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Bill Gates, Warren Buffett praise Apple, US economic outlook

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
In a conversation with Fox Business News, business luminaries Bill Gates and Warren Buffett praised Apple's performance while talking about tablet technologies and presented an overall strong outlook for the American economy.

Microsoft just canceled the prospect of own Courier high-end tablet concept that company observers had hoped to see reach the market later this year. Additionally, its Slate PC partnership with HP, aimed at delivering a tablet-sized device running Windows 7, has been sidelined by HP's high profile purchase of Palm. Analysts expect HP to use Palm's webOS instead of Microsoft's desktop operating system in its future mobile products.

However, Gates said in the interview that "Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we're pursuing," perhaps alluding to previous Tablet PC and UMPC devices, as well as forthcoming Windows 7 systems from other vendors, such as Dell's Streak tablet.

Thinking outside the pen

Gates also emphasized the stylus as being critical to Microsoft's plans. "We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time."

While Microsoft developed some rudimentary support for Pen Computing in Windows in the early 90s, mainstream stylus-based computing devices had arrived much earlier, dating back to the truly pioneering GRiDPad and Apple's sophisticated but slow selling Newton MessagePad, which introduced the concept to broad audiences.

Gates has long advocated stylus-based mobile devices, announcing in 2001 that "within five years [the stylus-drive Tablet PC] will be the most popular form of PC sold in America," a promise that simply failed to materialize. In contrast, while Apple has continued to investigate the merits of pen based computing and has patented related concepts, its chief executive Steve Jobs has downplayed the roll of pen-based devices since the iPhone was unveiled.

"We are all born with the ultimate pointing device: our fingers," Jobs said at the time, "and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse."

Buffett, Gates on Apple, the US economy

Turning to Apple specifically during a conversation on investing in tech companies, Buffett said, "Steve Jobs has done a terrific job. And there will be companies that excel. And occasionally they will excel because of luck, but usually they excel because of brains."

Gates added, "Yes, I think both in general and in the specific, Apple's done a great job."

Both Buffett and Gates were optimistic about the country's economic future, with Gates noting that "Innovation is still there and its very much a global system. Were way better off and this is going to be a great time for the country."

Buffett added "we have a terrific system. In the end, decade by decade, people live better in this country." On the subject of government regulation, Buffett observed, "well, you never know what they're going to do and we'll -- we've managed to adjust to all kinds of regulations and laws over the years and most of them we think are pretty good. So, that, I'm not sitting around worrying what Washington is going to do in terms of running Berkshire Hathaway."

Regarding the Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus, Buffett said we followed the proper course of action when the world virtually stopped in the fall of 2008. That only, only the United States government could have stepped in to leverage up to offset the deleveraging going up in the rest of the economy so we applied the right medicine basically. We applied massive dosages of it. We couldn't keep doing that without having other consequences, it's the right thing to do then. Its the right thing to end at some point and ending it is harder than starting it.

On capitalism and global markets, Gates said, "We still have the best system for letting people take risks, get capital. We are the envy of the world. They are coping some of our good ideas. Unfortunately, our health care system, they are not copying some of our bad ideas.
post #2 of 37
Two of the richest men in the world think things are great.
Shouldn't the "fair and balanced" network also interview two of the poorest men in the world?
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Buffett added "we have a terrific system. In the end, decade by decade, people live better in this country." On the subject of government regulation, Buffett observed, "well, you never know what they're going to do and we'll -- we've managed to adjust to all kinds of regulations and laws over the years and most of them we think are pretty good. So, that, I'm not sitting around worrying what Washington is going to do in terms of running Berkshire Hathaway."

"because with BRK.A at $114,800 a share, I really don't give a rat's ass what happens."
post #4 of 37
Gates praises Apple... OMG Now the anti-trust is imminent!!!
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post #5 of 37
Sounds like it would be an interview worth listening to, if I could just overcome my aversion to watching anything on Fox News!

