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Inequality hurts economic growth, finds OECD research

Inequality hurts economic growth, finds OECD research

09/12/2014 – Reducing income inequality would boost economic growth, according to new OECD analysis. This work finds that countries where income inequality is decreasing grow faster than those with rising inequality.

The single biggest impact on growth is the widening gap between the lower middle class and poor households compared to the rest of society. Education is the key: a lack of investment in education by the poor is the main factor behind inequality hurting growth.

“This compelling evidence proves that addressing high and growing inequality is critical to promote strong and sustained growth and needs to be at the centre of the policy debate,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Countries that promote equal opportunity for all from an early age are those that will grow and prosper.”

Rising inequality is estimated to have knocked more than 10 percentage points off growth in Mexico and New Zealand over the past two decades up to the Great Recession. In Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, the cumulative growth rate would have been six to nine percentage points higher had income disparities not widened, but also in Sweden, Finland and Norway, although from low levels. On the other hand, greater equality helped increase GDP per capita in Spain, France and Ireland prior to the crisis.

The paper finds new evidence that the main mechanism through which inequality affects growth is by undermining education opportunities for children from poor socio-economic backgrounds, lowering social mobility and hampering skills development.

People whose parents have low levels of education see their educational outcomes deteriorate as income inequality rises. By contrast, there is little or no effect on people with middle or high levels of parental educational background.

The impact of inequality on growth stems from the gap between the bottom 40 percent with the rest of society, not just the poorest 10 percent. Anti-poverty programmes will not be enough, says the OECD. Cash transfers and increasing access to public services, such as high-quality education, training and healthcare, are an essential social investment to create greater equality of opportunities in the long run.

The paper also finds no evidence that redistributive policies, such as taxes and social benefits, harm economic growth, provided these policies are well designed, targeted and implemented.

The working paper, Trends in income inequality and its impact on economic growth, is part of the OECD’s New Approaches to Economic Challenges Initiative, an Organisation-wide reflection on the roots and lessons to be learned from the global economic crisis, as well as an exercise to review and update its analytical frameworks.

The satire of the trades

Story//

This story is part of an ancient Egyptian text known as ‘The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety’. A father is taking his son to scribe school where the boy will learn how to read and write. The father is telling his son why being a scribe is the best profession in the world. He emphasises how good the life of a scribe is by comparing it to the lives of craftsmen and others.

Although the father speaks badly of the other professions, he probably does not mean it as strongly as it sounds. More likely, he is making it seem that life is very bad for other people so that he can convince his son to become a scribe

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘

‘I will make you love writing more than your mother,
I will show its beauties to you;
Now, it is greater than any trade,
There is not one like it in the land

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Metal-workers.
…I have seen the metal-worker working
At the mouth of his furnace;
With fingers like the stuff of a crocodile
He stinks more than fish eggs.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Carpenters working.
The carpenter who uses an adze,
He is more tired than a worker in the fields;
His field is the wood, his hoe the adze.
His work is endless…

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Jewellery workshop.
The jeweller drills with his chisel
In different kinds of stone;
Once he is done with the inlay of the eyes
His arms are weary, he is tired;
Sitting down at sunset,
His knees and back ache.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


Razor, comb, tweezers and other grooming tools.
The barber is still shaving at the end of the day,
To the town he takes himself,
To his corner he takes himself,
From street to street he takes himself
To search for people to shave.
He works with his arms to fill his belly,
Like a bee which can only eat as it has worked.

Story//

The teaching of Duaf’s son Khety ‘


A statue of a scribe.
Look, no trade is free from a director,
Except the scribe’s: he is the director.
But if you know writings, it will be better for you,
More than these trades I have shown you

Social Business Summit Hoping to End Poverty with Innovative Ideas by Amber E. Box

Be A Social Entrepreneur Social Business Summit Hoping to End Poverty with Innovative Ideas » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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On October 2nd of this year, the second annual Social Business Summit will convene in the Philippines. This year’s meeting will focus on rebuilding provinces of the country affected by Typhoon Yolanda, also known across the rest of the world as Typhoon Haiyan. The struggle that many parts of the country are facing on a daily basis is poverty and the inability to combat it, especially in the face of such disasters as Yolanda/Haiyan. The summit is sponsored by Gawad Kalinga, a social entrepreneurship project already working on rebuilding communities in the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga’s founder, Tony Meloto, recently talked to Rappler about the Social Business Summit, describing the issues they hope to address.

