans barely muscled a $450 billion debt limit increase through Congress on Thursday, finally resolving an issue that had become an increasingly difficult political burden for the GOP.
    [Oh yeah? And just how does increasingly our already astronomical, taxpayer-liable, annual interest on the national debt resolve anything for the self-styled "conservatives" of this nation, except to confirm once again their colossal hypocrisy?]
    ...The current...debt limit \is\ $5.95 trillion.
    [The new increase will raise it to $6.4 trillion.]
    "Two Republicans, Mr. Reagan and Mr. Bush, they dug the hole," Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said of the deficits that prevailed before..\..the tax cut [Bush] pushed through Congress last year.... "We dug us out of it and now you're back into it...."
    [Seems like the parties are changing sides again. The once-conservative Republicans have become radical in terms of the national debt and the un-separation of church and state, and the once-liberal Democrats have become comparative fiscal conservatives and - in terms of national security...]
    As House GOP leaders spent weeks hunting fruitlessly for votes, Democrats offered to supply them. But as a trade-off, there were demanding higher spending on the anti-terrorism bill and in next year's budget, plus overall budget talks that Republicans feared could have resulted in revisiting next year's tax cut. Republicans decided that was too...high a price to pay....
    [No, Republicans would rather further de-activate the economy by nudging more spending power to the rich, who already have much more than they can spend and are already suctioning the markets away from their own investments by their boring and bored grabbygrabby.]

  2. Bonuses meant to retain talent [at WorldCom] now risk...outrage - With workers facing layoffs, ingredients for a public relations nightmare, by Barnaby Feder, NYT, C1.
    As it moves to lay off thousands of employees to cut costs, WorldCom is also facing the conflicting problem of avoiding an exodus of experienced senior executives needed to help it survive.
    [This is pure BS. #1 - Why on earth would any sane person want this rotten company to survive? #2 - Did these senior executives help it survive so far - by lying on their accounts? No. They are "experienced" only in ruining their company. Let them go and good riddance!]
    The management challenge is heightened by the looming expiration of a retention program that paid 558 top executives roughly $237m in bonuses two years ago - an average of nearly $425,000 - to keep them from leaving the company during a period that will end on July 30.
    [What a crock! #1- how do you get five hundred and fifty-eight "top" executives? This is a top-heavy tub of inefficient slimy lard. And #2 - why are we so all-fired defensive about these 558 over-priced meatheads and not at all concerned about the thousands of really good, but lower-on-the-hierarchy employees who might leave, many of whom are now actually being pushed away by so-called "cost-cutting" - presumably to pay the jerks at the greatly oversized "top"?!]
    "WorldCom had a fairly loyal group of senior executives but they really got blindsided and many are angry," said Paul Unger, managing director of the telecommunications and technology practice in the McLean, Va., office of the recruiting firm of Christian & Timbers.
    ["Ti-i-im-berrr!" There goes another "Christian." Unger is one of them fancy executive recruiters whose job it is to make executives look scarce no matter how many of 'em are looking for a job, so they can get a ripoff pay&bennies package, and Unger can get his percentage. His blather raises some questions, like, how "senior" could these senior executives have been if they got blindsided? And would all this fraud have been able to happen if they hadn't turned a BLIND eye to it? And who cares if they're angry, who cares if they leave - they caused it - there's only 558 of them and there are 17,000 employees getting the push. Hire some of them to the top positions. Could they do any worse? Probably not with one BLIND eye! Enough of this nauseating item.]

  3. WorldCom inquiry appears to bolster a case for fraud - No records found to support company, by Eichenwald & Romero, NYT, C1.
    [And more -]
    Irate at scandals and big losses, pension funds are going to court, by Leslie Wayne, NYT, C1.
    [And more -]
    Liability - A long list of defendants with more to be named - Finding someone to sue is easy; finding someone with deep pockets is harder, by Reed Abelson, NYT, C4.
    [And more -]
    Audit lapse at WorldCom puzzles some professionals - Big lapse in auditing is puzzling some accountants and other experts, by Glater & Eichenwald, NYT, C1.
    [These are the "good" boys who "see no, hear no, speak no evil." Despite the powerlessness of most people in this democracy-veneered plutocracy, these are the boys who buy the veneer - hook, line & sinker - and never consider the effect of having an infinite leak upwards = absolutely no cap on the concentration of wealth, and no cap on overwork either, except the 7x24= 168 hours in the week, despite over a century of downward workweek adjustment followed by over 60 years of freeze. We need a better concept of fair share per person than currently offered by "one person, one vote" and seniority, now both meaningless.]