I think Bill Gates has a point about something pen based still being of interest. Jobs is right that you're born with a finger to point with, but my fat fingers aren't the most accurate things in the world.

A pen based device that really could do hand-writing recognition would be great.
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Gates also emphasized the stylus as being critical to Microsoft's plans. "We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time."

Our lawyers and engineers discovered there is no way in hell we can implement a multi-touch gestures, or more interface without getting our butts handed to us in the courts.

We're going to stick with the area we have patents on.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Sounds like it would be an interview worth listening to, if I could just overcome my aversion to watching anything on Fox News!

Agreed, Paul. I don't know where I read it, but, 'we probably shouldn't watch Fox News or MSNBC.'

This advice I have taken.

I read the Wall Street Journal and listen to NPR specifically Diane Rehm via radio or podcasts while running.
post #8 of 37
Buffet has said a lot more than that lately.

1: Whole country involved with fantasy about housing market.

2: Banks lose money guaranteeing credit (encouraged by laws governing banks forcing to give credit to unworthy persons)

3: Homeowners made a lot of bad bets on housing.

4: Biggest taxpayer losses: Freddie and Fannie


Also:

In the month of January 2010 there were 300,00 bank foreclosures

In the same month, there were 600,000 foreclosures from Freddie and Fannie


Who got the two GSEś involved in the sub-prime housing mess?

How is Congress planning to pay for the mess they 2/3 caused when they took office?

A Health Care tax to take effect a few years from now, when they are out of office.


Things are about as rosy as can be when you just hocked the country to itś eyeballs to the Chinese and started the process of taking over another industry after failing the first one.

The U.S. is going to be another Greece unless the debt is paid down, the pain is being put off right now, but it will have to be addressed soon.

And Greece´s problems are minor, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal owe many many time more than Greece does, all to Britain, France and Germany. 8 billion of Greece´s bailout came from the IMF, which the U.S. gives 20 billion a year. Yep, your money!

If the EU goes down, which is why gold and the dollar is up today and the Euro and the US stock market is down, that leaves the U.S. bailing out Europe, which will severely effect our economy. The dreaded double dip is coming.

Read Business Insider, watch CNBC, read the WSJ for the real scoop.

http://www.businessinsider.com/gdp-chart-2050-2010-5


/rant
post #9 of 37
I wanna see "Pirates of Silicon Valley, Part II", where Steve Jobs raids MS office with a refurbished B-17, and drops iPods , iPhones and iPads and says "Eat this Billy boy!", while laughing maniacally. That would be cool.
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

I wanna see "Pirates of Silicon Valley, Part II", where Steve Jobs raids MS office with a refurbished B-17, and drops iPods , iPhones and iPads and says "Eat this Billy boy!", while laughing maniacally. That would be cool.


Your going to be O.K., this link will help

http://psychcentral.com
post #11 of 37
.

Not sure you want to use the words "Bill Gates" and "luminary" in the same sentence

Unless it's in the sense of a Light House that warns people to stay away

.

Then later you say Gates mentioned, " ... projects we're pursuing."

Now THAT is spot on

"Pursuing"

Yep, all Billy Boy will ever be good for

Never get there, just pursue

.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Sounds like it would be an interview worth listening to, if I could just overcome my aversion to watching anything on Fox News!

I believe the story ran on Fox Business, not Fox News. However, your inaccurate comments still lead us to believe that you must think some other news outlet is not biased or pushing an agenda? Which one? Cause as far as I can tell, ALL media has let us down. No longer the watchdogs, they now seek to create news and influence policy rather than simply report it.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

I believe the story ran on Fox Business, not Fox News. However, your inaccurate comments still lead us to believe that you must think some other news outlet is not biased or pushing an agenda? Which one? Cause as far as I can tell, ALL media has let us down. No longer the watchdogs, they now seek to create news and influence policy rather than simply report it.

