Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lux Class Airline?

When will airlines begin to approach the gap between lavish first class and the private jet industry for people who can afford more than first class but can't afford a private jet. 

 Instead of going BIGGER pick up a "whisper jet" trick it out to approach the private jet Lux Look, and run scheduled luxury flights between "active markets." 

For the purpose of this discussion only, let's say 

New York to Plano Texas or Miami to LA. 

If you plan it right, you can bypass LAX or places like O'Hare or Logan and opt for smaller airports with limousine service to and from City destinations. 

Cheaper than the Private Jet, but "miles" more pleasant than crossing the River Styx to get on an airplane. Macadamia nuts notwithstanding. 

I heard recently, that air travel will double in the next 20 years. So I pondered: 

Will we need twice as many airports or need to make our airports twice as big? Then I heard about the larger planes. 


Waiting lines 
Wait times 
Baggage check-in 
Baggage claims areas on arrival 

Marketing: Find a need and fill it. 

There should be an opportunity in the aforementioned niche market. 

More money than first class or luxury class can satisfy, but not enough money for a private jet; 

That is where Lux-Class Airlines comes in.  

Larger than a Gulf Stream or a Lear jet, but smaller than a "commercial jet" that can be tricked out to give the Lux-Class traveler his or her money's worth. 

Fun to think about.



Copyright (c) 2017 Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Oil: Speculation or Calculation?

It would seem that we undervalue the influence of speculation. 

Why increase production unless you have a reasonable expectation of a growth curve? 

You know that increasing supply with the expectation of oversupply and declining demand as a result of a slowing global economy will drive prices down. 

Expert analysts had to have known that Saudi Arabia would act to protect revenue. And that protection played out by Saudi Arabia pumping oil. 

In addition, in "Energy Independence" I pointed out that if we no longer buy Saudi Arabian oil, we will no longer be customers.  And by extension, we will no longer be friends.  At best, we will have an expedient relationship.  I also pointed out that Saudi Arabian officials will be talking to Chinese officials. They are.

The only reasonable interpretation goes to motive. 

The motive? 

Flood the market, drive down prices, and drive competitors out of business. Then buy up their assets at bargain prices.

Add to this the propensity to speculate on price fluctuations must in some manner add to the price fluctuations. 

Just saying. 



Copyright (c) 2017  Bob Asken
All rights reserved. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

And the Winner is....

Apple.  Google.  Microsoft.  Facebook. 

Circa 2030

And the winner is....

I already wrote an article "Beware the Datum" about the manipulation of information, or data, or statistics.  
"Figures don't lie, but liars figure." Unknown.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel.

Slim Fairview's Four Rules of Communication:


The Concepts:

Gadgets and gizmos.  Maybe content.  Talked about i-TV and home control systems. Rumors about an Apple Car.

The ultimate search engine.  So much a part of the fabric of online activity that Google has become a verb. Not unlike Xerox(R)  Also involved in devices, R&D and Social Eugenics.  Hope is a plan.  Came up with the idea of implementing an ill-considered name change to Alphabet.  Analogy: Did Apple change its name to fruit cocktail to reflect the many different activities the company is engaged in?

You can talk for a thousand years. Microsoft is a high-tech, okay, a very high-tech stationery store.  A digital ream of paper. 25 (million) column accounting paper. Calendars and appointment books. A digital DayTimer®  And an "outsourced" office management system.

"There is no cloud. It's just someone else's computer." Unknown.

Each launch of a new system seemed to be a failed attempt to improve on Windows 98 2nd Edition.  More bells and whistles. More loud noises, bright colors, and shiny things. Nonetheless, A virtual Staples®

Metaphorically speaking, "literally a virtual world."  A global community.  Of the 7.3 Billion people on the Earth  1.8 billion people are on Facebook.  

"When we stop calling it social media and start calling it business media, we will better understand the medium" ~Slim Fairview.  

This is where life will happen. This is where life is happening:  Business, Entertainment, Communications, Content, Movies, Television, Telephone, Telegraph, Camera, Photo Album, Yellow Pages®, you name it, it's Facebook.

A Three Legged Table 

Just as a three-legged table can't wobble because all three legs sit in one plane, technology needs three legs.  Device, Content, Audience.

