Friday, February 28th, 2014

Luxury Capitalism

As investment outlets outside the financial casinos get harder and harder to find, and as almost all new wealth continues to pile up in the coffers of the hilariously/Orwellianly self-proclaimed “job creators,” the reality is that corporate capitalism is getting increasingly dependent on selling increasingly ornate luxury goods to the elite and the merely comfortable.

Consider the latest news that the size of new houses being built has returned to its pre-crash trend of steady, record-breaking increases. Why is that? Is it some feature, as many “consumer culture” analysts would surely have it, of national character, of collective greed and psychosis? “Americans love bigness!”

Not so much. “To get an answer, just take a look at WHO is buying new homes,” says the NAHB itself. Here’s the click-to-expand graph:

ficohousing

Hence, another always stratified and divisive core capitalist product has generally gotten much more stratified and divisive.

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Economics | 7 Comments »

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Comcast Monopoly: The Marketing Logic

Per today’s Advertising Age:

Acceleration of addressable advertising

One of the biggest obstacles to ad targeting at the household level has been a lack of broad reach, which makes running campaigns across multiple operators a clumsy and inefficient effort. The merger should eventually help expand the addressable universe to the kind of scale that advertisers desire and speed up advances in areas such as dynamic ad insertion.

And increasingly, Comcast will have the data to make addressable smarter. With about 30 million set-top boxes, it will have an even bigger trove of ratings information, viewing habits and personal data. Combined with marketers’ own data, that will help planners and buyers laser focus their media selections, Mr. Kanefsky said.

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Bad Products, Behind the Scenes, market totalitarianism | Comment now »

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Belly Laugh on Media Monopoly

media-monopoly1 The filters that govern mainstream journalism sometimes produce sentences that are simply hilarious. Reporting today on the proposed merger between the Comcast and Time-Warner media profit fiefdoms, The New York Times notes that “the deal, if completed, could have impacts on consumers across the country, though it is unlikely to reduce competition in many markets.”

To be sure, you can’t really reduce what does not exist, can you?

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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Ideology on Wheels

Question:  Without addressing the question of what passes for work in their ranks, how many 1-percenters take only two weeks of vacation?

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Bad Products, Lies | 1 Comment »

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The Fruits of Unrestrained Capitalism

Crawford book A worthy read about one of the many boondoggles that inhere in corporate capitalist normalcy. The basic facts include:

[Cable companies] are extracting enormous rents, enormous profits, from what Americans perceive to be a basic service. And the competitive argument they make is a complete canard. If you tried to swap out your wireless connection or use your wireless connection instead of a cable connection for let’s say, watching online video — so the average user of a wired high-speed Internet connection uses 50 gigabytes of data a month — if you tried to do that over a mobile wireless device you’d be spending $500 a month. That’s because you may get wireless at about the same speeds, but [there are] very low capacity caps, data caps, on the usage of that connection. So it’s not a substitute; it’s a complement. We love mobile wireless services. It’s never going to take the place of a wire.

What’s even more disturbing is that in other countries — I’ve visited both Seoul and Stockholm recently — they take these services for granted. For about $25 a month they’re getting gigabits symmetrical service, which is 100 times faster than the very fastest connection available in the United States and for a 17th of the price. It really is astonishing what’s going on in America. Americans aren’t quite aware of it because we don’t look beyond our borders, but we’re falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices.

We “don’t” look beyond our borders, of course, for the self-same reason we “permit” our overclass to do what they do to us: The mass media, including what passes for journalism, are part of the same monopoly that uses the internet and other publicly-invented technologies as a profit ranch. The relevant comparisons are simply forbidden.

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Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Adieu, Robert Zimmerman

The latest, and very arguably the most heinous, violator of the Hicks Dictum*:

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*Here’s the deal folks: you do a commercial, you’re off the artistic roll call forever. End of story, OK? You’re another corporate fucking shill, you’re another whore at the capitalist gang-bang. And if you do a commercial, there’s a price on your head, everything you say is suspect, and every word that comes out of your mouth is now like a turd falling into my drink.

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in Assholes, Bad Products | 15 Comments »