Does it make you feel better somehow, or perhaps more justified, by assuming that nobody in journalism makes an effort to report the news without bias?
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post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

I believe the story ran on Fox Business, not Fox News. However, your inaccurate comments still lead us to believe that you must think some other news outlet is not biased or pushing an agenda? Which one? Cause as far as I can tell, ALL media has let us down. No longer the watchdogs, they now seek to create news and influence policy rather than simply report it.

Hey, I'll freely admit that all news outlets are biased, it's just I'm European, so Fox is waaaaaaay too right-wing for my socialist ass!
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

I believe the story ran on Fox Business, not Fox News. However, your inaccurate comments still lead us to believe that you must think some other news outlet is not biased or pushing an agenda? Which one? Cause as far as I can tell, ALL media has let us down. No longer the watchdogs, they now seek to create news and influence policy rather than simply report it.

You need to stop watching cable and especially network news and begin to watch more news programs on PBS.
post #16 of 37
I'm wary about the economy. We are still under the Bush tax cuts. I'm not sure how our economy will cope with the massive new taxes in the pipeline. My guess is it's not going to be pretty. Tax and spend has never worked. Unemployment is going to creep higher when small businesses are forced to cut costs via laying off when bruised by the coming hikes.

As far as networks, there's a reason Fox is #1. If you like the WSJ, it's strange to say you don't like Fox. I prefer them both.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

You need to stop watching cable and especially network news and begin to watch more news programs on PBS.

And/or NPR. Of course some will tell you that both of those news sources must be lefty because they aren't righty. This is what passes for logic today.
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post #18 of 37
Were they drunk or what? If you read their quotes, the lack of fluency is astounding, especially in the last (cheer-leading) part ...
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post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

On capitalism and global markets, Gates said, "We still have the best system for letting people take risks, get capital. We are the envy of the world. They are coping some of our good ideas. Unfortunately, our health care system, they are not copying some of our bad ideas.”

Don't you mean fortunately, for the rest of the world? Oh, I see, unfortunately for us
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Our lawyers and engineers discovered there is no way in hell we can implement a multi-touch gestures, or more interface without getting our butts handed to us in the courts.

We're going to stick with the area we have patents on.

They have been doing multi-touch gestures for almost a decade... surely they have some patents.
post #21 of 37
SpotOn, as much as you think you understand Buffet and the underpinnings of the financial meltdown, you don't.

I like watching CNBC and I am even drawn to their simple philosophy of letting the free market and not conscientious morality make important decisions, but their audience is the investor/CEO class and they are of course even more biased than a general news station. Just listen to Kudlow for 5 minutes and even though I like him and l like capitalism, he is just a high priest reading from his own scripture.

"Drill, baby, drill - it will all get cleaned up later..." Okay, so much for personal responsibility.

The govt. encouraged banks to make loans, but no one forced them to make loans any more than anyone forced people to take out mortgages that they couldn't afford. So who is more at fault, a million people without MBA's hoping to make a better life with some personal risk or the 10 thousand or so mortgage experts and later derivative experts who made the whole mess a systemic risk rather than a person risk. So much for corporate responsibility.

I guess if you really feel you have to blame the govt. just to feel better, go ahead, but at least we can vote politicians out and we can look at govt. records. Everything in bank board rooms is secret (as it should be) and we never know what they are doing until they get caught.

When all is said and done, this was a predictable result of Reaganomics, which gave us a great few decades of Wall Street sky rocketing, regular wages staying stagnant, savings plummeting ... until deregulation and risk finally had to balance things out. Buffet and Gates understand that far better than BusinessWeek, the WSJ or CNBC talking heads do.

Ayn Rand was very observant, but not particularly deep.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post

SpotOn, as much as you think you understand Buffet and the underpinnings of the financial meltdown, you don't.

Ok you right, and the huge money I made predicting the bubble doesn´t exist. *rolls eyes*

Quote:
I like watching CNBC and I am even drawn to their simple philosophy of letting the free market and not conscientious morality make important decisions, but their audience is the investor/CEO class and they are of course even more biased than a general news station.

