|Nuts & Bolts|
Automatic Screw Machine
1871 Waltham Watch Company
Then along came metric, and then somebody gave the Chinese a screw machine and my carefully organized set of nuts and bolts quickly became irrelevant. Having a small set of fasteners that will cover 90% of your requirements is a good thing. When that set only covers only obsolete machinery that no one uses any more, it's kind of pointless.
This seems to have been a recurring theme throughout my life. Just about the time I have mastered a a machine and have all the tools I need to deal with it, the machine has become obsolete and my carefully organized set of tools and parts have become useless. This trend became even more pronounced when I started working on computers.
People like stability, safety and security. They like being sure that they will have something to eat and a comfortable place to sleep. They also have an appetite for new things. For some people, news reports satisfy that urge. For others it might be new stuff like clothes or cars or toys. For others, it's entertainment in the form of movies, music or sports.
Labor Unions focus on stability, safety and security. They want the same job, doing the same thing every day. Businesses like that too. When you have a smoothly running, profitable operation, everyone is happy. Problem is that nothing lasts forever and these days if something lasts ten years it's something of a miracle.
|The Great Gatsby and his Duesenberg|
How Big is a Trillion Dollars?
You don't hear much about millionaires anymore, billionaires are the hot topic. Every once in a while a news report will mention a trillion dollars, usually in context of whole US economy. Then I come across this report where there is 15 trillion dollars sitting in funds that are paying negative interest rates. Normal people invest money in things that have some kind of positive return. You give your broker $100 and in a year, if all goes well, you get $105 back. With these negative return investments, you are essentially paying them to hold your money for you. It's cheaper than buying a vault and hiring a security force to guard it for you, but that's about the best you can say for it.
There is an unimaginable amount of money out there looking for something to do. That might be why there are so many start-up companies being formed. People are looking for places to invest their money, so almost anyone with any kind of half baked scheme is able to get funding. Many of these will fail, but some of them will succeed, and a few of them might be a spectacular successes.
The fact that interest rates are so low indicates that not enough people are coming up with schemes to make money, or they aren't talking to the right people. Or maybe people are only looking for simple schemes that don't require funding. Complex schemes require working with people, after all, is a difficult job. Some people are good at it, but like most talents just because you are good at one thing does not necessarily entail that you are good at anything else.