For the purpose of this discussion, 

Apple provides the ultimate receptor:  the i-Pad.

Facebook provides the ultimate audience in addition to a vital element.  The ability to analyze market segmentation.  Vast, diverse, interested, global.


Here, the keyword is flexibility.

Case in point: One reason it is so difficult to succeed in the restaurant business is that the population has increased 3-fold, but real-estate has not.  Land demand drive up the rent.

The second reason is that the market has changed.  What is that change?  The change is that the market changes. Quickly.  Fads come and go and at an accelerated and accelerating rate.

  • You don't know what the next fad is until it's upon you.
  • You don't know how long the new fad will last.
  • You don't know when the current fad will end.
  • You don't know what the next fad will be.

  • And investors have money to invest.

Just as many people (Slim included) believe that MTV shortened the attention span with music videos that offered 2-second pic-bites, "Social Media" has created a society of cocoons.  And remember:

"A caterpillar becomes a butterfly in a cocoon. Not under a microscope."
~Slim Fairview.

In a rapidly changing world, filled with uncertainty, there is a primal need safety and that safety comes in the form of control. Even if only over one's own life. Therefore, people are building firewalls.

The Experts

People never see change coming.

For those who are too young to remember, and those who are too old to remember, the reality is this simple:

Despite the fact that research has shown that people don't want more choices, people want closure, the store will stock sweaters in 14 colors not 4.  And this does not touch on market segmentation.

When I grew up, television had channels: 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13.

Today? 150 Channels? 500 Channels?

You can see how dividing the market will cut ratings, cut ad revenues, cut profits, put some out of business, cause others to merge and/or acquire, and create a desperate quest for ad revenues. Ad revenues mean the company stays in business.  No money, no TV.

Today, when content exceeds the demand, a company like Facebook, with a bit of data, and only a nodding glance at analysis, can tell the advertisers who are watching what, where they live, what their interests are, what they buy, how much they spend, and who should buy ad time.  Also, how to capture the attention of the audience.

I already wrote about the Observer Effect and Observer Bias.

It is short, metaphorical, E-Z 2 understand.


"Folks don't want to listen to all that chatter. They want to see real acting.

"Folks don't want to squint at that tiny screen. Folks want to see the Big Screen.

The Motor Car:
"Noisy, smelly, toy for the rich.  It'll never replace the horse."

The Airplane:
If God wanted me to fly, there'd be an airport in every city in the country. Do you see any airports?

Vinyl to 8-track. 8-track to cassette. Cassette to CD.  CD to Napster, to i-Tunes, to streaming music.

VHS v. Beta.  VHS to DVD. DVD to Video on Demand.  Video on Demand to Streaming.

All the people who head up what's hot in technology have these in common:

The refusal to see what's coming.
The refusal to accept what's coming.
The denial of what's coming.
Justifying the status quo.

This brings us to our original question.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook.  Circa 2030.

And the winner is......

Which company will lead the pack?  Which company will be the also-ran?

The keywords are adaptation, co-operation, flexibility.  
Moonshots and marketing won't pay the bills for long.

The Definitions of Slim Fairview:

Advertising: convince the consumer to buy what you want to sell. 
E.g. Every day low pricing.

Marketing: Sell what the consumer wants to buy. (Find a need and fill it.) 
E.g. Discounts and coupons.

11 February 2013 I posted the article

Word on the street. Folks inside Apple floated the idea of buying TWX.

The Receptor
The Audience
The Content

The mechanism of Facebook allows people--globally--to make their demands known. And the information provided by consumers will allow the content providers to give the customers what they want and give the advertisers the information they need to give the consumers the information they need to make informed decisions when purchasing
goods and services.

This is called "on the pulse of the market".

It changes faster than Mr. Blandings can keep up with even after he finishes building his dream house.

Sincerest regards,

Slim Fairview

Copyright (c) 2017 Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Beware the Datum


I am watching television.  I hear a number.  Population growth percentage. This is given to bring calm to those who predict that overcrowding will bring doom.  I hear this and I feel better.

About a year later, I remember something I posted to my blog about statistics.

If the Government spends $100,000,000 a year on a programme, then cuts $20,000,000 from the program bringing the spending to $80,000,000, The headline reads, the Government cuts spending by 20%.