These people deal with the system daily and for quite some time, you have to respect that experience. You either chose to learn the system by watching it and confirming or denying what your told, or you chose to ignore it and believe what others tell you to believe about it.

If your ¨conscientious morality¨ means giving loans to people to buy more house than they can afford, privatizing the profits while socializing the risks, brother you can shove it where the sun doesn´t shine. I´m sure the 600,000 people who defaulted from the GSEś in January would agree with me. I don´t like cronyism, either socialist or capitalist.


Quote:
Just listen to Kudlow for 5 minutes and even though I like him and l like capitalism, he is just a high priest reading from his own scripture.

Larry has his views, his own show and makes discussion, itś the only show really that actively discusses the finer points of Free Market/Keynesian economic policies.


Quote:
"Drill, baby, drill - it will all get cleaned up later..." Okay, so much for personal responsibility.

Thousands of oil rigs in the gulf that have been drilling and pumping for our energy needs for decades and nothing like what has occurred recently. Especially a new find that is reportedly the largest every found in the Americaś or something like that.

Still like to know exactly what was powerful enough to bring down a whole rig like that. Terrorism? GreenPeace? Mexico drug lords? Rival oil nation? That well is nearly a mile underwater.

Until another cheaper, safer and more economic fuel source arrives or we decide to give up our energy dependence and allow ourselves vulnerable to attack, oil can´t be beat, itś already concentrated energy. Gasoline is 80 times more energy concentrated per weight, than the best batteries on the market.

Quote:
The govt. encouraged banks to make loans, but no one forced them to make loans any more than anyone forced people to take out mortgages that they couldn't afford.

Clinton CRA changes did start the process and the first MBS was created a year later. What this set into motion was the separation of the borrower from the lender, which allowed all sort of abuse, NINJA loans, even the rating agencies with CDO´s with AAA ratings and toxic portions. Then of course Freddie nd Fannie were taking all comers, so it invited abuse by the banks. Nice.


Quote:
So who is more at fault, a million people without MBA's hoping to make a better life with some personal risk or the 10 thousand or so mortgage experts and later derivative experts who made the whole mess a systemic risk rather than a person risk. So much for corporate responsibility.

How about government responsibility? Know nothing bureaucrats messing with the system and putting all those ¨million people without MBA´s" at risk in the first place? Congress was warned REPEATLY by the Fed, but they continued and despite the blowout and 600,000 defaults in January alone, they are still increasing their exposure.

Guess the next thing Freddie and Fannie should do is open retail locations for home loans and savings.


I´m for re-enacting Glass Stegall BTW. Banks shouldn´t be gambling, but it´s hard for them to make money now that the government has taken over the mortgage market.


Quote:
I guess if you really feel you have to blame the govt. just to feel better, go ahead, but at least we can vote politicians out and we can look at govt. records. Everything in bank board rooms is secret (as it should be) and we never know what they are doing until they get caught.

Banks need to make a profit and answer to shareholders, CEO´s can be fired anytime.

With government officials, they lie their ass off to get elected and change course once they get in and we can get rid of them for years.

Quote:
When all is said and done, this was a predictable result of Reaganomics, which gave us a great few decades of Wall Street sky rocketing, regular wages staying stagnant, savings plummeting ... until deregulation and risk finally had to balance things out. Buffet and Gates understand that far better than BusinessWeek, the WSJ or CNBC talking heads do.

Ayn Rand was very observant, but not particularly deep.

I´ve got a unemployed friend that bad mouths Reagan all the time, until I showed him EMRATIO chart.

In one year we dropped back two decades to 58%, to pre-Reagan levels.
post #23 of 37
I just don't get it. The market has long not been about fundamentals it's all about manipulation and making money off the investments of normal working people.

Someone sneezes overseas and the lemming like investors flee to the US$ in droves. Really? The US is functionally bankrupt!

Hey kids, here's a tip, don't bother saving your money, because when you grow up your money will either be worthless due to inflation or you will have lost it all investing.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

two of the richest men in the world think things are great.
Shouldn't the "fair and balanced" network also interview two of the poorest men in the world?