  4. 3 British bankers are accused of fraud in offshoot of Enron case, by Kurt Eichenwald, NYT, C1.
    [or in a regional rendition -]
    New Enron-related fraud is alleged - With the secret investments, the bankers were able to siphon off $7.3m in income that belonged to their employer, Justice alleges, AP via Arizona Republic, D6.

  5. Brazil: Unemployment at 3-year peak, Bloomberg via NYT, W1.
    Brazil's jobless rate rose more than expected in May from the previous month to the highest level in more than years. The unemployment rate rose to 8.5% in April, the government's statistics agency said. The unemployment rate was 7.6% in May 2001. [In] April 1999...the figure was 8.8%.

6/27/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. [What corruption leads to -]
    2 Argentines killed in protests on economy, by Larry Rohter, NYT, A8.
    ...[yester]day and dozens more injured and arrested when protesters demanding jobs and food clashed with police in the worst riots since political turmoil late last year helped topple Argentina's government. The public has grown increasingly impatient with the long-running and crippling economic crisis....
    [On the South-to-North Rim shuttle at the Grand Canyon Saturday (6/29), Phil Hyde met 3 Argentinians now living in L.A. who had left during the last fiasco in the late 1980s. They regarded the Argentine economy as hopeless because it is completely permeated with corruption. They have absolutely no hope for their homeland.]

  2. [Our American 'progress' down the road of corruption -]
    WorldCom in 'death spiral' - Most experts see telecom headed into bankruptcy protection, by Thor Valdmanis & Andrew Backover, USA Today, B1.
    [And more -]
    WorldCom crisis - Firm closer to bankruptcy with latest scandal, by John Porreto, AP via Arizona Republic, D1.
    [And more -]
    WorldCom facing charges of fraud; Bush vows inquiry - Stock markets shudder - SEC filing moves company even closer to bankruptcy - 'Industry is reeling', by Simon Romero, NYT, front page.
    [And more -]
    The latest corporate scandal is stunning, vast and simple, by Eichenwald with Romero, NYT, front page.
    [And more -]
    WorldCom meltdown has Qwest feeling heat of probe, by Max Jarman, Arizona Republic, D1.
    [And more -]
    U.S. businesses dim as models for foreigners, by Edmund Andrews, NYT, front page.
    [And more -]
    Quotation of the day, NYT, A2.
    "This is the most pessimistic sentiment against the United States that I have ever experienced in my career. There is unanimous agreement that the U.S. is not the best place to invest anymore," Wolfram Gerdes, a Frankfurt banker, in the wake of WorldCom's disclosure.
    [On the other hand, how spoiled and arrogant do you have to be to regard mere loss of first place as "the most pessimistic"?!]

  3. [And speaking of corruption -]
    Former Tyco chief faces new charges, by Sorkin & Saulny, NYT, C1.
    L. Dennis Kozlowski...was indicted on two new charges of tampering with evidence in the case that accuses him of evading more than $1m of sales taxes on six paintings that he bought last fall.... He had already been accused in a 12-count indictiment of trying to avoid paying NY sales taxes by shipping empty painting crates to Tyco's HQ in Exeter NH [though its HQ for tax-evasion purposes is in Bermuda] and then transporting the paintings between NH and Manhattan....
    [This schmuck already has more spending power than he can possibly spend, so what does he exercise his peabrain on in the midst of his obsessive takeover 'drunk'? - avoiding a coupla hundred bucks in sales taxes. Pathetic.]

  4. [Another takeover, another company that hurt itself -]
    General Mills profit plummets 61% in second quarter, Bloomberg via NYT, C8.
    ...because of slow cereal sales and costs from its acquisition of Pillsbury.... Sales in the period...rose to $2.32B from $1.32B \but still\ net income fell to $57m [vs] $146m..\..a year earlier....
    [Companies old and new have trashed themselves - and chunks of their best markets - with takeovers.]

  5. Spam: An escalating attack of the clones - As [volume of] junk e-mail grows, so do [complaints] - Is there no way to turn the tide? by Jennifer Lee, NYT, E1.
6/26/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Study: Home prices near 'bubble' in some cities, by Kevin Krolicki, Yahoo! News Jun 26 10:47 PM ET via Alberto Tabiadon.
    LOS ANGELES - Soaring home prices and lagging incomes have made housing the least affordable it has been in almost 20 years in a handful of overpriced U.S. cities, a study released on Wednesday said. The price increases have created "bubble"-like conditions in some 17 cities compared to historical averages, led by Boston, San Diego, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting said....
    [Yet another bubble, this time created by long-workweek-borne labor surplus and the resulting intense concentration of income and wealth in the context of an unfavorable stock market. "Where in the world can I store my mega-stash? How about real estate?!" Same kind of thinking that led these guys to pile into the dot-com bubble.]

