March 20, 2008

Greed and Nice Guys

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 3:00 pm
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team119.jpgCould it be that the crazy idea that greed is good has a silver bullet in its heart!!. Down Dracula down – YOU ARE DEAD.

Have a look at this article in in the UK TeleGraph where it is reported that a bunch of scientists have blown the greed myth and figured out good guys finish first. This article is echoed in “Tremors” a wonderful site that poses the same question “Can Greed Be Good?”

Wall Street you are busted.


Can a House of Greed Survive?

If you have never seen the 1997 movie Wall Street rush out and get it. Watching the movie will give you more insight into the state of the market today than any newspaper article. Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas delivers the twisted logic of the marketplace brilliantly. Here are some gems of gospel of greed.
“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that: greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

“The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars. One third of that comes from hard work, two thirds comes from inheritance, interest on interest accumulating to widows and idiot sons and what I do, stock and real estate speculation. It’s bullshit. You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own.”

These were the words of Gordon Gekko If you subscribe to Gordon Gekko’s point of view then it is not difficult to understand what happened to Bear Stearns. From my limited experience, I think greed can never be good!

March 19, 2008

Confident Poets vs Whinning Wall Street

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 5:05 pm
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cofidence1.jpgLast night I was down at my local pub for an open poetry reading. The room was packed with bards, poets, stock broker writers and students by the bushel. There was a buzz in the air and a sense of anticipation. The joint was jumping.The scuttlebutt was that the dame of Canadian poetry Margret Atwood may even attend.

The first up was an earnest young poet. It was a tough gig for her but the audience was supportive and with that her confidence grew and by the end of her poem she was the poet she wanted to be that night. That pattern of support was repeated over and over again. It was a great night of words and collegiality. For a few hours the turmoil of the world was squelched by the glow of confidence inside. That was until I left and headed home and passed a newsstand where the headlines growled”WALL STREET FRETTING-MORE TO COME.”
Talk about creating a self fulfilling prophecy. Take a lesson from the poets. Stand together, support each other and we will capture a new glow of confidence.

March 18, 2008

Cars, Carpets. and Sharing

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 3:56 pm

I had lunch at “New Generations” with Rick who has been through it all with me. Food was great- thats my lunch you see above – and cheap-$5.99. NOTE THE CHEAP- GET SMART.
Rick is another corporate/development guy. We discussed what has hit us in the economy. Over sushi and green tea we both agreed their is nothing new under the sun of the market place of marketing. We have been through recessions. But we both agreed this one is different.

Rick talked about consumer confidence- and personally cutting back and I dusted off my thoughts on capitalism and the marketplace. Then we left splitting the bill and looking at the storm clouds. He has a family and a mortgage and I have a uncertain future. We parted with a guy thing a handshake and a recognition this event is a solar eclipse in the making. It seems greed was going to come to roost.

I love Rick. He is what Australians and South Africans call a genuine mate. A genuine friend He sticks by you. New Generations with Rick was a classic. He was supportive with no BS. As we left it was a classic between us. I headed for my bike and he headed for his beloved beamer. He loves his ” BMW” and me well I am recent bike lover and not so recent tree hugger- I love my bike.
PS He has not a clue about ‘carbon footprint” 🙂

Peak Oil and the Economy

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 11:20 am

I spent a night worrying about the news on economy and nearing of peak oil. Tackling those topics on a wintry night is not a recommended mood enhancer. But we cannot avoid them.

“Understanding depletion is simple. Think of an Irish pub. The glass starts full and ends empty. There are only so many more drinks to closing time. It’s the same with oil. We have to find the bar before we can drink what is in it.”

This morning I needed to shake off the cloud of gloom so I went up to my local grocer to clear my head. The grocery is a palace of food that has a global cornucopia of product from around the world. But, what caught my eye was a new rack displaying vegetables from 100 mile radius, 200 miles, 300. You get the drift. I tackled George the head merchandiser to find out was this a fad or trend. His comment “Dude the customers want it”. Good enough reason for me.
Seems the public is way smarter than I thought. They are making choices for the environment and to get off of our oil dependency.

In an ocean of product those four tables gave me hope. Now we just have to figure out how to maintain a global economy without oil. I do love items from many cultures like Persian Rugs, Cheese from France and a lot more. How the heck can we maintain a global economy without frying the planet and ourselves. I will worry about that tonight. Tonight with a Persian rug under my feet I will feast on Squash and carrots, winter fare from Ontario all bought within 100 miles .

March 17, 2008

What a difference a day makes

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 12:25 pm

On Friday last week the world was rosy. The possibility of a recession seemed to be caged if not tamed. Then on Sunday JP Morgan Chase bought Bear Stearns for one-tenth of the firm’s market price at the close on Friday.


Should we panic ? Should we buckle up ? Should we avoid tall buildings? The answer is NO. But it will be wise to hunker down and cut your spending. This rough ride is going to take awhile.

There is a positive in the volatile market however. There are opportunities out there if you have the money. I will talk about this more tomorrow.
A little cynically do a Google search for the word “Bear Stearns”. And you will be stunned at how quickly the legal piranhas have shown up online to “save” Bear Stearns shareholders.

Generally as a class I do not like lawyers but in this case I admire their sheer audacity. They saw an opportunity and they are going for it. Hardly Mother Teresa but they are sure not rolling over.