Be A Social Entrepreneur Social Business Summit Hoping to End Poverty with Innovative Ideas » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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According to Meloto, the “goal is to really address the two major reasons why we cannot achieve prosperity: loss of our human capital due to poverty…and the abandonment of land.”

With the meeting this week, Meloto and his team members are hoping to attract social entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. The idea is to capitalize on the assets available within the groups attending in order to capitalize on the assets of those living in poverty conditions by way of ideas that will help rebuild stronger and more sustainable communities. The communities are already being built by Gawad Kalinga, but the summit will provide a platform to discuss the ability to develop and hone ideas to can make these new communities be as strong as they can in order to maintain and sustain their viability, hopefully allowing areas across the Philippines to rise out of poverty.

In addition, the summit is teaming up with the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED Philippines) which are local high school students who will not have the opportunity to go to college. By doing so, the event hopes to foster the entrepreneur ideas into these younger generations, who are the future of the Philippines.

Be A Social Entrepreneur Social Business Summit Hoping to End Poverty with Innovative Ideas » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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Taking place over three days, the event will put great minds from across the world together to achieve the same goals, “building a kinder, fairer, better and safer world that we can build together,” according to Meloto

The Pig Idea By Diane Walters

Be A Social Entrepreneur The Pig Idea » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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A slide appeared, on the screen on TED.com, of a dumpster full 13,000 bread crusts as social entrepreneur Tristram Stuart mused about never being able to get a sandwich from a retail shop that was made from bread crusts. Where do all the bread crusts go? From this single bread factory (shown on the slide), 13,000 bread crusts are dumped into the trash every day.

This food waste expert explained that in America, and other well-developed nations, grocery stores usually carried double the inventory it expected to sell. And, if you add in the food that is fed to livestock, there is up to quadruple the amount that is needed to feed the masses. In his further investigation of food waste, Stuart visited a farmer who was letting 16,000 pounds of spinach die because there were some blades of grass growing here and there. It was not suitable for market. It is quite common for farmers to throw out 1/3 to 1/2 half of their crops due to imperfect sizes, shapes or color that would be turned away at market.

In Europe, in 2001, feeding regular unprocessed food to livestock became illegal because of the foot and mouth disease epidemic. Because of the ban, soy has since become a major crop in South America. Due to the expansion of this commodity, forests are being cut down in places like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay to grow soy. From 1965 to 2004 soy production rose from 29 to 200 million tons, most of which is used for livestock feed after the oil is extracted. For 9,000 years, pigs had been fed with the surplus food products and refuse that people did not eat. Presently, people throw away this human grade food by the ton every single day — and pay to have it hauled away to rot in landfills. Then, they buy pig food.

The Pig Idea was born from what Stuart had learned from the overwhelming food waste problem. He joined forces with other Londoners to create public awareness of food waste around the world with the hope that the animal food ban will be lifted. The idea is ecologically sound. Eliminating so much processed feed would save the planet about 20 times more carbon dioxide emissions. More of the rainforest in the Amazon would be saved, as not as much farmland would be needed. More farmers in Europe would be able to stay in business by saving the cost of the expensive grain they are forced to buy. The problem of the foot and mouth disease can be eliminated by cooking the food given to the pigs and chickens.

To bring awareness to this issue, Stuart and his colleagues — the hambassadors, seven of London’s best restaurants, and thousands of Londoners gathered in Trafalgar Square to enjoy over 5,000 portions of free food, including pork that had been raised on food that would have otherwise been wasted at The Pig Ideas’ Feast of 2013.

Stuart started studying food waste at the age of 15 when he raised pigs to supplement his income. He is a renowned author for his book “Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal,” and has won numerous and prestigious awards for his dedication to preserving the planet as well as the pigs.

GOOD EGGS: A Grocer on a Mission : By Amber E. Box

Be A Social Entrepreneur GOOD EGGS: A Grocer on a Mission » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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Be A Social Entrepreneur GOOD EGGS: A Grocer on a Mission » Be A Social Entrepreneur

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Want fresh, local-grown, organic food delivered straight to your door? It’s no longer a pipe-dream, and Good Eggs is the one to make it happen. The company, based in California, works to implement a socially conscious business model while providing farmer’s market quality food in the form of an online grocery store. How do they achieve all of this? With one really good mission: to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide. Good Eggs believes that their mission is so important, in fact, that they value it over their profits; the profits are considered a “byproduct” and an “enabler” of their mission. This mission, while quite simplistic, is actually pretty complex.

