Uber nichts

Finally, after years of tease and denial, the unicorns are going public. These phenomenally valued firms, pumped up by venture capitalists (VCs), remained private for far longer than they did in previous startup manias, most notably the dot.com bubble of the late 1990s. That’s changing. A bit of history. In August 1995, Netscape, maker of one of the first web browsers, sold stock to the public for the first time. (Until then, it had been backed and owned by a small circle of managers and VCs.) Initially priced at $14 a share,… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just posted to my radio archive (click on date for link): February 8, 2018 DH on stock market madness (longer version is here) • Yasha Levine, author of Surveillance Valley, on the military/intelligence roots of the internet, which live on today (hi NSA!)

About that stock panic

Stock markets have stabilized, at least for now, after a few days of what the press likes to call “turmoil.” What does it all mean? There’s no doubt that stocks have been due for a comeuppance for some time: they’re very expensive. Since stocks represent claims on corporate profits, present and future, the conventional way to value them is by measuring their price against those underlying profits (or “earnings” in Wall Street lingo, since to the owning class, profits from capital are just like wages for labor: as they like to say,… Read More

Rot: the private sector angle

In a post yesterday, I showed how public investment, net of depreciation, in the U.S. is barely above 0, meaning that fresh expenditures on long-lived assets like schools and roads are running just slightly ahead of the decay of existing infrastructure. You might think, given neoliberal orthodoxy, that the private sector is taking up the slack. It isn’t. The graph below shows net private nonresidential fixed investment as a percent of GDP. Net means less depreciation (the declining monetary value of existing assets over time, as they wear out and grow obsolete);… Read More

Presidential economics, 2004 vintage

Mike Tomasky writes with some surprise in The Daily Beast (“The 24 and the 42 million, and Basic Competence”) that both the job market and the stock market have done better under Democratic presidents than under Republican. He comments: “ And yet, no one in America knows. No one.” That’s not true. Subscribers to Left Business Observer knew that years ago. I first reviewed the post-World War II record of the two parties in 1996, and updated the study in 2004. The results: Dems are better for growth in both jobs and GDP, and for… Read More

Obama’s stock market: pretty good (if you care about that sort of thing)

Republicans and business interests have been relentless in their whining about how B. Hussein Obama has the “job creators” cowering under a reign of terror, what with his socialist policies and hostile rhetoric. But how have the monied been voting their approval or disapproval in one of their favorite venues, the stock market? There, Obama’s approval rating looks even higher than Gallup’s version. Obama is now in the 40th month of his reign. Compared with the same spots in other presidential terms since 1945, Obama’s stock market is the third best, beaten… Read More