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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jobs created, but for whom?

Some critics defend luxurious spending by claiming that jobs are created to support such purchases. An example is the 1000 jobs needed to produce a $10 million yacht.

That claim may stand up for many extravagances, but not for all.

In some cases, fashion wear and diamonds come to mind, the money that was made can come on the backs of poor workers in foreign countries.

So the next time someone tries to justify their luxuries by telling you that many people make their living because of such purchases, look closely at that which they are buying. Try to determine if the ones who made the most money on the deal did much of the work.



Saturday, February 10, 2007

Modern Technology

I was checking my credit card transactions on-line the other day and marveled at how fast they are posted after the fact. In the old days, you got your statement and it showed charges you made last month. The newest charge would still be about a week old, and any charges you made after that would be on the next month's statement.

Today, you can see the charges rack up on the same day you incurred them - maybe even within hours - I've never checked. This made me imagine the following scenario.

A man comes home from work and sees a note from his wife that she's gone shopping with a friend. He thinks, Oh, no - she always overspends when she shops with this particular friend. Later, while looking at the budget, he happens to sign onto his account at the bank and looks at his credit card transactions.

He sees a rather large charge from a department store, and sees that it was made that day. He sighs, and continues his work. Later on, he needs to go back to that account, and sees yet another somewhat expensive purchase, this time at a shoe store.

He thinks, Oh my god, my wife's going nuts with the credit card. He calls his wife's cell phone, but gets her voice mail, so she must be talking to someone. About a half hour later - another charge - this time at a hair salon. He calls again - instant voice mail - and leaves her a message.

Then he has a thought. It occurs to him he might be able to follow her path through the shopping mall by tracking her charge purchases. By plotting her activity, and considering her habits, he calculates that she should be right around the intimate apparel shop. So he calls there.

"How may I help you?"

"Yes, I'm looking for my wife. I'm wondering if you happened to have seen a woman - tall, blond, wearing a red leather jacket - probably talking on her cellphone?"

"Yes! She actually just left."

"Did she make a purchase?"

"She sure did! Two hundred and two dollars worth!"


This scenario may be far-fetched, but as modern-day technology improves, we may find more novel ways to use the real-time information that such technology can provide. In this case, a man tracking his wife's whereabouts by following her up-to-the-minute credit card purchases. How would YOU use new technology?


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