Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, April 02, 2021

Governmental policies and telecommunicative technologies has made the flow of international capital easier than ever — and has increasingly divorced the concept of a corporate “home market”:

Thanks to globalization and the opening of new markets, [HSBC chief economist Stephen] King said, “it’s increasingly difficult to argue that companies themselves are attached to a country.” He notes, for example, that Vodafone, the giant British telecommunications company, has more than 80 percent of its sales and employment outside of Britain. And as of 2002, Mr. King found, the 50 largest multinational companies had 55 percent of their employees and 59 percent of their sales outside of their home countries.

The trend of corporate cosmopolitanism is most pronounced in Europe. In a report published last November, [Patrick] Artus of IXIS found that for the members of the German index, the DAX 30, about 53 percent of employment and 34 percent of sales were in Germany; for the companies in the CAC 40, the French index, 43 percent of employees and 35.5 percent of sales were in France.

The trend is less pronounced in the United States. Standard & Poor’s estimates that the companies in the S.& P. 500 derive about 60 percent of their sales at home, according to Alec Young, equity market strategist at S.& P. But for some of the largest companies, like McDonald’s, the domestic market counts for only one-third of revenue.

I’d guess the percentages aren’t as skewed for American companies because the U.S. market, taken as a single nation, is so much broader than a Germany or France. If the same numbers are run using the European Union as a single-entity market, the numbers would align more closely.

The rise of the post-Cold War free trade global economy has revived the idea of the transnational corporation. It was in vogue briefly in the mid- to late 1980s, when already long-established conglomerates were reexamined as pivotal economic agents on the world stage. There seems to be an ebb and flow to how often these mega-companies emphasize their national roots.

It’s interesting to consider the extreme scenario that could arise from this trending: A caste-like global economic structure, equating to a division of labor. The developed world would be the headquarters base, high-end talent pool, and distribution endmarket; the developing world would be the production staging ground, where the goods are produced but are worth too much for locals to consume. Actually, that’s more or less how things are set up now…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/02/2021 11:31:43 PM
Category: Business, Society
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hey hey tampa bay
They’re division enemies of the hometown Yankees, but the New York Times knows a good baseball-team-as-distressed-property story when it sees one. The Tampa Bay whizkid braintrust of Matthew Silverman, Andrew Friedman and owner Stuart Sternberg is presented as Wall Street fix-it experts determined to resurrect Major League Baseball’s saddest-sack franchise.

Among the finance science being applied to the baseball diamond:

Mr. Friedman, who attended Tulane on a baseball scholarship, spices his language with Wall Street jargon like “mark-to-market accounting” and “positive arbitrage” in describing how he expects to get the most out of his roster. While the Devil Rays’ payroll of $35 million puts the team at the bottom of the league, for example, Mr. Friedman uses the mark-to-market method — which allows a Wall Street trader to value a security in his portfolio at the current market price, not the price he paid for it — to gauge his team’s real worth.

Applying that notion to baseball allows Mr. Friedman to attach a market value of perhaps $7 million to Scott Kazmir, the team’s star pitcher, who is actually on his payroll for $370,000 a year. Luckily for them, most of the players on the team are contract-bound to salaries lower than what they might command on the open market. The bottom line is this: Mr. Friedman reckons that the real value of the Devil Rays’ payroll is closer to $50 million.

Friedman better hope none of his players (or their agents) read that. Not that the Rays are bound by these comments, but undervalued assets in the form of contracted employees have a habit of figuring out their market value pretty quickly, and let ownership know come negotiation time.

The new Devil Rays regime is obviously being set up as a test case for whether or not business sense can yield results in baseball. A bit of “Moneyball”/sabremetrics is thrown in for good measure, because you can’t claim to be an MLB miracleworker without a nod to the arcane numbercrunching (which has yet to win any team a World Series, by the way). Personally, I still say it’ll begin and end with pitching. Which means this season is nothing but a big-show seasoning stint for the squad, with hopes to build a foundation for seasons to come.

And yes, all the talk about what’s going down at Tropicana Field (not “Tropicana Park”, the one noticable error in the Times piece) did make me a bit wistful for my former hometown. Not that I care a whit for baseball, but I did enjoy having a top-storey window view of the Trop at my last gig.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/02/2021 05:47:33 PM
Category: Baseball
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Just in case World Series of Poker doesn’t satisfy your faux-sports programming fix, ESPN is bringing forth coverage of two more tabletop gaming experiences:

Oldschool dominoes matches, here and abroad:

Hourlong domino shows now run on Tuesday nights at 10 on the network’s Spanish-language sports channel ESPN Deportes. Hoping it will be popular with English-speaking viewers, network officials plan to show similar programming on ESPN2 starting in June.

“We think it will be the next cool thing,” said Lino Garcia, the general manager of ESPN Deportes. “We’re connecting with the best places dominoes is played, so naturally we’re going to start in uptown Manhattan and the Bronx, the places where it really happens.”

Mr. Garcia said he hopes to repeat the success the network has had with poker — its World Series of Poker is its highest-rated regular series. Like poker, domino games offer plenty of suspense and drama at the table, with clever decision-making and reading the strategies of other players all pivotal to winning. The network will also televise the world championships next year from the Dominican Republic.

And celebrity chess games:

This spring, the game may make a bigger splash with the public. Following on the heels of television’s “Celebrity Poker” and “Dancing With the Stars,” ESPN has signed a deal to produce a televised celebrity chess tournament featuring Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes and others. “This is a charity tournament, but we hope to grow televised chess with sponsors and prize money,” said Giovanni James, who is producing the show with Penny Marshall.

Sure to follow: Tiddlywinks action on ESPN2!

And of course, much to the chagrin of this hockey fan, I’m sure all these damnable shows will outdo the ratings for NHL games on OLN

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/02/2021 04:52:44 PM
Category: Other Sports, TV
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In the closest thing to a Public Service Announcement that I perform: All you WordPress-powered folks, remember to adjust your blog clocks in accordance with Daylight Saving Time.

As I said back in October:

- In your wp-admin backend, choose Options.

- Under the General Options tab, adjust your Date and Time settings to the appropriate variance from Greenwich Mean Time.

To move ahead an hour, I set my time at minus-4 hours from GMT; adjust yours accordingly.

And yes, there’s probably a plugin or script that will automate this for you. But then I’d have nothing to do on the first Sunday of April…

Also, note that the above instructions are valid for WP 1.5.x. I assume 2.0 follows the same path, but I don’t know for sure. I’m pretty sure you have to account for it in the newest version of WordPress anyway, because DST is a U.S. (and maybe other North American countries?) concern, and so wouldn’t be a default setting for software intended for worldwide utility.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/02/2021 12:27:16 PM
Category: Bloggin'
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