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Economic News Commentary

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Written by: Dolores Hark
Date posted: 27 November 2006

Somehow I’ve always seemed to glide right into the role of the heretic! Can’t seem to help it. At times I look at the absurdities around me and wonder – why? Frequently these absurdities are tied to that ‘little’ concept of economic system externalities, the consideration of which is all too frequently shoved aside in the pursuit of profits.

The Addiction Economy

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 10 September 2014

After five years on one smart phone that was increasingly malfunctioning, I basically had no choice but to seek a replacement unit. I am old enough to remember using rotary phones – those retrospectively rather beautiful units that actually functioned, more or less, unless the lines were down – and worked for years at times without need of replacement.

My phone cord for my smart phone was in shreds. The unit turns on and off by itself quite a bit.

However, my new phone is clearly a piece of crap meant to go obsolete sometime next year. Because I am a bit of a klutz, bought the phone cover. I see the quality of the phone cover decreased quite a bit. The tacky feeling is gone – now it’s smooth and seems like it will fall from my hand a lot easier. The new cord is only four feet, so I basically cannot use a low wall outlet and a normal height table because the cord is too short. It feels more like tinfoil and I can see it’s not meant to last more than a year or two – given the quality is about 50% of the old one. Basically, it’s not meant to travel. You can’t coil it without damaging it, since the inner material bends on itself easily. The plastic casing is easily damaged.

Worst of all, the phone is getting super hot now as I charge it. That is what my old phone did on its bad days and what seemed to lead to it’s demise. It would get hot and go haywire.

Also, why would I be so stupid as to fry my brain by having what feels like an 80 degree unit at my ear for any length of time? (It is definitely hot to the touch.)

Given my network quality and phone quality were so poor, I had already diverted back to a land line. Thank goodness for that. But I need these devices for my work.

When I was there, I was pushed the $700 model, of course. Maybe the benefit is a real cord, functional case models, and avoiding cell phone brain fry as the unit would not overheat for at least another year or two since they give you another year or two’s worth of phone for the price? I mean the corporate planners would be deciding this – as they make products with a planned obsolesce timeline. That is why it does not matter much if I tell you which phone or company I am even talking about. This is just acceptable business practice and the we vote ‘yes’ it is ‘okay’ because we keep participating when we buy crappy products and expect to buy new crappy products and even possibly look forward to it.

Mostly I am appallingly amazed that we buy this crap and accept that it is disposable. The cost is rather incredible also. And we happily jump on board with paying some corporate $25-30 a month for some device and happily do it (and then more for the service fees). As wages fall, what we do make is committed to ridiculous month-to-month technology service contracts. And these Wetiko corporations will happily drain our pockets as we daze off into our tiny youtube screen and dream our lives away while we gorge on addictive crappy unnecessary junk foods and tell ourselves we ‘deserve’ it and that somehow we also enjoy it.

Invitation to Join My Network

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 24 September 2013

Is it just me, or are the requirements and marketing demands getting stranger by the minute? I love to complain about Social Media and here I go again…

Case in point. Have to call the Obama quest for office the ‘cult of personality’ – in that, that is what carried him through to office. Meanwhile, Clinton was perceived as some kinda old dinosaur cause her use of social media was not outstanding.

Well, hate to say I was right, cause I really, really hoped I was wrong. But clearly there was no correlation between efficacy at social media and efficacy at presidency. It’s been a painful eight years or so to watch this slow mo disaster in the making. I hope we can collectively learn from this major blunder in trusting that social media savvy meant policy savvy, cause I sure do not see it. Clinton, on the other hand, rocks at policy – that to me is top notch, in terms of what we need moving forward.

Another real life case in point, in my local neighborhood – there is this restaurant where the food is pretty bland and oddly prepared at times. Yet, read Yelp! and you’d think you were in for a gourmet experience (even though it’s a burger joint with super expensive drinks (which happens to have a somewhat captive customer base, based on location)). Examples – they actually nuked regular cheese on my fries and called it cheese fries. Barely edible – in fact I left most of it behind. The grilled cheese went from like 6 tablespoons of butter to zero. That’s right – the bread is 100% dry. But something like 500 people give them top ratings. Weird…. So knowing this, I’ll be sticking to the Zagat.

This rant originates from my need to add about 100 acquaintances to my professional network profile to ensure my numbers look competitive. More like 350 if I am really honest with myself!

FOLLOW UP: Decided to delete my LinkedIn profile after careful research into the matter. If I wasn’t going full in, seemed best to just get rid of it so as not to tarnish my professional reputation. Plus, that means my one stalkery ex can find some other boring thing to look at – lol. Btw, felt the service ‘jumped the shark’ when they started telling users automatically who was looking at their profile. This just mostly made me not want to look at profiles so that I did not look ‘stalkery’ myself.

