Economics and Investing:

Adidas’s $600-a-year subscription for workout clothes is testing the limits of a big shopping trend. Several observations here:

  1. Have we really reached a point in society where we have more money than time? Then we have become a slave to money even more so. Back in the day, people valued their money over their time; they typically tried to fix broken things or would innovate with what they had or could find. Find a Popular Mechanics from the 1930’s and see how it’s full of ideas of how to fix or make things. In the process, we were a whole lot more self sufficient than today. We were a nation of thinkers and doers. Follow the trend line on this one and see where we are headed– instant gratification in all matters of all things. Someone else can do the thinking for you.
  2. BattlBox…What in the World? You can research that one…

Again, when new markets rely upon folks who are so disconnected from reality that they have to have someone else do the shopping, what does that say about us?

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Currency and Collapse of the Roman Empire (Visual Capitalist) Excerpt: “With soaring logistical and admin costs and no precious metals left to plunder from enemies, the Romans levied more and more taxes against the people to sustain the Empire. Hyperinflation, soaring taxes, and worthless money created a trifecta that dissolved much of Rome’s trade. The economy was paralyzed. By the end of the 3rd century, any trade that was left was mostly local, using inefficient barter methods instead of any meaningful medium of exchange.

International News

For Many in Greece, the Economic Crisis Takes a Major Toll: Their Homes (CANMUA) This article is written about very real people in very real crisis. Excerpt: “Steady work disappears. Meager savings drain away. Welfare program administrators shake their heads. And then, finally, a confrontation with shattering reality.”

EU Lenders Working on Plan for Gradual Greek Debt Relief: Greek Paper (Reuters) Excerpt: “Negotiations between the heads of the EU/IMF mission reviewing the country’s progress on a pensions overhaul, fiscal targets and the handling of bad loans, took a break earlier this month. It was unclear when the lenders will return in Athens. Without their positive first assessment of the reforms, Greece cannot start relief talks it is seeking to show austerity-weary Greeks their sacrifices are paying off.”

Oil Didn’t Wreck Venezuela’s Economy. Socialism Did. (The Week) Excerpt: “But while the oil price drop may have been a proximate cause, and an aggravating factor, Venezuela’s economic woes predate the current oil price drop by many years, and were going on even while the oil price was high, under President Hugo Chavez. The culprit is clear and obvious: The problem is Venezuela’s authoritarian socialism.”

Venezuela is Out of Food: Here’s What an Economic Collapse Really Looks Like (Activist Post) Excerpt: “Many people expect an economic collapse to be shocking, instant, and dramatic but, really, it’s far more gradual than that. It looks like empty shelves, long lines, desperate government officials trying to cover their tushes, and hungry people.”

Fears Grow Over Possibility of Banking Crisis in Italy (The Irish Times) We often turn to macroeconomic models and statistical overviews to understand the mechanics of financial crisis, but we should be ever aware of the terrible toll it takes on individual human beings and their families. Excerpt: “It was a Saturday afternoon and Lidia stepped out of the house for a few minutes to water the flowers in the family’s garden. When she came back into the house, she found her 68-year-old husband, Luigino D’Angelo, hanging from the balustrade of the stairs leading down to the cellar.”

Italy Unveils Most Bizarre Bank Bailout Yet (ZeroHedge) Excerpt: “And this being Italy, where the phrase “political circus” is redundant, things just went uphill from here….” Warning: Commentary following article may contain bad language and/or inappropriate avatar images.

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Self-Reliance Weekly Report: Planning for Spring (Organic Prepper) Excerpt: “It’s here: that time of year when it’s still winter, but the anticipation of spring is in the air. (And possibly on the table in the form of seed and nursery catalogs!) One of my favorite parts of self-reliance is the planning and the dreaming. Right now, I’m figuring out my garden and my livestock for the year. The Self-Reliance Weekly Report is a collection of strategies, made up of the articles, books, DIYs, and products that I found useful on my own little prepper’s homestead.”

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