August 12, 2013 – Post No. 25 – I read an article this week that the annual Maine Lobster catch in 2012 was over 400% higher than it was in 1990. As demand has not kept pace, there is an oversupply and the price of Maine Lobster per pound has dropped 50% in the past few years. For those who like Maine Lobster, it is time to go enjoy a nice affordable meal. A bit of trivia re lobsters – it takes 7 years for a lobster to gain 1 pound.
One last food item – the price of Iceberg Lettuce is up 150% in the past year. Now I have an excuse not to eat healthy salads:)
For those who know me, you know it is an under-statement to say I am pro-government. I totally believe the government is much more efficient over the long run at running industries and protecting the public than the free market. Our private industry has time and again wiped out all the good they produce with significant losses in recession after recession after depression – which the public ends up paying for the losses while the companies (especially senior management) enjoyed the profits. I am certain many disagree with my belief that AT&T was great as a monopoly and the airline industry was better when it was regulated (probably more of you will disagree with the former than the latter).
Beliefs aside, I want to mention a new book titled The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, by Marianna Mazzucato. A book review in the Financial Times can be found at the following link:
I won’t regurgitate what it says. Easier for you to read about all the innovations that are a result of the government and not private entrepreneurs, and more importantly why that is. I do remember growing up in Florida near Cape Kennedy (aka Cape Canaveral) and hearing how NASA inventions led to the microwave oven and most importantly – Tang! 🙂 (Those too young to remember Tang, you can Google or Wikipedia it).
What amazed me more than a book being published about this subject was the letters to the editors that followed. I would say around 90% actually agreed with the author’s stance. I totally expected the book to be bashed and the free market believers to say how great entrepreneurs and corporations have been to innovation. But, no, it didn’t turn out that way. Most commenters agreed that governments could afford to invest over the long haul and then provide the inventions to the private sector to profit from. The consensus was entrepreneurs could not afford to take large losses and failures for long periods of time. In the end that seems to be such simple logic.
I will be on the road this time next week so I am going to take a one-week hiatus. Back in two weeks.
Happy National Julienne Fries Day,
George R. Mann, CRE, FRICS, MAI
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