+1!!!
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post



Guess the next thing Freddie and Fannie should do is open retail locations for home loans and savings.


Noooooooooooo!

(i know you were joking)

As far as I know institutions like that don't exist anywhere else in the world.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pondosinatra View Post

I just don't get it. The market has long not been about fundamentals it's all about manipulation and making money off the investments of normal working people.

Someone sneezes overseas and the lemming like investors flee to the US$ in droves. Really? The US is functionally bankrupt!

Hey kids, here's a tip, don't bother saving your money, because when you grow up your money will either be worthless due to inflation or you will have lost it all investing.

It gets away from the basics sometimes but the markets are still the best conduit to transfer money between those who need capital and those who have an excess of it. If fundamentals really were gone, then the places who rely on it (businesses and government) would quickly have their funds withdrawn and fall over.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

It gets away from the basics sometimes but the markets are still the best conduit to transfer money between those who need capital and those who have an excess of it. If fundamentals really were gone, then the places who rely on it (businesses and government) would quickly have their funds withdrawn and fall over.

Er, have you looked at Greece recently?
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Buffet has said a lot more than that lately.

1: Whole country involved with fantasy about housing market.

2: Banks lose money guaranteeing credit (encouraged by laws governing banks forcing to give credit to unworthy persons)

3: Homeowners made a lot of bad bets on housing.

4: Biggest taxpayer losses: Freddie and Fannie


Also:

In the month of January 2010 there were 300,00 bank foreclosures

In the same month, there were 600,000 foreclosures from Freddie and Fannie


Who got the two GSEś involved in the sub-prime housing mess?

How is Congress planning to pay for the mess they 2/3 caused when they took office?

A Health Care tax to take effect a few years from now, when they are out of office.


Things are about as rosy as can be when you just hocked the country to itś eyeballs to the Chinese and started the process of taking over another industry after failing the first one.

The U.S. is going to be another Greece unless the debt is paid down, the pain is being put off right now, but it will have to be addressed soon.

And Greece´s problems are minor, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal owe many many time more than Greece does, all to Britain, France and Germany. 8 billion of Greece´s bailout came from the IMF, which the U.S. gives 20 billion a year. Yep, your money!

If the EU goes down, which is why gold and the dollar is up today and the Euro and the US stock market is down, that leaves the U.S. bailing out Europe, which will severely effect our economy. The dreaded double dip is coming.

Read Business Insider, watch CNBC, read the WSJ for the real scoop.

http://www.businessinsider.com/gdp-chart-2050-2010-5


/rant

Be careful....we are a $14 trillion economy, the next biggest is China or Japan both at around $4 Trillion each. Even though China has been growing on average of 10% a year for the last 30 years!

The debt is 1.4 trillion that's 10% of the 14 trillion. I'm not saying the debt shouldn't be addressed but it or China are not the 'catastrophe' you, Fox News, MSNBC are making it out to be.

Believe it or not, we are still the biggest 'Manufacturer' in the world. It's just that we make jet engines and locomotives and have allowed China to make our Tupperware, iPods, etc.

As far as WSJ....Southwest Airlines doesn't 'buy' their airplanes...they lease them. Large companies go into debt to expand all the time. Granted US Government is not efficient as SW Airlines and has a lot of problems, but at this point in time given the tenuous state of the recovery, the debt and China are not one of them!
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Be careful....we are a $14 trillion economy, the next biggest is China or Japan both at around $4 Trillion each. Even though China has been growing on average of 10% a year for the last 30 years!

The debt is 1.4 trillion that's 10% of the 14 trillion. I'm not saying the debt shouldn't be addressed but it or China are not the 'catastrophe' you, Fox News, MSNBC are making it out to be.

Believe it or not, we are still the biggest 'Manufacturer' in the world. It's just that we make jet engines and locomotives and have allowed China to make our Tupperware, iPods, etc.