According to their website, a “local food system” is a one that supports and sustains local food growers and producers- everything involved with the process of providing fresh food from the gardeners to the butchers to the bakers. The product is a natural and healthier food source for 

consumers. But their mission extends far beyond this. By growing and sustaining these systems, they are helping to financially support these food producers as well as create new jobs in the agricultural industry. In addition, they promote sustainability and environmental awareness, which means they don’t use chemicals or unnecessary waste; by cutting down on the byproducts of the food industry, they are promoting a healthier planet as well as healthier consumers. Good Eggs also requires that the businesses they work with employ fair labor practices. And finally, the food that you buy is traceable back to the original source, which also helps to promote awareness and pride in the products being sold and being purchased.

An online grocery store isn’t exactly what you might think of when you think of a social entrepreneur. But when you add up everything about Good Eggs, it’s clear that they do everything that defines what a social entrepreneur is. Isn’t it about time you put some Good Eggs into your basket?

 

Have You Ever Taken a Chance in Life? by freefincal

I am a fan of actor Kevin Costner. I think he has taken pretty big career risks,pulled off some and failed in some, but has always stuck to his guns, which is admirable. He has even declared that if his stardom vanishes overnight, he can make a decent living with a blue collar job, because he is skilled.

I saw an YouTube interview yesterday in which he mentioned that, his father regretted never having taken a chance in life and having been in the same job all his life. Costner had to reassure him that he had been a good father who provided all he could for his family.

That set me thinking about my own life. Regular readers would be well aware that as an investor, I am pessimistic, cautious, and always keen to contain downside risk. It might surprise them, (as it did me!), that when it came to my career, I had repeatedly taken chances. Some driven by my heart- a refusal to do something that I don’t like, some was driven by my stupid self-belief.

I once gave up a lucrative contract in Germany because I felt home-sick. One part of me said I was committing career suicide (as did my mentors and many of my friends) and one part of me said, I can work in peace only when I happy.

After coming back home, I worked without pay for 4 months, when my employer took pity and created a makeshift position for me.

For the next 6-8 months, I did not look for any other job but put all my cards on a single job which I was desperate to get as it was the only one that appealed to me.

I got the job and completely changed my area of research. This is again considered professional suicide as it will take at least a couple of years to get published.

Though I was doing quite well, nearly two years later, positions for my dream job -one that involved teaching – was open.

There was fierce pressure from my current employer to prevent me from taking the interview. My father was fighting cancer and I was confined to the hospital taking care of him. I prepared for the interview from there.

Things got to such a point that there was the serious danger of losing both jobs – my current one and my dream job. My father urged me to take the chance. He said he believed in me and asked me to go for it.

The gamble paid off. I got the position but I went ahead and committed career suicide once again(!) by choosing to work in another entirely different research area.

While I did quite well on the teaching front, research was riddled with stumbling blocks. Thanks to some hard-working and spirited students, I was able to set up a decent laboratory.

After nearly a decade of doing this, I think I am all set to commit professional suicide once again! (Sorry can’t say more).

As mentioned above, some of the chances that I took was driven by my heart, and some by ridiculous self-belief that I could pull it off. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not. In hindsight, considering my current circumstances, I am glad that I took those chances. Well, at least some of them!

Point of this rant

If you had a chance to take up a job that you truly love, will you take a chance and make an all-out effort to grab it? Even if it meant risking a cushy salary and perhaps your career in a particular area? Will you quit your well-paying job to become an entrepreneur?

I would probably vote, yes, but we will have to accept the consequences without too much regret.

Wealth creation or financial security has two components to it: Income and investing.

Investing is independent of how we earn an income. There are those who have taken some big chances with investing. I dont have the stomach for that. Perhaps because I am always doing stupid things to my “career”.

Income is a different ball game. We could earn from a job we truly love (in which case we wont worry about how much we make) or we could earn from a job we truly hate (in which case, all we care about is how much we make).

Sometimes the time window in which we could shift from a job we hate, to a job we love could be quite tight and narrow

Sometimes we will have to take a chance in life to achieve lasting change and happiness. Sometimes we will have to roll the dice and see how it pans out.

The regret of never having taken a chance could be greater than the consequences of having taken one.

