16 January 2013

Send in the RAF

Most folks know that the RAF, in "The Battle of Britain", saved the country from the Germans. Most folks also know, certainly if they read this endeavor, that the Germans are winning today's battle to ruin Britain. The Germans have been on a blitzkrieg throughout the EuroZone to slay the victims of The Great Recession, I'll wager to solidify their winnings from the housing bubble. It's a fact that the Germans spent heavily on private sector housing speculation, particularly in Spain, which crashed on private debt not public.

Recent news here in the USofA is surprising, sort of. First, Wal-Mart claims that it will now "Buy American", at least a bit more than it has been. Not just "Buy American", of course. Second, Apple has been getting its gonads squeezed quite merrily, with the realization that there is really no place for it to go with its historic methods. Churning yuppies with iPhone X may not be working any more. iPhone 5 is widely reported to have plateaued, much earlier than previous versions. Apple has, at least since the Mac was released, eschewed market share for high margin, volume be damned. Is there a neglected computer device genre that Apple can steal? It seems, no. Organic growth of its existing products is truly harder to do. While Jobs was deified for his vision, in fact Apple invented no new devices. Apple added fancy bells and whistles, and differentiated, but didn't invent. Design is cute, but function eventually wins out. Samsung is proving that. So is Android. RIM and Nokia may well, as well.

Apple's approach hinges on having enough 1%ers around to churn. Fanboi is the epithet of choice. But as the USofA becomes ever more concentrated in wealth/income, the market shrinks. It may not shrink by large numbers in any time period, but Apple needs for it to grow. Anything less than substantial growth blows. So, we have reports of a cheap iPhone, and dueling pundits. Hamilton says that cheapening the brand will spell the end of Apple. Burr says that the market must be expanded by other means if it doesn't expand organically. They're likely both right. $1,000/year for telephone service is not a necessity. I know, a smartphone is more than a telephone. But all of those other things it is, they're largely entertainment. Providing entertainment is a fickle business. Just ask MySpace.

Which brings us to today's news. As these missives have opined, Germans need those slothful southerners (sound familiar?) to soak up output. Here's some reporting confirming Germans' problem.
... Germany, the Continent's flagship economy, contracted by about 0.5 percent in the final months of last year. Combined with a flurry of disappointing results recently in other major economies, the stumble raised questions about Europe's ability to escape recession.

Last month, Britain said its austerity budgets would extend three extra years, to 2018, because of weaker than expected growth.
So, Cameron and his fellow fools are ignoring the evidence right in front of their noses, and what they were told would happen by the Keynesians: austerity kills growth, which kills revenues, which kills growth, which kills revenue... If Britain makes it through 2018, it will be a dung heap. Maggie lives.

But back to the Germans.
... export-led growth that kept chugging, in spite of the cloud hanging over the euro zone. But its European partners are also among its biggest customers, leaving it vulnerable to the Continent-wide slowdown exacerbated by the very austerity policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Again, they were told. But Merkel chose to ignore. The 1%ers got their moolah dishonestly, and if they are allowed to keep it, all economies will crash. A global Japan. While one Japan is tolerable, a globe full of them spirals down a black hole.

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