As far as WSJ....Southwest Airlines doesn't 'buy' their airplanes...they lease them. Large companies go into debt to expand all the time. Granted US Government is not efficient as SW Airlines and has a lot of problems, but at this point in time given the tenuous state of the recovery, the debt and China are not one of them!

the biggest tosh i've heard in a long time ... you probably mean the US debt is 1.4 trillion per year ...
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post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by nasdarq View Post

the biggest tosh i've heard in a long time ... you probably mean the US debt is 1.4 trillion per year ...

Yep you're right the 'national debt' is $12 trillion....I guess we're doomed!
post #31 of 37
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by smithshn View Post

If the EU goes down, which is why gold and the dollar is up today and the Euro and the US stock market is down, that leaves the U.S. bailing out Europe, which will severely effect our economy. The dreaded double dip is coming.

The EU is not gonna go down. All that will come out of this is the rejection of the Euro currency, and each country going back to marks or krona or whatever they had before. Then they can all print as much as they want, just like the US and print their way out of debt. Sure the inflation will go up, but you won't have to pass austerity measures and risk civil war in the country.
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post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

The EU is not gonna go down. All that will come out of this is the rejection of the Euro currency, and each country going back to marks or krona or whatever they had before. Then they can all print as much as they want, just like the US and print their way out of debt. Sure the inflation will go up, but you won't have to pass austerity measures and risk civil war in the country.

The EU countries currently in monetary union are very unlikely to abandon the euro. That would cause economic calamity which would make the current crisis look like a church picnic. It might well slow down the expansion of the eurozone if it had been expanding, which it is not. The big crisis as I read it isn't the euro, it's the Greek (and Spanish, and Portuguese) debt held by banks in other European nations. That debt would be of dubious value even if it was denominated in other currencies. (Shades of Brazil, not so many years ago.) The ultimate solution, which everyone is trying to pretend might not be necessary, is a massive restructuring of Greek debt and the loss of equity value by its holders.
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post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

And/or NPR. Of course some will tell you that both of those news sources must be lefty because they aren't righty. This is what passes for logic today.

I dunno, perhaps I'm a radical for watching/listening to both? I find value in both Fox and NPR - at least i get a diversity of ideas. I can judge content on it's merits and not just by who reports it just fine.

I find it fascinating that many people I know who bash fox have no problem reading and quoting the huffington post sigh.... irony - it's a lost concept....

As for Gates/Buffett - what else can one say about Apple? There is nothing to spin - Apple is firing on all cylinders
post #35 of 37
So it helps somehow to get equal doses of information and propaganda?

FWIW, I don't watch any cable news, I don't read the Huffington Post, and I don't feel like I'm missing a single thing.
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post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The big crisis as I read it isn't the euro

I was reading several articles last night talking about how the British pound is likely going to be next...

Quote:
The ultimate solution, which everyone is trying to pretend might not be necessary, is a massive restructuring of Greek debt and the loss of equity value by its holders.

Yup - at some point, balance has to be restored and someone is going to be left holding the bag.

And for all those who thing government is the magical answer - don't bank (ha!) on it. All of this was caused by basic human greed - inside and outside of government. Until you deal with that none of this will change. That means the average person is going to have to pull their head out of the TV or Internet for more than thirty minutes, pay attention and get involved. Until the general public stops being apathetic to whatever their elected officials are doing, expect more raping, pillaging and plundering at our collective expense.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

I was reading several articles last night talking about how the British pound is likely going to be next...

It's been on the decline for some time, which for them isn't necessarily a bad thing. The UK has the advantage of being able to allow their currency to devalue, which boosts exports. Greece and the other Eurozone countries with weak economies and huge national debt problems are stuck with the relatively strong euro, which only multiplies the problem. As nearly as I can tell from what I've heard, the EU central bankers simply aren't prepared to address a problem like this. They'd better think of something fast. One solution I've heard floated was taking Greece out of the Eurozone, but that's not going to be easy I suspect.

I thought this was an excellent commentary on the general situation:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...0,146134.story
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