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Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page May 25, 2012 No, You Can’t Spend Yourself Rich in the Real World

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page May 25, 2012

No, You Can’t Spend Yourself Rich in the Real World

by: Geoff Ficke

François Hollande and his and Mr. Swoboda’s suggested policies aren’t drivers of growth but of accelerating decline. Note the increasing numbers of the French producing class fleeing the country for England.

The economic template that would serve the EU well is on display in the center of the continent. Switzerland and Germany revere hard work, thrift, excellence in their products and not spending what they do not have. Even a former welfare queen like Sweden has reformed and unbridled its economy from the self-imposed shackles of socialist policies, and growth is accelerating there. The Swedes and Swiss were smart enough to stay out of the EU.

Mr. Swoboda is salivating for more of exactly what hasn’t worked and will never work. For almost 100 years varying styles of utopian socialist policies have been thrust on populations around the world. From Romania to Cuba to Zimbabwe they have only led to everyone, except the ruling class, being poor together.

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on The Buzz on Z Talk Radio on April 16th at 8:30 CT. Duquesa Marketing Founder and Expert to Discuss Best Jobs for the Future – Create Your Own!

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.DuquesaMarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on The Buzz on Z Talk Radio on April 16th at 8:30 CT

Duquesa Marketing Founder and Expert to Discuss Best Jobs for the Future – Create Your Own!

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager, announced today that her Branding and Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing has scheduled another in a series of national radio interviews for Company President and Founder Geoff Ficke.

“Geoff Ficke will appear on The Buzz with Hosts Scott Rorek and Zita Ost April 16th  at 8:30 am CT / 9:30 ET on Z Talk Radio (www.ztalkradio.com)”, said Mrs Ficke. “The discussion will be about the opportunity to take hold of your life and career options by exploring Entrepreneurial opportunities that people find around themselves in their hobbies, homes or jobs”.

“We work with hundreds of inventors, small and micro-businesses and entrepreneurs every year”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Business Development at Duquesa Marketing. “Many of these people carve out successful enterprises by capitalizing on things they experience in their environment. This is a topic that Geoff is passionate about and is always happy to share with an audience”.

Duquesa Marketing has assisted numerous individuals and enterprises start and expand Consumer Product opportunities over the past four decades. The award winning firm has vast experience in all Sales and distribution channels in the United States and internationally.

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page December 15, 2011, “A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism”

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page December 15, 2011

A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism

by Geoff Ficke

I read, then re-read with incredulity Al Gore’s, and his minions, treatise on a new, improved sustainable capitalism (WSJ, Dec 14, 2011 A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism). After considering the ponderous, plodding abstractions proferred by this well-know entrenched team of career politicians and professors I was struck by one missing piece of data omitted from this centrally planned theorem: They did not name or cite a single example of any enterprise that is successfully following their enlightened path to sustainable riches. Luddite that I am, I will continue to seek lessons from capitalism from those old dinosaurs Hayek, Friedman and Adam Smith.

The Most Under-Utilized Resource Entrepreneurs Neglect to Take Advantage of Is Local Universities

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

The Most Under-Utilized Resource Entrepreneurs Neglect to Take Advantage of Is Local Universities 

Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Artisans and Small Businesses are very often bereft of funds needed to secure professional help that would be beneficial in leveraging their projects to success. Lawyers, Engineers, Graphic Artists, Logistics Specialists, Packaging Designers, Web-site Masters, Marketing Consultants and many other qualified experts are much needed but difficult to afford for those starting a new enterprise. This is understandable but there are other sources for obtaining qualified help. 

We refer many under-funded prospective Entrepreneur’s to the nearest major University. Colleges are places of learning, often fully funded by taxpayers. There are many areas of study in each university’s core curriculum. Business schools, Design colleges, art programs, marketing majors, Engineering departments, etc. house a motivated, ambitious horde of students seeking to gain practical experience in their field of study. 

College Deans and Professors are often a wonderful source of inspiration when approached by small businesses and inventors seeking guidance. They will often assign a student, or team of students to assist on a project. Not only is this resume building experience invaluable for the undergraduate but it often leads to internships or post-graduate employment for those who successfully complete the assigned project. 