  2. The age of acquiescence - Big Brother-hood of man, op ed by Maureen Dowd, NYT, A23.
    A friend of mine...was recalling her days as an idealistic child of the 60s. Students sitting [in], water beds, strobe lights and Che posters, listening to Led Zeppelin and Dylan, dreaming about remaking the world..., trading nightmares about spying Big Brother and soul-robbing corporations.
    "We thought America was being run by the corporate-military-industrial white male power structure," she said. "We were certain there was a right-wing conspiracy. We thought civil liberties and free speech were imperiled. We were suspicious of rich people. We had reason to believe there was corporate malfeasance and Wall Street was bad. We worried that the government was backing coups in Latin America. We figured the administration wanted to topple all the...messiahs who [supposedly] didn't know how to run their own little societies. We assumed that powerful people were rigging elections. We feared there were people whoo wanted to blast roads through forests and rip up the tundra."
    She recalled all the old leftist tracts in the Nixon years about a secret government plan to suspend the Constitution and declare a national security emergency and round up people without charges, and that the oil companies and banks would plunge us into nuclear war."
    "And now," she concluded..., "all our worst paranoid nightmares are coming true...because we've turned into the same selfish people we thought we were against...." The passionate activists from the Age of Aquarius have grown up to be the new Silent Majority....
6/25/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Average raises for many slip below 4%, by Stephanie Armour, USA Today, 2B.
    ...in many key industries...for the first time in [nine years]. A report issued Monday by The Conference Board...a New York-based research group..\..found employees are getting salary increases that will be smaller than they expected.
    Employees in manufacturing, trade and utilities are experiencing the biggest drops in their raises, and manufacturing workers will get the smallest raises in the survey: 3.5%. The survey [is] based on employee compensation budgets at [533] major companies in six industries....
    [And imagine the situation outside the 500 major companies. Technology multiplies our productivity by leaps and bounds, but the response of downsizing instead of timesizing tips the power gradient so far against employees and in favor of employers that, surprise surprise, "productivity is very difficult to measure" and employee raises never keep up with technological profits. So where does the money go? All this extra spending power concentrates in unspendable masses in the top income brackets, thus preparing the way for the next Great Depression via "the more concentration, the less circulation" and the Ford-Reuther Paradox: Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots." Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars."]
    The Conference Board said the continued environment of uncertainty caused by Sept. 11 is one reason for the smaller raises. \Others are\ the economic downturn and the downfall of such major companies as Enron and accounting giant Arthur Andersen.... In addition, some companies are cutting costs by delaying raises altogether, or instituting hiring freezes and layoffs.
    [Another version of this story is -]
    White-collar workers to see drop in raises, LA Times via Arizona Republic, D4.

  2. [new management fad = destroying evidence]
    Reports of shredding intensify Global Crossing inquiry - After an SEC inquiry began, documents were destroyed, by Simon Romero, NYT, C11.
    [This should be like the turnpikes - you lose your ticket, you pay the maximum.]

  3. The public likes rail, if politicians don't, by Joe Sharkey, NYT, C8.
    You may be switching from the plane to the train, but has Congress noticed? In April, Amtrak ridership was up 1.2%, while airplane ridership was down 13.1%, according to the latest available industry data. Ridership on Amtrak's Acela Express and Metroliner trains, which have been carrying more passengers this year than the airline shuttles, was up 54% in March....
    Ironies abound.... Yesterday, as Congress and the White House played hot potato wiith stopgap proposals for a $200m loan that would prevent an immediate shutdown and buy Amtrak a little more time, United Airlines confidently asked the federal government for a loan guarantee of $2 billion....
    [and a related story -]
    Mineta offers no specifics on Amtrak crisis - Transportation chief says he's confident rails won't shut down, by Raju Chebium, Gannett News via USA Today, B1.
    [= 'the check is in the mail']

