Saturday, December 13, 2008

Changing Times

I have long been fascinated by the reactions of different Generations to the same stimuli. An Economist must utilize such information to estimate changing Consumption patterns, especially under the constraint that Consumer buying patterns alter with the Age of the Generation. It may be a factor which will vitally impact the World Auto industry. Older Generations of Americans grew up accustomed to wide-open empty Spaces; I, as a Baby-Boomer, still enjoy travel on the two-lane Highways, and the solitude of an empty Car, while traveling great distance across the landscape. Succeeding Generations are far more attuned to crowded restaurants, packed Malls, and Raves. They break the isolation of the Automobile with the constant cellphone, and a committee-style decision process where you use the cellphone to contact the designated friend with expertise in the area of decision. Baby-Boomers such as myself have been known to even shut off such Instruments under the pressure of achieving Privacy. We are of that Generation where the Car gives Us peace in the midst of traffic jams. Our Children are used to a constant buffeting of larger crowds, and have an intrinsic ability to reduce their Privacy to their person with seeming ease. This characteristic may be the downfall of the Auto industry, as Sales decline because the Automobile loses its sanctity as a House of Privacy on the move; drive-in windows may even lose their appeal, as Consumers find the idling automobile too expensive to maintain with future fuel prices.

Here is the article Readers should read when considering Investment. Almost no portfolio manager made the right decisions before the last downturn, which has did much to crate the crisis conditions of today. Risk is not like a business loss where the losses can be accounted as a percentage loss of equity. Risk has the property of ‘all or nothing’ in that the Profits will be realized, or only a fraction of the equity may be returned; often only after there has been an expensive utilization of legal fees. An Investor must be attuned to the concept of dissolving assets, where Value disappears without initiate action. Risk insists that Participants must be ready to accept complete loss of equity in a process in which the Participant has little contribution beyond the initial investment. Those who think that the repayment process is automatic and always operates as planned, must learn or lose!

Retail Sales are still doing a Dance, with the imaginary Steps of Gasoline price declines hiding a respectable maintenance of Sales. The problem remains that it is the Christmas Season, and Consumers still hope for a joyous holiday; but they also may have already scheduled for a much reduced Consumption pattern with the New Year. Hard Times may be coming if this is the case, but We can always hope for the Best. lgl

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