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When protesters at Occupy Wall Street talk about the 1%, who exactly are they talking about? David Bettencourt, a history major at UMass Amherst, says that they are talking about the big businessmen and women that gain that millions through unfair means and controlling the population.
“I saw on the BBC an increase of 217% for the wealth of the top ten or twenty percent of the united states and the bottom twenty percent only gained an 18% increase in the past 30 years,” says David. “The thing they’re protesting is the extreme uneven distribution of wealth that has occurred due to administrations and the way corporations run themselves.”
According to David, the reason the 1% act unfairly is because the business techniques they use are unfair and ruthless. “Obviously they’re rich enough where they don’t have to care about wealth anymore,” says David, “Now they’re trying to do it to influence power.”
This blog post from CNN addresses the issue of who exactly counts as the 1%. It says that much of the one percent elite group can include salaries of $300,000 to $1,000,000 per year; much of which exists in the “securities industry in New York […] many of whom work only blocks from where protesters are gathering in Zuccotti Park.”
If you look at the UMass campus for more than 10 seconds, you will eventually see someone using an Apple device. Apple now makes up half of the computer usage on campus. What exactly is it that makes these devices so appealing? Is it the marketing? Is it the aesthetics and user interface? Are Apple devices just better than everything else? Or is it some combination those things?
Jordan Higgs, a software support worker at the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) at UMass, says he thinks aesthetics are important in Apple’s marketing. He says that “they all have a synergy, like a togetherness” along with “some excellent customer service.”
An article on Kyle Baxter’s Tightwind talks about the success of the iPhone and other Apple marketing strategies. He says that Apple “redefined the smartphone” by downplaying the hardware and “allowed the user to interact directly with the software.” He also says that Apple’s entire business strategy revolves around finding markets they have advantages in and redefining them.
Ok, so we know that Apple devices look and feel fancy, but are they really better than other computers? This page maps out the difference between Mac and PC computers; and the recurring theme is that Macs just look better and cost more while the hardware is essentially the same between both computers.
So finally it comes down to this question: is it worth paying more to have an average computer with a better looking user interface and an apple logo? You ponder that while I play Angry Birds on my Apple iPod Touch.
From the few articles that I read on his blog, I am inclined to say that Felix Salmon mostly reports on economic matters, world wide and in the US. Most of his articles contain big economic words and phrases like “London Club bail-in default with a modest 21% haircut and an exit yield of 9%” and flows these phrases with ornate and confusing finance talk, as if his audience actually knows what he’s talking about and can follow him completely.
I suppose his target audience would be well-read and educated people who either work in or are interested in business or advanced economics in some way. The tone of the articles is sort of neutral. It is not always clear what his opinions are or how strong they are; which can make the blog kind of boring to read. But maybe that’s my own lack of knowledge working against me.
I will say, though, that he does his research, and shows it. Every article is full of quotes and links to information; sometimes too many, as if to make sure we know that he didn’t plagiarize. The blog feels dry of anything interesting; there are barely any pictures or videos or even charts to explain to us ignorant, untrained masses what he is talking about; much of the time it’s all about figures and weird (to me at least) economics vocabulary.
However, the best thing about his blog is that he does make good points. Salmon presents every side of an issue by researching each one thoroughly, many times bringing in opinions of others to better illustrate the full scope of the issue. If nothing else, he reports well; creating interesting angles for his posts and giving direction to the information he presents.
I would say that this blog is an excellent source of information and discussion topics for economics majors and people in business or finances; but for most lay people who don’t spend time looking at stocks or reading the Wall Street Journal, it is quite frankly boring and uninteresting.