6/23-24/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. (6/23) Ready for an upturn, not ready to spend, by Louis Uchitelle, NYT, 3-1.
    [Ah, but that's the whole trick, isn't it. Blather on about productivity all you want, if nobody's spending money to buy it, it's useless. This headline cuts to the flaw at the heart of contemporary economics, the "Ford-Reuther Paradox": Henry Ford, "Let's see you unionize (ie: get less workhours & more pay) for these robots!" - Walter Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars." Compare the related articles -]
    Recovery in technology spending is elusive, by Russ Mitchell, NYT, 3-4.
    [and]
    The nest, refilled, letter to editor by Frances Burch of Richmond VA, NYT, 3-10.
    "You earned your wings, so return to the nest" (Preludes, June 16), described how college students were moving back in with their parents and how, in this uncertain economic time, it may take up to six months for them to find jobs in their chosen fields.
    Graduates need to understand that labor conditions may not always meet their interests.
    [Could he be referring to the global labor glut and employment drought - in terms of 40-hour-a-week jobs? We have not adjusted our workweek downward since 1940, but we've sure adjusted our work-saving technology upward a lot since then!]
    This is a good time for young people to learn to get along on a lot less dollar power and in a less-than-perfect job. This is a time to grow up.
    [To be taking this tone, the writer, Frances Burch, is apparently a mature well-off person. Don't you just love the way in which rich old people enjoin straitened circumstances on others, and then have the nerve to call it "growing up"? And it gets worse -]
    Perhaps it is also a time for young people to consider some form of national service for two years before going to college....
    [Burch also has the nerve to enjoin voluntarism on those with less money. In a jobseeker surplus/job crunch, the wealthy are always quick to invent makework and jobs programs that don't actually pay money. In short, they are quck to advocate 'voluntary' servitude alias slavery - always for others, of course. And the idea that they, who have so much more than they can spend, should actually have to part with any of their astronomical holdings is not even on the table. Yet their concentration of spending power into unspendable masses is precisely the problem, or rather the first and most destructive result of the problem = lack of any automatic mechanism to adjust the workweek downward to maintain the consumer base while work-saving technologies are injected into the economy. Instead, what do these pampered, insulated and isolated individuals recommend? Unpaid voluntarism. Remember Bush Sr. and his "thousand points of light"? - this from a guy so pampered and privileged that he didn't even know what a supermarket scanner was. We have a different recommendation = cut the workweek and spread the workload of the nation across the entire population of the nation to secure a match between our level of tech-amplified output and our level of spending.]

  2. [And why is there not enough spending? Because labor hours are kept in surplus by an obsoletely long workweek, so labor does not get payraises to match its skyrocketing technology-boosted productivity. So who's getting the extra dough? Why, the top brackets, of course, where spending power is concentrating beyond anyone's actual ability to spend it.]
    6/23 After pausing, income gap is growing again, by Louis Uchitelle, NYT, 3-4.
    [And these related articles -]
    More millionaires, even in a downturn, by Vivian Marian, NYT, 3-9.
    [Many of them chief executives and members of corporate boards of directors. Same as during the Great Depression, the money was there - it just wasn't in the hands of the people who actually could and would spend it. It was concentrated hugely in the top income brackets, a sort of 'black hole' economy. And "the more concentration, the less circulation" by the well-known but oft-neglected principle of the marginal efficiency of capital. Compare on the next page -]
    Financial safety nets for chief executives, letter to editor...by Anne Elliott of Princeton NJ, NYT, 3-10.
    ...Director of a corporation? Who wouldn't want this job? Just putting in an appearance earns you as much as $75,000 and maybe even some stock options besides. Knowledge of the company's operations or finances seems optional and, because many directors are on as many as half a dozen other boards, how can they find the time anyway?
    Often, directors are chief executives themselves, which could account for their willingness to approve all those outrageous pay packages and ridiculous contracts [where even if they lose for the corporation, they win for their personal finances - ed.]
    [What's in it for the wealthy CEOs and directors to change their ways and start trimming workweeks instead of workforces and consumer base? In a word, security. Here's the kind of concern that they'll find mounting if they don't -]
    Corporate protection in a violent world, by Patricia Olsen, NYT, 3-14.
    [And from the contents, for example, the caption on the accompanying photo ("Robert L. Oatman, head of an executive protection firm..."), it's clear that this headline should really be -]
    Executive protection in a violent world.
    [Such protection becomes especially urgent when executives are not only abusing technology by cutting jobs per workforce and consumer base instead of cutting worktime per person but also cheating and lying -]
    Former officials say Enron hid gains during crisis in California - Effort is seen to help dampen a political storm, by David Barboza, NYT, front page.
    [or the inside header -]
    Former officials say Enron manipulated profits during energy crisis in California - New twist to a saga of inflated profits, hidden losses and then bankruptcy.
    [In short, they're not just executives and directors. They're crooks. And they damn well better look for protection. Check out Monday's front page headline -]
    (6/24) The imperial chief executive is suddenly in the cross hairs, by David Leonhardt, NYT, front page.
    [which contains some excellent advice from a CEO who...]
    has been attending meetings with investors that he once would have skipped..\.. Said William Zollars, CEO of Yellow Corp., one of the nation's biggest trucking companies..."We have to make sure we're playing it down the middle of the fairway, not close to the lines."
    [Or as St. Paul put it, "Avoid the appearance of evil."]