Many Universities have become very active in a commercialization process that they call “Technology Transfer”. When a school discovers a new technology, product or science that can be perfected in their facilities, they are being very aggressive in commercializing the process and attempting to create recurring income streams. We are currently involved with several major Universities in this type of product development and the concept is growing rapidly as colleges seek to leverage the invaluable resources that are housed in their intellectual property facilities. Technology Transfer can work for many more inventors. 

One of the fastest growing areas of study in Business Schools is Entrepreneurship. I have been a mentor, lecturer and Fellow at several colleges in this program. At some schools the course in Entrepreneurial Studies has become a capstone course, essential to complete before becoming eligible for receipt of a degree. These courses are often available as laboratories for inventors and small businesses wishing to perfect a Business Plan, create a Sales Model, customize a Marketing Strategy or design a Production Quality Prototype.   

These courses can be very useful. They are free for those willing to pursue the assets they can offer. Actually, most Professors love to match students with real world projects as opposed to an abstract fantasy project that the student designs on their own. 

On any number of occasions my Consumer Product Development and Marketing Consulting firm has mated entrepreneurial projects with students eager to obtain real world experience. We have done this with Gourmet Food (Nutrition Science), Footwear (Fashion Design), Skin Care and Aromatherapy (Marketing and Chemistry), DIY Product (Engineering), Packaging (Graphic Arts) and more. 

Obviously, it is preferable to utilize the most qualified, experienced talent available if it can be afforded. Students do not have an extensive body of work that can be tapped to quickly solve problems. However, what they lack in experience, they can make up for in energy and hunger. 

The job of a professional consultant or service provider is to save the client time, money and mistakes. If the client has limited monies available pursuit of assistance from a motivated student can provide a reasonable alternative. Many Small Business people often root for the local schools sports teams. It can be much more satisfying to use the college academic departments as part of your own team.

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on WDRC 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut Radio Show on December 21, 2011 at 11:20amET

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Duquesa Marketing, Inc.

www.duquesamarketing.com

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2011

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on WDRC 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut Radio Show on December 21, 2011 at 11:20amET

Duquesa Marketing Founder and Expert to Discuss How to Create Entrepreneurial Opportunities During a Tough Economy 

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager, announced today that her Branding and Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing has scheduled another in a series of national radio interviews for Company President and Founder Geoff Ficke. 

“Geoff Ficke will appear on WDRC Mary Jones Show 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut radio show with Host Mary Jones December 21st at 11:20am eastern time”, said Mrs Ficke. “The discussion will be about the opportunity to take hold of your life and career options by exploring Entrepreneurial opportunities that people find around themselves in their hobbies, homes or jobs”. 

“We work with hundreds of inventors, small and micro-businesses and entrepreneurs every year”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Business Development at Duquesa Marketing. “Many of these people carve out successful enterprises by capitalizing on things they experience in their environment. This is a topic that Geoff is passionate about and is always happy to share with an audience”. 

Duquesa Marketing has assisted numerous individuals and enterprises start and expand Consumer Product opportunities over the past four decades. The award winning firm has vast experience in all Sales and distribution channels in the United States and internationally.

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on KWYR 1260 AM Radio Show on December 1, 2011 at 3:30 CT

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Duquesa Marketing, Inc.

www.duquesamarketing.com

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

December 1, 2011

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on KWYR 1260 AM Radio Show on December 1, 2011 at 3:30 CT 

Duquesa Marketing Founder and Expert to Discuss How to Create Entrepreneurial Opportunities During a Tough Economy 

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager, announced today that her Branding and Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing has scheduled another in a series of national radio interviews for Company President and Founder Geoff Ficke. 

“Geoff Ficke will appear on KWYR Focus 1260 AM radio show with Host Marsha Raye December 1st at 3:30pm Central time”, said Mrs Ficke. “The discussion will be about the opportunity to take hold of your life and career options by exploring Entrepreneurial opportunities that people find around themselves in their hobbies, homes or jobs”. 

“We work with hundreds of inventors, small and micro-businesses and entrepreneurs every year”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Business Development at Duquesa Marketing. “Many of these people carve out successful enterprises by capitalizing on things they experience in their environment. This is a topic that Geoff is passionate about and is always happy to share with an audience”. 