A year later, the Government restores the $20,000,000 in spending, increasing the spending from $80,000,000 to $100,000,000, The headline reads, the Government increases spending by 25%. 

A similar paradigm applies to population.

When I was young, the population was 100,000,000 people.  The population increased by 10,000,000 or 10%. 

Recently, with a population of 300,000,000, the populations increased by 15,000,000 people.  Or 5%. 

One report reads, that the growth trend in population increased from Ten million people to 15 million people or that the population growth rate increased by 50%.

The other report reads that the growth trend in population growth moved from 10% to 5%.  Or that the population growth rate decreased by 50%.  

I am reminded of this each and every time I hear someone report a number.

Beware the Datum.



Copyright (c) 2017 Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Apple Ireland Taxes

Apple and the EuroTax Conundrum.

Can this work?

Apple pays Ireland $14 Billion in taxes.

Ireland gives Apple a $14 Billion Dollar Economic Development Grant.

Apple takes the write-off for the taxes.

Slim receives a measly 1% consulting fee with half the money going to form a "Work Tank" to help to develop Globalisation through the forming of an E 20 Group of Nations and a Union of Emerging Nation Economic Unions.

Just a thought.

Warmest regards,


Copyright (c) 2016 Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap

It is not the redistribution of wealth, but rather the redistribution of money that is the solution to the inequality. 
How do I know?  It happened before.

Caveat:  This is an Economics lesson. Focus on the Economics only.

Mr. Widget will not hire one additional widget maker until he has an order for one (1) widget more than he can produce when operating at maximum capacity and optimal efficiency.

As with the Government.

There are two (2) ways to increase revenue:

1. Increase taxes.
2. Increase the number of tax payers.

So too, by way of metaphor, there are two (2) ways to close the inequality gap.

1. Redistribute wealth.
2. Redistribute money.

Wealth is what you have.
Money is what you make.

To continue the metaphor in plain speaking:

When Widget raises wages Employees make more money.

People who make more money buy more stuff.

People who sell stuff, buy more stuff from manufacturers.

When manufacturers sell more stuff, they make more stuff.

To make more stuff, they need more widgets.

Mr. Widget hires more widget makers.

More workers: More buyers.

This brings us back to the Government.

More workers making more wages:

1. Increase Government revenue without increasing taxes.
2. Need less Government spending--because they are working--decreasing the Government need for revenue.

Mr. Widget makes more profits by selling more widgets, not by raising widget prices.

The result?

We redistribute the money, closing the gap between the rich and the poor.
Provide Government with more "discretionary revenue" to spend on [infrastructure]  because more people working means fewer people shackled to poverty by being kept shackled to poverty programmes.

The same paradigm applies to Emerging Nations to help one (1) Billion People living on less that one ($1) dollar a day.



Copyright (c) 2016. Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

EU Taxes Patience


The EU ruling on Apple’s Taxes and Ireland is not about Apple or taxes or Ireland.

  • The EU, first of all,  is shedding light the suffering of a nation that capitulated to the fait-accompli issued by the Eurocrats.  That nation is Greece.
  • The EU has just validated Brexit.
  • The EU has justified those in Ireland who would follow Britain's lead if there was good cause and if they see a pathway to a better future.
  • The EU has just campaigned for an Italian referendum to leave the EuroUnion--and supported same.

And the issue goes beyond the EU Ruling on Ireland and Apple and Taxes.

In my article, "This is Brexit", I suggested the formation of The Exit Nations.

I can now add Ireland.

Over the past six years, I have repeatedly warned that the EuroCrats’ pursuit of Austerity would lead to disaster and explained the inherent flaws in the plan.

I forecast the migrant crisis in Merkel's Big Lies?  In lies number six and seven, I specified the scapegoating and vilification of migrants and the reactionary  rise of the right. The strategies were intended to destabilise the target nation in Merkel's Economic Putsch.

My statement on Brexit was simple:  

If Merkel knows that Britain can't leave the EuroUnion, then Britain can't negotiate reforms.  

Remember, Cameron said repeatedly that he wanted Britain to remain in a reformed EuroUnion.  

He would have had a better chance of success if he'd flown to Arizona, USA to look for the Lost Dutchman Mine.  

I tweeted to Cameron, "Be Britain's next Wellington, not Britain's next Tsipras.