  3. [another symptom of global labor glut and income concentration -]
    (6/23) Are you better off now? - A Nobel Prize-winning economist sees Clinton-era globalization as an imperialist force gone awry, book review by Joseph Kahn, NYT, Book Review 12.
    [The book in the spotlight?]
    Globalization and its Discontents, by Joseph Stiglitz (W. W. Norton).

  4. [Oh let's see. What 'headlines from hell' on Monday?]
    (6/24) Bush facing test in fight to avert a financial crisis - Economic agenda stalls - Congress may raise debt limit but partisan differences slow much other action, by Richard Stevenson, NYT, front page.
    [No big deal. Their economic agenda is irrelevant to the deep-structure imbalance in the economy anyway = in the context of our level of worksaving technology, a workweek too long to allow enough centrifugation of spending power to buy all the tech-amplified output. Ford, "Let's see you unionize these robots!" Reuther, "Let's see you sell them cars."]

  5. [and another Bush contribution -]
    (6/24) How hot is too hot? Bush's climate policy: more greenhouse gases, op ed by Bob Herbert, NYT, A23.

  6. [And how's it going on correcting the plutocracy that saddled us with Bush in the first place?]
    (6/24) Election law coup d'état, editorial, NYT, A22.
    It took seven years for supporters of campaign finance reform to pass the McCain-Feingold law banning unregulated "soft money" in elections. It took less than seven days last week for a handful of political appointees on the Federal Election Commission [FEC] to open up vast loopholes allowing the very fund-raising barred by the statute. Arrogantly ignoring the law's language, the intent of Congress and even the recommendations of their own legal staff, the commission members gutted major provisions and created huge exemptions....

  7. (6/24) Report shows serious crime rose in 2001 - Increase was first in nearly a decade - Cities that showed a drop in the 90's are showing a rebound, except for New York, by Sarah Kershaw, NYT, A10.
    [Basically, the crime rate follows the unemployment rate. The harder we make it to earn an honest living, the more people take the alternative. We got ahead of the curve on this by criminalizing a victimless lifestyle choice (the so-called War on Drugs) just as we did before the last great depression in terms of Prohibition - and implementing ridiculously long sentences and "zero tolerance" - thus locking up a significant percentage of the cohort-at-risk (of crime), namely young males, especially black, and giving ourselves, at 2,000,000, the world's second-largest prison population after Russia, with one in ten adult black Americans in prison and a cost to taxpayers of $30,000 per inmate per year. Now the dysfunctionality of our 1940-era workweek is catching up. Hmm. What other lifestyle 'crimes' can we invent? Perhaps the Taliban has a few ideas for us. How about...aah...music!]

  8. [here's another idea that could spread 'the Latin contagion' (see 6/21 #1 below) and speed our trip to the Third World -]
    (6/24) Chile will privatize a new span of its noted social safety net, by Larry Rohter, NYT, C4.
    [In short, why stop with privatizing social security pensions? Why not privatize unemployment insurance as well? Oh, never mind the erratic behavior of the stock market -]
    Stocks continue to sink, with no bottom in sight - Investors groan as Nasdaq, S&P fall near Sept. 21 lows, by Adam Shell, USA Today, B1.
    [or the fact that this assumes we've already got an automatic mechanism like timesizing to maintain our consumer base while using technology to reduce the demand for manhours in the job market.]

6/22/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Japan: Economic recovery stalls, Bloomberg via NYT, B2.
    ...as demand for cellphones, stockbrokers and other services fell.... The all-industry acitivity index, a gauge of GDP, fell 1.3% in April from March, seasonally adjusted....

  2. Poland: No economic recovery yet, by Peter S. Green, NYT, B2.
    The Polish economy, Eastern Europe's largest, grew 0.5% in the first quarter, failing to recover from two years of near-stagnation, the country's statistical office said.... Unemployment, which has nearly doubled since 1999, fell 0.6% to 17.2% as some people took seasonal jobs in agricultural and tourism....

  3. Brazil: Stocks and currency sink, by Larry Rohter, NYT, B2.
    ...The Brazilian currency, the real, hit a record low against the dollar and the stock market sank to its lowest level in eight months....

6/21/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. Uruguay, like its neighbors, lets currency float - Concern over Brazil's ability to service its public debt is fueling Latin contagion, by Karp & Druckerman, WSJ, A6.
    [The 'Latin contagion' infects first Argentina, then Brazil, now Uruguay. The soporific NYT headline is -]
    Uruguay lifts limits on peso trading to lift economy, by Larry Rohter, NYT, W1.