Most opinions weighted toward ‘doesn’t matter’ while it seemed the HR people liked them most. However, even then, they are not usually required and you can simply still go to company website and go through the application process online, which is already time consuming enough in itself in the majority of cases. So, I am just keeping my resume on paper now and so far it has not been an issue.

There are still benefits, but for me personally there are much better uses of my time at this point and want to cut down on pointless distraction.

What is Wrong with the American Economy?

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Editor: Dolores Hark
Date posted / or last updated: 11 September 2012

This morning I came across a posted entitled, “Does it seem like you spend the majority of your time (or money!) on content creation?”

Reminded me again of a little pet peeve I have these days with the general state of marketing – suddenly, each of us is now responsible for keeping up on this site, the other site, tweets, Facebook, blog posts, etc., etc.

What kills me more is that rarely are my small business clients willing to pay me to do these things. In fact, the most successful professional I know of in SM does training, rather than agency type work. These services start to look cost prohibitive due to their ongoing nature.

And when it comes to intimate little posts about your business, can you really outsource this stuff? Maybe quality doesn’t matter anyway – if you are sitting around writing all day, do you think I’ll be nitting over your grammar on your old tweets? More likely I’ll be too busy looking for my 1000 new twitter friends to actually read 1000 sets of posts…

But back to my actual point, which I haven’t even brought up yet. Is this SM mentality doing anything for the economy? Does the gain from the stealth few offset the costs of having many creative productive people now spending some portion of their day digging around for anything to write, with much of the output simply being regurgitation of news stories?

Does this not create yet another barrier to the successful of ALL small businesses, if this is perceived as compulsory? Because if you are actually focusing on the full range of media, it is time consuming. Let’s say you spend two hours a day, week days only, on average futzing around on Facebook, about 480 hours per year, or 12 work weeks, or 3 productive months of your year. That is one big chunk of time!

So this leaves me inclined to believe we are all collectively wasting our time in a big way. Yes, there are exceptions, but overall – Facebook in and of itself is a huge drag on the economy. And more weirdly, we create all this content and who is going to benefit most? Big business. Facebook. Google. Because they are in control of this data once you put it in their hands. And they care about their business, not yours. And have you noticed how many businesses Google is in these days? Many, many folks. Google is now going into the phase of morphing itself into a giant ‘walled garden.’ They no longer even share key phrase search data with other entities. Surficially this is good for the individually user’s privacy. That is – if you had any to start with, which you don’t. What this is best for is Google and their new information monopoly which is carrying them across numerous online products.

Sort of like network TV. There is the megalomania notion of being everything to the user. So I think we are definitely now in the dark ages of Google. You might as well use Bing. Microsoft and Google are now probably about just equally good, equally evil. And a recent user test showed Bing’s results were preferred 2 to 1.

These days I’ve had to start doing the following:

search term -facebook -twitter -blog

when I actually want to get some quality, in-depth, useful search results on Google. So I’ve just stopped using it for Bing, which does seem much better – hurray!

But anyway…

What about getting back to real notions of value creation? Making and providing a service of value? And what does proficiency at such things have to do with proficiency at social media?


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Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

Blog topics:

blog articles Home Economics
blog articles Economic Commentary

In this section:

video page Cash is Cool

video page Extreme Weather

video page Guns Kill

video page To Be or To AirBnB?

video page The Addiction Economy

video page Social Media

video page What's Wrong with the Economy?

video page Economic Distribution

video page World's Richest Moms

video page Save the Planet: Have Fewer Kids

video page Income Inequality

video page Car Policy

video page Healthcare Broken?

video page Capitalism's External Costs

video page Weight Gain & McMansions

video page US Dollar Commentary

video page FICO Scores

video page Consumer vs. Conserver

video page Random Commentary

video page Interest Rate Policy

video page Money Planning

video page Overview Page

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

favorite website links
New York Times
Green Tomato Cake Recipe on
Leave Google Behind
Lisa's Kitchen - Healthy Vegetarian Recipes and Cooking Hints
Michigan Camping
Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing
WHFoods: The World's Healthiest Foods

The self-published book by Dolores Hark entitled, "Living Frugally with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver," is now available for download.

Dolores has a Master's Degree in Economics and in Sociology from a reknowned U.S. based university. She provides a serious look at how to better manage Household Economics.

View the book outline here

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: The New Conserver

Living Frugally, with Purpose and Style: the New Conserver