Britain voted to leave and Cameron showed an astounding lack of leadership by resigning.  Witness Greece.  The Greek people voted OXI.  Tsipras met with the EuroCrats, Merkel issued a fait-accompli, Tsipras folded and returned to Greece with his tail between his legs.

Years ago I said, "The problem is not that Europe can't afford Greece. The problem is Europe can't afford Germany."  And, that Greece should leave the EuroUnion.  And I spelled it out.  No one listened.  My views were validated in the recent book reviews of books by Merritt, Galbraith, & Stiglitz in the New York Times Book Review and in a discussion Steve Liesman had with a guest on Squawk Box on CNBC.  

(There is no proof that had I not been distracted by my cat, Zoe--who wanted her tummy rubbed--I would have heard what the guest had said.)

Then we have the paper written by Dr. Ken Rogoff, the purported architect of austerity.  I recently read the article about the youngster majoring in economics who tried running Dr. Rogoff's numbers through the computer and failed to duplicate Rogoff's results.   I was validated, but slow to catch a major detail.

Did Dr. Rogoff's paper go through Peer Review?  There are some who may believe:

  • If the paper did not receive peer review, the paper was worthless.
  • If the paper did receive peer review, the peer review was worthless.

Nonetheless, Austerity was a failure.  And the EuroCrats still clutch retentively to Austerity like a two-year old with his hands down his nappy fondling his own bowel movement..

In This is Brexit, the expedited manœuvre propounded to save the EuroUnion is this simple:

The leaders of the Exit Nations: Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, & now Ireland:


Read through "the rules"

Use a blue pencil to strike out any provision that encroaches on domestic issues and/or national sovereignty

Write up the ultimatum. Eg:

You have 15 days to agree to the demands.

If you do not agree to the demands in 15 days, we will immediately declare the provisions contained herein to be null & void, not in force, and unenforceable.  We will form our own union.

If you need historic validation, consider the Colonial Rebellion of 1776.  

There was no invoking of Rule 50.  

There was no 2-year exit process.

There was no Meeting of The Empire Nations.  

"Before you can leave the Empire, your exit must be approved unanimously by the colonies in the Empire Union: Canada, Australia, India, Hong al."  

Read:  This is Brexit.

This, of course, is metaphorical.  However, it explains, why you don't talk about it.  Why not?  

I explained the reason in The Unspoken Understanding.

Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Slim Fairview said,  "By extension, the argument can be made that the definition of sanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results.

Europe has embraced austerity.  
All austerity measures have failed to improve the European economy.
The US embraced economic stimulus.  
The US economy improved.  
The EuroCrats should embrace a successful strategy, not cling to a failed strategy.  
Specially not one based on a paper that has purportedly been repudiated.

The frenzied declamations prior to the Brexit Vote served to affirm the validity of the Brexit vote.  The more hysterical the predictions of disaster grew, the more desperate the EuroCrats appeared.

After the Brexit vote, the face saving arrogance:  "...don't let the door hit you in the bum on the way out." made the EuroCrats look more ridiculous than they did by Britain's rebuff of the Union.

The EuroUnion can be saved. The European Economy can be improved. However, not by adhering to Merkelism: an economic paradigm based on the fear that someone, somewhere, is earning a living.

My next admonition.  

To Prime Minister Matteo Renzi:
"Be Italy's next Garibaldi, not Italy's new Berlusconi."
Before Italy holds a referendum or an election, meet with Britain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain;  Discuss the reforms; Write them up; and Issue the ultimatum.  

If the EuroCrats refuse to accept them, let the EuroCrats bear the burden of the collapse of the European Economic Union.

Best of luck.

Warmest regards,


Copyright ©  2016  Bob Asken
All rights reserved.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Merritt, Galbraith, and Stiglitz

I read the reviews in The New York Times Book Review.

I read the reviews of the new books by Giles Merritt, James K. Galbraith, and Joseph Stiglitz.  I read with rapt attention. This, because I've been writing articles about the EuroCrisis for the past 6 years.

Of course, The Drs. Merritt, Galbraith, and Stiglitz don't need me to explain the EuroCrisis to them.  And I don't need them to explain the EuroCrisis to me.