  2. [And nowadays, you can't even rely on Europe for some common sense -]
    A reticent European right balks on labor - Critics say workers' clout bashes business, and ask: Where are the Berlusconis?, by Geoff Winestock, WSJ, A6.
    [Berlusconi is the short-sighted, shady, "business friendly" prime minister of Italy. A specific case of Euro biz paranoia accompanies -]
    U.K. business fears expansion of workers' rights, by Marc Champion, WSJ, A6.
    [Never mind that what workers' rights really bashes is CEO shortcuts and short-sightedness. Guess European businessmen are getting ready to sacrifice sustainably longer-term markets for immediate cost-savings.]

  3. [the problem in a nutshell in US summer rentals -]
    Take my summer house, please - Last-minute rentals find surprise vacation deals; owners throw in [extras], by June Fletcher, WSJ, W1.
    ...It's a simple case of supply and demand. In many places, the uncertain economy has actually increased the number of rentals, as people with extra cash take it out of the shaky stock market and invest in second homes, which they often try to rent out....
    Meanwhile, fewer people are renting, because employers have cut back on the raises and bonuses that usually underwrite a beach house....
    [Employers have also cut back on jobs, which is even more effecient at cutting back money for beach houses. The practice of trimming jobs for a few, and a few more, and etc., instead of trimming working hours for everybody and keeping everyone employed, has allowed so much unspendable spending power to concentrate in the hands of the wealthy few that it's actually, black-hole-like, suctioned the markets away from their own investments. The money-centrifuging power of timesizing is needed, or we'll get the centrifuge of graduated income taxes back again big-time, and possible the war that usually goes with it.]

  4. [Meanwhile, back in America -]
    Confounding economy - Stocks take tumble; key indicators up, Republic wire services, Arizona Republic, D1.
    [In the 90s, both the indicators and investors were stupidly optimistic. Now investors have smartened up to the true flaccidity of a high-tech economy with no automatic mechanism to convert tech efficiencies into leisure instead of unemployment, but the indicators still aren't "getting it."]
    Stock markets tumbled Thursday to their lowest levels in 7 months [and] consumer confidence fell in one survey to its lowest levels since Sept. 11, but fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance [probably because the crappy job market has made so few eligible - ed.] and...the NY-based Conference Board reported a 0.4% increase in its Index of Leading Economic Indicators, recovering from a revised decline of 0.3% in April [both well within margins of error - ed.]..\..
    The conflicting indicators are yet another sign that the economic recovery continues but only in fits and starts....
    [And only if you have very rosy "indicators" consciously or subsconsciously defined to exclude the really big bad news - like prison population and environmental conditions. The conflicting indicators are dramatized 3 pp later by these side-by-side headlines -]
    Index of economic indicators up - Even surpasses predictions for May, by Hope Yen, AP via Arizona Republic, D4.
    [vs.]
    Consumer confidence lowest since Sept. 11, Bloomberg via Arizona Republic, D4.
    [Even that great cheerleader, the Wall Street Journal, waxes hystrionic on this occasion -]
    Dow industrials see lowest close in year, Nasdaq skids 2.14%, by E,S, Browning, WSJ, C1.
    [Then there's the latest on the trade deficit -]
    Dollar hits a 2-year low against euro - [And] U.S. trade deficit [still] reaches new heights, by Richard Stevenson, NYT, C1.
    [which the WSJ tries to spin positive -]
    Gradual recovery drives up imports - Leading indicators climb 0.4%, but trade gap widens to a record $35.9 billion, by Robert Gavin, WSJ, A2.

  5. [so what is one American brokerage CEO doing to weather this storm?]
    Hilliard Lyons gets veeery sleepy, WSJ, C5.
    Some companies use corporate retreats. Others, sales contests. But when [the brokerage] unit of PNC Financial Services Group..\..wanted to motivate its employees, it turned to a hypnotist.
    Earlier this week, the...firm's 70 senior executives [sounds top heavy - ed.] were asked by CEO Jim Stuckert to meet at the Seelback Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky., near the firm's HQ,... Their host, Anthony Galie, a self-described hypnotist/therapist.... Hilliard...paid him $5,000 to demonstrate that things aren't always as they appear - so there can be success even during the stock market's extended downturn.
    [Where's the therapy in denying reality?] The seminar drew generally favorable reviews from employees. [But then, what else are they going to say? The American corporation is not exactly a bastion of free speech, unless you have a lot of job options, which brokers don't these days - witness our 2nd downsizing story ("Dynegy halts energy trading online") this very day. However, one anonymous executive gave an indication of the true sentiment - ]
    Not every executive was eager to talk about it. [Were any? - ed.] "I have nothing to say to you, and I don't know why you want me to talk about it," said one of the firm's senior officers before hanging up the phone.
    [Why? To ridicule you, of course. The pathetic fear and insecurity among American employees today, even when they're "senior executives" whatever that means in this cattlecar context, leads them to submit to all kinds of ludicrous and humilating human experimentation by their insulated and isolated CEOs, who have sooo much money and power that they can completely shield themselves from the consequences of their bad decisions. Not a feedback system. Not a system that can last a millennium, and maybe not even another century.]

