About 1.2 mln branded smartphones added to base, including 700,000 prepaid 1.2 mln total wireless net adds
Received wisdom: prepaid is for poor people.
It's the Distribution, Stupid
Essays on topics economics: monopolists, oligopolists, and oligarchs aren't better decision-makers for the society just because they's rich and they ain't the gummint.
Most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data.
An ad in 1967 for an automated accounting system urged companies to replace humans with automated systems that "can't quit, forget or get pregnant." Featuring a visibly pregnant, smiling woman leaving the office with baby shower gifts, the ads, which were published in leading business magazines, warned of employees who "know too much for your own good" -- "your good" meaning that of the employer. Why be dependent on humans? "When Alice leaves, will she take your billing system with her?" the ad pointedly asked, emphasizing that this couldn't be fixed by simply replacing "Alice" with another person.
The solution? Replace humans with machines. To pregnancy as a "danger" to the workplace, the company could have added "get sick, ask for higher wages, have a bad day, aging parent, sick child or a cold." In other words, be human.
I'M walking in a minefield here in rural Angola, tailing a monster rat.
This is a Gambian pouched rat, a breed almost 3 feet from nose to tail, the kind of rat that gives cats nightmares. Yet this rat is a genius as well as a giant, for it has learned how to detect land mines by scent -- and it's doing its best to save humans like me from blowing up.
At this minefield, which is full of metal objects, a human with a metal detector can clear only about 20 square meters a day. A rat can clear 20 times as much.
He is planning to tell the leaders that too many of them have been trying to return money to investors through so-called shareholder-friendly steps like paying dividends and buying back stock.
"The effects of the short-termist phenomenon are troubling both to those seeking to save for long-term goals such as retirement and for our broader economy," Mr. Fink writes in the letter. He says that such moves were being done at the expense of investing in "innovation, skilled work forces or essential capital expenditures necessary to sustain long-term growth."
Mr. Fink says the move "sends a discouraging message about a company's ability to use its resources wisely and develop a coherent plan to create value over the long term." Moreover, he argues that "with interest rates approaching zero, returning excessive amounts of capital to investors" isn't helpful because they "will enjoy comparatively meager benefits from it in this environment."
Stephen M. Moskowitz, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant in San Francisco who advised the California lawyer, said he also worked with a dentist who set up a captive to insure against a terrorist attack in his dental office.
The life insurance business is supposed to be dull -- sell policies; collect premiums; salt the money away in the safest sorts of investments, mostly bonds; pay out benefits; and make money along the way by investing surplus assets prudently. No wild bets, no siphoning of assets, no off-the-books maneuvers.
For years, Iowa has been working to make its capital, Des Moines, an insurance hub, with considerable success. Insurance now accounts for more than 24,000 jobs in and around the city, and for more dollars in the state economy than agriculture.
One maneuver known as "captive reinsurance" grew to $364 billion in 2012 from $11 billion in 2002, according to a Treasury Department report issued in 2014. The report said captive reinsurance exemplified one of the three most important types of risk to financial stability that emerged last year.
Putting obligations into a captive and saying they are reinsured is a little like putting dirty laundry into a closet and saying it's being cleaned.
[New York State's superintendent of financial services, Benjamin M. Lawsky] keeps saying that captive structures remind him of the deals that proliferated in the run-up to the financial crisis of 2008. That ended in a giant taxpayer bailout.
But what matters most for the economy is the real, or inflation-adjusted, interest rate (the market, or nominal, interest rate minus the inflation rate). The real interest rate is most relevant for capital investment decisions, for example. The Fed's ability to affect real rates of return, especially longer-term real rates, is transitory and limited.
The bottom line is that the state of the economy, not the Fed, ultimately determines the real rate of return attainable by savers and investors.
The state of the economy, not the Fed, is the ultimate determinant of the sustainable level of real returns. This helps explain why real interest rates are low throughout the industrialized world, not just in the United States. What features of the economic landscape are the ultimate sources of today's low real rates? I'll tackle that in later posts.