"Everybody knows what everybody knows."  ~Slim Fairview.  
The first of "The Quotations of Slim Fairview (c) 2016

When there is a crisis, or a disaster, as with the European Economy, it is a sad indictment of Economics that Economists will tell us what happened and why rather than tell us what will happen and what to do about it.

I am in good company.  

Chancellor Merkel has been a strict adherent to austerity.  On the other hand, President Obama has been an advocate of Economic Stimulus.  Now, to insure that I do not sound too Keynesian, let me express it in Republican Terms.  "You have to spend money to make money."

Ken Rogoff, the purported architect of austerity expended some energy making the Network rounds.  He appeared on CNBC, on CNN, and on BBC--World News America.  Each time he said the same thing.

"Even if we go back to 2010...."

Can we go back to 2010?  No? What else have you got?

"Even if we were to wipe out Greece's entire debt...."

Can we wipe out Greece's entire debt?  No? What else have you got?

When Fareed Zakaria asked Dr. Rogoff, point blank, about the success of President Obama's economic stimulus programme, Dr. Rogoff made a sarcastic allusion to the economic travails of Puerto Rico and returned to Europe.  "Even if we were to wipe out Greece's entire debt...."

Now, there is Urban Legend suggesting that some youngsters majoring in Economics tried running Dr. Rogoff's numbers through the computer and failed to duplicate his results.  The story died with no resolution, or conclusion.  It is still urban legend.  

Back to the EuroCrisis and Slim Fairview's Empirical Method of Analysis.

Did we try austerity?
Did the European economy get more high, good, better?
Did the European economy get more low, bad, worse?
Abandon austerity: embrace economic stimulus.

We all know what Einstein said.  "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Slim Fairview builds on that.  "By extension, the argument can be made that sanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results."  Meaning.  We had economic stimulus.  We had good results.  Europe embraces economic stimulus, Europe has good results.

Some may cite slowing global growth as part of the cause of Europe's problems.  Others may say that Europe's economic travails have been part of the cause of slowing global growth.

Heart Warming Moments.

When the reviewer, Paul Hockenos, imputed the following to the author, James K. Galbraith:

"The EU erred egregiously in making draconian austerity policies the price of Greece's rescue...."  And concluded the paragraph, "Greece's withdrawal from the Eurozone, he suggests, would have been preferable."  I wrote, the problem is not that Europe can't afford Greece.  The problem is that Europe can't afford Germany.

The latter, a sentiment expressed to Steve Liesman on Squawkbox by a guest as Mr. Liesman indicated with..."So in other words, what you're saying is Europe can't afford Germany."

The review by Roger Lowenstein of The Euro, the book by Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Stiglitz was more dense.  Just as Mr. Lowenstein says of the book.  (imagine an economic text written by Michael Moore.)  I would have written, imagine an economic text written by Marie-Claire Blais.  

Mr. Lowenstein "indicts" Dr. Stiglitz for descending to slurs evoking the Nazi era; but, concludes the paragraph with, "The fact is, German industry is more productive."

I reject the Nazi slurs.  That the German economy benefited from deficit spending elsewhere in Europe has been generously expressed. However,  I would have written, Merkel fed the German economic machine at the expense of the Satellite Nations in southern Europe.

The example "US v. EuroUnion" vis-a-vis their respective structures is something I expressed--perhaps not eloquently--several years ago in an interview with   

As far as the democratisation of the EuroUnion, I would suggest that The European Commission exists for one reason and one reason only.  To justify the existence of The European Commission.

MIGRANTS are NOT the problem.  Merkel is the problem.  However, I called that in 2013 when I wrote:

Merkel's Big Lies?  Ten tactics used in an Economic Putsch.  Or, Merkel's Economic Theatre of Operation.

"Austerity only makes it sound bad.  I just wanted to balance the budget."

"Don't you think I've seen the posters of me dressed as a Nazi?  Poor me. I'm the victim here."

And, I did forecast the unrest and the rise of the right.

I posted  Greek Proposal.  Tsipras folded.  Merkel issued a fait-accompli, and Tsipras returned to Greece with his tail between his legs.  

I also wrote  This is Brexit.

"But don't bother listening to me. Everyone always doesn't listen to me." ~Slim Fairview

The last quotation from "The Quotations of Slim Fairview (c) 2016

Warmest regards,


Copyright (c) 2016  Bob Asken
All rights reserved.