Stock market prices are a terrible thing to anchor to Indraneal Balasubramanian Indraneal Balasubramanian, Engineer+Finance MBA by training

I have often seen people knowingly or unknowingly anchoring to the price of a stock, perceiving say a Rs 100 stock as cheaper than a Rs 1000 stock. Not only is this is bad because as an investor you should be worrying about the business fundamentals not the share price fluctuations, but does not consider the size of the business or the scale of it’s sales or profitability at all.

To illustrate this idea, consider the following

MRF Limited
Current Price: Rs 39557

Nestle India Limited
Current Price:  Rs 6923

Gati Limited
Current Price Rs 224

ITC Limited
Current Price: Rs 332

What does this tell you? Absolutely nothing of value on its own. This isn’t a race where a share starts at it’s face value of say 10 and continues growing from there on. Along the way, adjustments like splits, bonuses and share buybacks need to be considered.

Thus we get to the idea of number of shares outstanding. When you buy a share, you are buying a small % of the company, or to be precise 1/(no of shares outstanding of the company). You can use this multiple to figure out the market capitalization of the company as well as the total earnings.

Assume this cake represents the business

Each slice represents a share of the goods. Whether you slice it 10 ways or 20, the size of the cake is not affected by how it is sliced, only the size of the slice is changed. The quality of the cake is also completely independent of the size and manner of slicing. You can have a terrible large cake or a wonderful small cake (and vice versa) depending on the skill of the baker (management) and the ingredients used (fundamental economics of the business)

This post might seem simplistic to those who are aware of fundamental valuation, but I think this basic analogy needs to be drilled into every investor’s head.

11 or 12 Things I Learned About Life While Daytrading Millions of Dollars -by James Altucher

I was a day trader for many years, and it almost killed me.

I made money by making profits on my own money and also taking a percentage of the profits for the people I traded for. I traded up to $40 million or $50 million a day at my peak. I did this from 2001 to 2004.

I learned about day trading but I also learned a lot about myself and what I was good at, what I was horrible at, and what I was psychotic at. Things that had nothing to do with day trading.

Day trading is the best job in the world on the days you make money. You make a trade, then maybe 20 minutes later you are out of the trade with a profit, and for the rest of the day you think about how much money you made.

It’s the worst job in the world on a bad day. I would make a trade, it would go against me, and then I wanted my heart to stop so my blood would stop thumping so loudly.

I did it for years, though, because I was unemployable in every other way.

Here’s what I learned. All of these lessons I will certainly use today, many years after I stopped day trading.

A) You can’t predict the future. Everyone thinks they can. But they can’t.

This applies not just to trading but everything. You could be married for 10 years and the next thing you know you are divorced and you would not have predicted that.

You could be healthy all your life and drink your vegetables and exercise and reduce stress, and a year later you could be dead from cancer.

You’d have much less stress if you let go of trying to predict the future.

You can always seek to increase the odds in your favor. if I don’t jump off bridges, for instance, it’s more likely I’ll be alive a year from now. But certainly a path to unhappiness is thinking the future can be predicted and controlled.

B) Hope is not a strategy.

If you get to the point where you “hope” you don’t get ruined, then you did something wrong beforehand.

For instance, if you plan a wedding outside and you don’t have a backup plan in case it rains, then you probably mis-planned your wedding, unless you are getting married in a desert.

“Hoping” is not a bad thing. I hope that every day my life goes perfectly.

But if hoping is the only thing I’m relying on, then it means I didn’t really look at all the possible outcomes of something that was important to me.

C) Uncertainty is your best friend.

A hundred percent of opportunities in life are created because people are uncertain about almost everything in their lives.

We are constantly trying to close the enormous gap between the things we are certain about and the things we are uncertain about, and almost every invention, product, Internet service, book, whatever has been created to help us close that gap.

Sometimes this is hard. If your husband betrays and leaves you, you often feel like crawling on the floor and burning all the self-help books. They all lied.

It’s hard to feel “in the now” or to “positive think” when life feels like it’s over. I’ve tried. For me it’s too hard.

But at the very least you can say…”help me.” You can say it to your close friends. You can say it something inside of yourself.

“Help me” is the most powerful, and most forgotten, prayer.

D) Taking risks versus reducing risk.

Some people take too many risks and they go bankrupt. This happened to me. And sometimes people are too cautious and don’t take enough risks.

When I first started day trading, I was so afraid of risk that if I had a small profit, I’d end the trade. But then I would take big losses and that would wipe out all my profits.

The key is that you can take larger and larger risks if you work on better and better ways to deal with those risks.

For instance, I might be able to risk marrying someone if I know she is not a hard-core drug addict who regularly betrays the people she is close to.