  6. Labor shortage concerns business, by Dawn Gilberston, Arizona Republic, D2.
    [Here we go again, spinning spot shortages of skills and a general shortage of training as a general "labor shortage."]
    The recession has taken the spotlight off the skilled labor shortage, but the problem persists and must be addressed if U.S. businesses are to remain competitive in the new technology-based economy...David Sampson, US Asst Secy of Commerce for Economic Development said at a meeting of the Ariz. Workforce Investment Board Forum in Paradise Valley.... "Unless the 'skills gap' is closed, America's economy will be extremely vulnerable," he said....
    [This brings in the powerful national security aspects of timesizing, especially in its overtime-to-training and overwork-to-training phases.]

  7. [So what are Americans doing about all this?]
    Moviegoers are flocking to forget their troubles, by Rick Lyman, NYT, C1.
    [Can you spell 'escapism'?]

6/20/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. [here's why investors are scared silly - they know how many shortcuts they themselves take -]
    Big accounting firm's tax plans help the wealthy conceal income, by David Johnston, NYT, front page.
    [Accounting firms have become corrupt, thanks to incessant pressure from the wealthy themselves, whether CEOs as in the Enron-Anderson case, or individual heirs and heiresses as in this article. But the more the wealthy corrupt their accountants, the more they spread insecurity, including their own. "What goes around, comes around."]
    In private meetings with wealthy Americans and their financial advisers, the accounting firm Ernst & Young has for months been selling four techniques to eliminate or sharply reduce income taxes [saying they] are legal and proper. But some experts on tax shelters say that at least one of them should not pass muster in an audit and that because the techniques hide transactions from the IRS, they may amount to tax evasion, which is illegal, rather than aggressive tax avoidance, which is legal.
    [- but rather pathetic, considering many of these people have benefited from the American system beyond imagining, and incredibly remain so insecure that they don't want to give back - or if they do, they "give back" to the wealthiest "charities" and make no contribution to the centrifugation and activation of the colossal quantitiess of spending power they have amassed. Our only security is in one another, and a flexible, non-stifling, creativity-unleashing sharing system is crucial to our mutual securitization. Sharing political power a la "one person, one vote" can no longer cut it. We need to move on to sharing the vanishing work, and the Timesizing approach is the most gradual and market-oriented.]

  2. [And here they are again, rendering meaningless what little democracy still gives meaning to "the land of the free" -]
    Dollars pour in as campaign-finance law evolves - GOP dinner uses old rules to get millions, by Sharon Theimer, AP via USA Today, 19A.
    WASHINGTON - Regulators began mapping out the new world of political fundraising Wednesday when they approved some election activities that can still be paid for by large donations from companies and unions after a general ban on "soft money" takes effect.
    A few blocks away, pResident Bush was taking advantage of the old laws to raise more than $30 million for Republican congressional candidates at a dinner....

  3. [And what Bush & the wealthy don't do to democracy, the good guys will do by wearying in well-doing -]
    Ventura's exit seen as blow to minor parties, by Tom Squitieri, USA Today, 19A.
    [Compare Lionel Jospin's resignation from politics in France.]

  4. [Which leaves the cynics in power free to whack one element after another of our options and efficiency, such as -]
    Bush plan would end a monopoly for Amtrak, by Matthew Wald, NYT, A16.
    [Oh yeah, kick'em again while they're down! We quietly subsidize buses by nationalizing their "tracks" (highways). We quietly subsidize airlines by nationalizing their "stations" (airports) - yet in the wake of 9/11, airlines are still struggling. But we expect passenger rail to survive without government support - even though in the wake of 9/11 many more Americans want to go by train if they possibly can? And now we're expecting passenger trains to survive with more competition - because they've already got plenty of competition from buses and planes, and that ain't no "monopoly." If we in this country thinks we have any claim to "efficiency" when we're clobbering one locomotive-dozens of carloads and subsidizing one locomotive-one carload (= buses and planes), we're nuts.]

6/17/2002  headlines from hell -
  1. In some pockets, 90's boom was a bust - Census data show median income rose, with many exceptions - As income grew, so did inequality, experts say, by Janny Scott, NYT, A16.
    ...Economists and sociologists say the gains landed disproportionately in the laps of a small fraction of Americans already exceptionally well off. Inequality increased, as it has since the late 1970's, but at a slower rate nationally than in the 1980's, some experts said....
    [Wasn't that what we called "The Me Decade"?]

