Archive for December, 2013

Fun Fact – ‘Democrat Party’ Is a Pejorative

Dave Killion — December 28, 2013

For some reason, it occurred to me that I didn’t know if Team Blue was named the Democratic Party or the Democrat Party. Well, it turns out that not only is Democrat Party incorrect, it’s also an epithet

“Democrat Party” is a political epithet used in the United States for the Democratic Party. The term has been used in negative or hostile fashion by conservative commentators and members of the Republican Party in party platforms, partisan speeches and press releases since 1940.”

If you’re like me, you’ll think that this probably isn’t much of a thing anymore. If so, then like me, you’re wrong –

“National Public Radio has banned the use of “Democrat” as an adjective.”

Ugh.

Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative. Republican/Democrat, Coke/Pepsi… you folks can call yourselves whatever you like. We know who you are.

In the Business of Making Happiness

Dave Killion — December 22, 2013

imagesNow and again, some journalist proposes awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to WalMart. There have certainly been less-worthy recipients, but I understand WalMart is a supporter of increasing the minimum wage, mandated provision of health care, and has turned to local governments for assistance in acquiring desirable properties through the political process.  Still, the notion of honouring a commercial organization for benefiting humanity has some merit, and if I were looking for a Canada-specific example, a more worthy nominee than UsedEverywhere would be difficult to find.

 

In the past year, UsedEverywhere (more specifically, UsedVictoria) has increased my well-being several times. Through their website, I have gotten free fence panels, firewood, pallet racking, and more. In addition, I have saved literally thousands buying second-hand items for my business, and some frivolous things that I would never indulge in at full price. The people from whom I got these things have been able to rid themselves of unwanted items, not only saving themselves the time and trouble of hauling them away, but even making a few bucks. These mutually beneficial arrangements have come at no cost to my trading partners and me, all thanks to the self-interested conduct of the UsedEverywhere operators. Their actions have enabled a great deal of happiness where none was possible before, and caused harm to no one.

If only there was a medal for making this kind of win-win-win possible.

Chinese Entrepreneurs Vs. Canadian Currency

Dave Killion — December 13, 2013

Sell! Sell!

Sell! Sell!

Just over two years ago, I told you how I was having fun collecting nickels of a certain date. At the time, the melt value of those coins was in the vicinity of 12¢ each, and I have accumulated about (face value) $200 worth. How has my investment fared? Not so well. As of this writing, those nickels have a melt value of merely 6¢ each! There was a time when I was buying rolls of nickels from the bank and sorting through them, but now it’s hardly even worth the effort to check my change every day and pull the ‘good’ nickels out. How has this come about? Reed Watson and Greg Sauer of the Property and Environment Research Center have the answer

“The price (of nickel) peaked in 2007 at $50,000 per metric ton, up from $10,000 just a few years earlier. Responding to the scarcity, Chinese entrepreneurs figured out how to substitute a lower-grade nickel known as “nickel pig iron” in the steel manufacturing process. As a result, the price of nickel plummeted to $14,000 per metric ton, and China became a leading nickel producer.”

Despite the devastating effect these Chinese entrepreneurs have had on my speculative ambitions, I’m glad to see yet another concrete example of innovation overcoming scarcity.