I can risk driving without a license if I always stay below the speed limit (I know this is a stupid risk, but still). Once you have a method of reducing risks, it’s easier to make trades or decisions about anything.

E) Diversification.

Often I get emails, “I really want ONE job but they don’t seem to want me and now I’m miserable. How can I get that job?”

Well…you can’t.

And you’re going to be unhappy. You can’t wish yourself a job.

When I was raising money to day trade, I probably contacted over 1,000 people. When I was starting an Internet business I started over a dozen Internet businesses and watched all of them fail but one. When I was trying to sell my Internet business I contacted over a dozen companies (although Google broke my heart – damn you Google!).

When I wanted to get married, I went on lots of dates. Claudia’s approach was even smarter – she wouldn’t waste time with dinners. She would only go to tea with guys. Within the first 20 seconds you know if you are attracted. So keep it to a tea.

F) Say “no.”

In day trading, if something is not working out, even if your heart wants it to work out, you have to say “No” and cut your losses.

If a business relationship is not working out, don’t put more energy and time into it.

There is a cognitive bias called “committment bias.” We think because we’ve already put time and energy (or money) into something that we have to stick with it. But this is just a mental bias. Say no to it.

You have to decide every moment if this is the situation you want to be in.

Just because you were in the situation a moment ago, or yesterday, or for 10 years, doesn’t mean the situation is right for you anymore.

G) Health.

Day trading pulls everything out of you. It sucks the soul out of your body, blends it up, and then explodes. It doesn’t turn into a nice smoothie. It explodes.

So you have to take care of yourself. If you don’t sleep enough, if you don’t eat well, exercise, be around positive people, be grateful for what you have, blah blah blah, you will lose all of your money and go bankrupt.

And obviously, this applies to everything else in life. Every day, what small thing can you do to become a slightly better you?

The reason we get so attracted to “safe” cubicle jobs is that the pain is more subtle and sneaks up on us. It’s not the blender-drama of day trading so the need for health on a daily basis doesn’t seem as important. But it is.

H) Laughter.

The only way to survive is to laugh. There’s that saying: “Man makes plans but God laughs.” Well, you might as well be on the same side as God.

I) “This is crazy” means you’re crazy.

I’ve seen it a million times. Guy makes a trade. The market goes against him. He says “this is crazy” and puts more money into the trade. And then he loses all his money and goes crazy. I’ve had to talk people off the ledge or tell them to put the gun down.

The market is never crazy. The world is never crazy. And I will go so far as to say that your girlfriend who just lied to you about where she spent the night is not crazy.

I only care about you. And you’re effin’ crazy if you thought the world was going to line up any other way than the way it lined up.

Tough on you.

I know when I feel like, “ugh, this situation is insane” that the first place I need to look is at me.

I am insane.

J) It doesn’t matter if a trade (or a day, or a life) is good or bad.

Good and bad days happen. But life is about a billion little moments that add up to all the things around you. If you let one of those moments have too much control then you are bound to be mostly miserable.

I was mostly miserable during the period I was day trading. I let that aspect of my life take control. So I stopped focusing on being a good husband, a good father, a good friend, a good anything.

All of my other constituencies went to hell.

I would have nightmares. I would lose sleep. I would wake up many mornings and go to the church across the street so I could be by myself and pray. What would I pray? “Jesus, please make the markets go in my direction today.”

I’m Jewish. Nobody answered my prayers.

K) It’s never about the money.

Every day I get emails like, “Can you show me how to day trade?”

“NO!”

I know a thousand day traders and only two that won’t go bankrupt. So what makes anyone think they will have an edge? How many people listen to me?

Zero.

How come?

Because people are sick of their lives, their relationships, their jobs, and all the lies that have been told to them ever since they learned how to walk.

They want freedom from the BS.

I get it.

Day trading is the dream. You can make enough money to not care. To do it from anywhere. To be happy.

It won’t work. But people don’t want to believe it. Most people think they have that one special something that will make it work for them.

And it’s true – they do have that one special something. But you can’t get there by day trading first. You can skip right to the being happy part. You can skip right to being free.

But we never learned that. We were taught we had to do something first to earn freedom. We were taught that suffering was the currency to buy happiness.

Okay, go do it. Then cry about it. Then get scared. Then curse the craziness. Then cry more. None of that will make you happy.

Then read this blog post again. Not because it will make you happy. But because I like when people read my posts.

And laugh.