Posts filed under “Consumer Spending”
On this day 56 years ago, the U.S. economy began to undergo a momentous change. It was Oct. 1, 1958, and the company known best for its Travelers Cheques introduced a new product: The charge card.
Although American Express technically wasn’t the first company to introduce a charge card, it was the first to make its cards ubiquitous, and in the process changed the concept of where and how credit could be used. The nation hasn’t been the same since
From those humble beginnings, the use of credit spread throughout the county. The Depression-era generation was loath to become indebted to any bank or lender after seeing what could happen in a credit crisis. It’s no coincidence that the widespread use of credit didn’t occur until a new generation came of age.
Along with that new generation came the birth of the suburban bedroom community. Homes were bought with mortgages and furnished with revolving debt. Cars purchased with dealer financing were the glue that held the edifice together. All of these items were out of reach for the average family, unless purchased with credit. This is no small matter. As you can see from the Federal Reserve’s most recent Flow of Funds report, the total indebtedness of U.S. households is a staggering $14 trillion dollars.
What makes the unstoppable rise of credit so significant is the role it played in the 2007-09 financial crisis, and the subsequent recovery. Credit crunches are different from ordinary recessions. Not only are they more severe, as Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff have documented in “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” but their character is significantly different.
Consider an ordinary recession . . . continues here
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed yesterday at a record high of more than 2,000. Yet many people feel that the economy is weak. There are numerous reasons for this, but the one I want to focus on has to do with employment and wages. The economy feels weak because, depending on your education,…Read More
Slate‘s Jordan Weissmann puts Apple’s product lines into perspective versus other large companies (Tech or not).
iPhone revenues alone eclipse that of either software behemoth Microsoft or online retail giant Amazon. Businessweek (September 2013):
“If the iPhone were its own company in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, iPhone Inc. would outsell 474 of 500 companies; iPhone’s $88.4 billion in annualized revenue tops 21 of the 30 component companies in the Dow Jones industrial average—it would be the ninth-biggest stock in the Dow 30.”
Consider these two product lines:
iPhone = Google + eBay
iPad = Yahoo + Facebook + LinkedIn + Twitter + Group + Tesla