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Month: January 2013

Hercules vs. the Hydra

Originally published in Flourishing November/December 2012 In the June 2012 issue of this newsletter, I asked you to think about the reasons for America’s high unemployment rate.  Then in the next two issues, I wrote that government interference in the form of minimum wage laws have helped raise the unemployment rate among black inner city youth to nearly 40%; and that laws favoring union bosses over non-union workers have in many states forced wages to uneconomic levels.  The important thing to keep in mind is that for most businesses, wages… Read more Hercules vs. the Hydra

All of Them

Originally published in Flourishing November/December 2012 As recently as 2005, the annual average price of natural gas in the U.S. was $8.81 per thousand cubic feet (mcf)1; and gas ended that year at the astronomical price of $13.05 per mcf.  In September 2012, the cash price for natural gas was $3.52 per mcf.2  For American job-seekers, this trend could be a game-changer. And, not that long ago, the bullies in Russia and Iran imagined they were going to corner the world market for natural gas.  Even now, there is an… Read more All of Them

Kansas–An Appreciation

Originally published in Flourishing September/October 2012 Several months ago, I was reconnected with an old friend and classmate (Washington Elementary, Hays; and she also happens to be a former newspaper editor).   I sent her a copy of one of my favorite books.  She sent back a note to the effect that the book had been quite informative, and she returned my act of friendship by sending me one of her own favorite books, The Web of Life, by Richard Louv. Richard was born in Brooklyn in 1949 and now lives… Read more Kansas–An Appreciation

An Autumn Weekend in New York

Originally published in Flourishing September/October 2012  At 7:00 AM on October 4, 2012, Linda and I boarded a United Airlines flight bound from Wichita to Chicago, where we changed planes and proceeded to New York City.  For the third time in four years, I was attending Nick Murray’s Behavioral Strategies Conference. Nick has long been recognized as our industry’s foremost writer, speaker, and mentor; and I’m proud to say that we’ve become friends. While I was attending the conference on Friday, Linda was busy planning our agenda for Saturday.  However,… Read more An Autumn Weekend in New York

The Unemployment Question (Part Two)

Originally published in Flourishing September/October 2012 Last month I discussed the effects of minimum wage laws, particularly on young and unskilled workers.  I showed that by mandating a cost of labor in excess of that labor’s value to employers, the government causes high levels of unemployment among these groups of workers. Similarly, by mandating that companies recognize and negotiate with unions, government often causes even highly-skilled workers’ wages and benefits to rise to uneconomic levels.  Since companies have budgets with limited income and fixed costs—like land, machinery, and buildings—higher wages… Read more The Unemployment Question (Part Two)

Ideas Having Sex–Redux

Originally published in Flourishing September/October 2012  Some time ago (April 2011), in an article entitled Ideas Having Sex, I shared with you one of my favorite books, The Rational Optimist1, by Matt Ridley.  In contrast to the financial media, who have a vested interest in promoting crises and conflicts, Ridley’s fundamental message is that optimism is the rational approach to life. According to Ridley, who is a Scottish geneticist, human beings long ago learned the benefits of voluntary and mutually beneficial exchange.  (You may have noticed that those who have… Read more Ideas Having Sex–Redux