  2. Falling wages and troubled lives: Town stumbles as economy shifts - An upheaval in work and wages helps brings about a decline in civic involvement, by Peter Kilborn, NYT, A10.

    SULLIVAN, Ind. - "People are so worn out these days, they don't want to run anything," said Paula Followell...a legal secretary for her husband, Douglas. "They are busy scraping together multiple paychecks and commuting to work."...
    Mr. Followell complained that few people had time to get involved in the community any more. "We don't have any interest from anyone young," he said of the town, which is 100 miles southwest of Indianapolis and the seat of Sullivan County.... The drop in civic engagement follows an upheaval in work and wages that has left the town, in the words of a Sullivan banker, Bruce Walkup, "flat in the dumpster."
    In Sullivan County, pop. 21,751, men's incomes dropped 11% in the 1990's, according to the 2000 census. The jobs in strip mining coal, which paid about $50,000 a year, all but disappeared....
    As men's wages have declined, more women have taken jobs to make ends meet. 54% of women now have full-time jobs, up from 46% 10 years ago.... The stark result of this shift, people here say, is a condition in which everyone is a breadwinner and the whole town loses.... The Optimists and the Women's Club have gone....
    ...Said Jean McMahan..."The few people who do it can't do it all.... The mothers are so busy, working, trying to keep clothes clean and meals on the table. They get home and it's, 'Get out of my hair and let me get this washing done.'"...
    For many people, life has gotten worse. "More kids are out running the streets because they cannot pay a sitter and pay the bills too," said Tina Gourley...a bartender at Runt's Lounge....who is divorced [and] raising two daughters, 15 and 10.... "My older daughter couldn't handle the responsibility of taking care of her sister, plus taking care of herself," said Ms. Gourley, who now works days. "So she went wild. She was getting suspended from school for fighting. She stole a car. They put her in a juvenile home for a weekend."
    According to the County's court judge, P.J. Pierson, rising rates of juvenile delinquency and drug abuse are the result of people working more and spending less time with their children.... Families are breaking up because parents are working too hard, he said. In 1990, about 7% of the adults in Sullivan County were divorced, according to the census. By 2000, the number had risen to 12%....
    [Thus America destroys itself going down the wrong fork in the road - minimum wage and makework instead of maximum workweek and worksharing. It just happens slowly, nothing dramatic, but over a few decades, devastating. By not controlling the workweek, we are destroying ourselves more effectively than if we were doing it on purpose.]
    Though blue-collar, heavy industry jobs that enabled many men to support a family have been evaporating for three decades, the decline from 1989 to 1999 spread beyond jobs in factories, mills and mines to those in offices, stores, warehouses, and trucking.
    Some have turned to the drug business. In the country jail, half of the 64 inmates in May had been arrested on charges of making or selling methamphetamine. "It's an epidemic," Sheriff Ed Martindale said. "A lot of them are trying to make a living."
    [- in an America that has made it easier to earn a dishonest living than an honest one -]
    "One was doing $150,000 or $160,000 a year," Mr. Martindale said. "A lot of them are illiterate. They can't get a decent job."...

  3. Same job, less pay - [Chevron refused higher-pay permanent work to a 'disabled' employee who'd been doing the job on a contract basis for 20 years], letter to editor by Dir. Ellen Bravo of 9to5 in Milwaukee, NYT, A20.
    [Compare -]
    Disabled on welfare face pressure to work, by David Abel, Boston Globe, front page.
    [Fine, but WHERE ARE THE JOBS?]

For earlier collapse stories, click on the desired date -
  • June 1-15/2002.
  • May/2002.
  • April/2002.
  • Mar.12-31/2002.
  • Mar.1-11/2002.
  • Feb.16-28/2002.
  • Feb.1-15/2002.
  • Jan/2002.
  • Dec/2001.
  • Nov.16-30/2001.
  • Nov.1-15/2001.
  • Oct/2001.
  • Sep.15-30/2001.
  • Sep.1-15/2001.
  • Aug/2001.
  • July/2001.
  • June/2001.
  • Apr-May/2001.
  • Mar/2001.
  • Feb/2001.
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  • Dec.21-31/2000.
  • Dec.11-20/2000.
  • Dec.1-10/2000.
        Earlier Y2000 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-10/2000 page.
  • Dec.16-31/99.
  • Dec.1-15/99.
        Earlier 1999 months accessible via links at bottom of Dec.1-15/99 page.
  • Dec/98.
        Earlier months accessible via links at bottom of Dec/98 page.


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