Let me be a little sanguine and close with the obvious that the economy is founded on greed- we all know that- it is not an economy for people but corporations. There has to be a revision. If we or the planet is to survive. Till then be careful and ride the storm. Once the storm has passed- and it will pass – there needs to be a deep evaluation of our economy and those we trust.
As one Blogger noted but missed- “greed skews perception”:
“I’ve said it before (e.g.), and I’ll say it again. I simply didn’t, and still don’t, understand how anyone could have thought that giving people, often people with terrible credit histories, mortgages with no money down and often with no documentation of income–and after an unprecedented increase in prices left the market especially vulnerable to a downturn in prices–was a good idea. Maybe if I had studied for an MBA in Harvard and worked my way up to the top of the investment banking industry it would somehow have made sense to me.

January 6, 2008

Persian Rugs, Revolt and Grandfathers

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 5:28 pm

Taste and design are odd creatures. They ebb and flow to the market and memory. Marketers whose craft it is to manipulate desires and tastes and to feed the economy are constantly restless and fine tuning desires. For them its change. But in all of us there is a stronger code and less restless code which is our family code. We all remember what our parents loved and grandparents loved. They are are our trust and comfort zones.
Whatever your parents loved I will predict, and I am open to correction, that you will go the opposite direction.
As I said taste and design are funny things. We hear the marketers but our family ties are stronger than the lure of marketers. I just bet your sensibility is stronger to your grandparents sense of design and taste than your parents. As Lewis Mumford said “the commonest axiom of history, is that every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers”
The beauty of Persian rugs is they contain all the passions. Persian Rugs carry 1000’s of years of history passion, conflict, love, and tranquility. Read them carefully- and never, never compare Persian rugs to machine made area rugs. In the many styles of Persian Rugs those that embody classic passion and tranquility, tribal world beat and yes even jazz and rock. No surprise there. Persian rugs are scores of histories. ( PS check my article on Tribal and Jazz in the archives)

December 26, 2007

End Of Year Sales & Hand Knotted Persian Rugs

Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 4:35 pm

Today I pushed through the throngs of bargain shoppers into the biggest shopping week of the year. There were many stories of brands scooped and the sense of satisfaction was self evident. It was a classic end of the year sale.

I got so caught up I popped into a major retailer to get some cheaper T shirts . I could have picked up some echo T shirts near my house- I didn’t. . Clearly I am also well trained- I am unfortunately blindly price sensitive!!!. I got sucked into the economic argument. I am a product of our time so I know how hard it is to make the connection between what I buy and real people, the absolute difference between synthetic made and one of a kind chemical free are rugs the environment and justice. Its very tough. Not to mention that sentence is a mouthful. How do we say Rugs that deliver justice to the environment and the people therein ??? (suggestions are welcome)

But I know what is right. In spite of myself in 2008 I am going to ramp up’s organic, pesticide and chemical free purchases. As for Brands, well I will support artists who produce one of a kinds and I will be less price conscious. Or should I say I will work harder to appreciate the value and cost of hand knotted Persian rugs.

In 2008 you can expect linkage between your hank knotted rugs and the individual weavers. I want to make a connection between our unique Persian rugs and the weavers. I want us all to know that that when one buys a hank knotted Persian rug that you are buying a rug that it is unique and that has an artists name attached. Their names range from Mahsa’s, Farida, Aslan, Amir, Alexandra to many many more. Real people. I want to introduce you to the families and the weavers. Like you I want to know there is care and connection between what I consume and real people.

PS I met with a software company that may solve the issue of the connection between the artists of Persian rugs and the product of area rugs and carpets- look for it in 2008.

December 22, 2007


Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 5:46 pm

QUESTIONABLE RUGS FROM WALMART- Here is what happened I saw a couple walking away from WalMart with a mass produced machine made area rug. It was also synthetic. Yikes- and they were happy!!!!!!!.
Your thoughts_ please share.

December 15, 2007


Filed under: Economy — Tony @ 7:39 pm

I am fascinated by what it takes to be an artist and a craft entrepreneur.Its so honest and so different from Machine made rugs that are soulless duplicates. Comparing broadloom and machine rugs is crazy. I am not going to compare hand knotted rugs with machine made rugs. I support the artists. I want to put back “soul” into a world that has lost its sight and cannot tell the difference between a synthetic rug that is chemical laden and a chemical free rug and an organic rug. We are crazy. Is it because we are slaves to consumerism?
While you think about that.

Take the USA and the struggle for liberty. Some of the most beautiful arts and music of struggle of people for liberty and worth came out of the US. There are many examples but think of the singing in the cotton fields when slaves were working today is called “call and response.” A leader would sing out, or call, a line of a song then the other workers would respond. The process set up a rhythm to work by.

Artistic expression and shared voice are critical elements of liberty. No joke.

I see that in the tribal area rugs of Iran. I can hear the call and response in the rugs and the weavers song. One works another responds and in the warp and weave of the ares rugs is the story most of us miss on CNN etc. More of that next week. Till then keep your eyes open and enjoy the music of craft, art and hand knotted rugs. They tell a story worth listening to.
PS I hope to share a CNN video about who the weavers are – just waiting for clearance.

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