Duquesa Marketing has assisted numerous individuals and enterprises start and expand Consumer Product opportunities over the past four decades. The award winning firm has vast experience in all Sales and distribution channels in the United States and internationally.

WSJ Opinion Page October 14, 2011 “Profits First Enable All The Giving Back”

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Profits First Enable All The Giving Back

by: Geoff Ficke

Andy Kessler’s excellent column (How Wilson Greatbatch ‘Gave Back”, WSJ Sept. 30) does a splendid job of countering the Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, and the left in general, argument that success is a collaborative effort and giving back is a moral imperative. The very idea that the existence of public schools, highways, public transport and government programs produce prosperity is the equivalent of placing the caboose at the front of the train.
 
Adam Smith,  considered the godfather of free markets and liberty, wrote the classic Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759 which memorialized the concept of “the Invisible Hand”, the cornerstone of our modern capitalist system. This was followed in in 1776 by the more famous Wealth of Nations. These books, and the theories espoused by Mr. Smith greatly influenced the Founding Fathers, particularly Alexander Hamilton. They represent the foundation of the economic system which has produced the greatest prosperity the world has ever experienced, based on self-interest and a profit motive.
 
Not until  the mid-19th century did Horace Mann begin his quest for a public school system. All colleges of the time were private or religious institutions. There was no national highway system, Pell Grants, HUD, AMTRAK or large public works. The growth of government at all levels has occured as a result of the success of individuals creating opportunities that generate profits first.
 
Every teacher, politician, bureaucrat or Harvard professor owes their professional existence to entrepreneurs who generate the profits that produce tax revenue. Not the other way around.

The Peltzman Effect Can Be Applied to Risky Economic Behavior

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

by: Geoff Ficke

Scott Peltzman, an Economics Professor at the University of Chicago, has gained public notoriety for his “Peltzman Effect”. Professor Peltzman believes the benefits of well-intended safety regulations are negated because people adjust behavior in ways that counteract the intended effect of the regulation. They may drive more recklessly, or speed because they feel more protected by seat belts, guard rails, traffic lights, etc. The result may be that risk is redistributed to innocent bystanders.

We live in an ever more risk intolerant world. Government at all levels regularly passes statutes, ordinances and laws to protect citizens. They are always well-intended but often counter-productive. I believe that the Peltzman Effect is as intuitive in economics as it is in the area of government regulation.

We have just experienced the melt down of the United States automobile industry. The causes of this implosion were many and have percolated for decades. However, two of the main reasons are government meddling and the irrationality of the auto workers unions.

The government has legislated dozens of arbitrary safety, environmental and economy measures that car manufacturers have had to respond to. The result, while sometimes desirable, has not always resulted in the production of products that consumers wanted to purchase. Anyone remember the Cadillac Cimarron, or the Chrysler K-Car. This has distorted economic realities and keystone market principals.

The United Auto Workers union has enjoyed a particularly spectacular period of derision, suspension of economic reality and tone deafness rarely displayed in the Industrial Age. Mind numbing work rules and job classifications, paying workers to sit idle (Jobs Banks), work slowdowns and strikes and hostility to change doomed the auto companies, even while foreign makers were building and selling cars successfully right here in the United States.

This week the venerable motorcycle brand, the iconic American product, Harley Davidson, announced that it will leave its home for over 107 years, Milwaukee, if work rules and costs are not brought down by the unions. The Company’s management requested these adjustments in April. They have fallen on deaf ears.

This is a Peltzman Effect type of occurrence in economics. Workers demand, and often receive terms of employment that enhance their security and compensation in the short term. All the while they are roiling their industry and laying the seeds of their own destruction in the mid or longer term.

Harley Davidson has options. States and locales are falling all over themselves trying to lure the Company with tax abatements. How many options does a line worker for Harley really have? Also, consider the suppliers in Greater Milwaukee that feed the production chain at Harley. Their workers are at risk because of the great motorcycle maker relocates. The tax base will shrink. The risk to innocent bystanders is redistributed because of the reckless actions of others.

The Peltzman Effect and its application in business and industry can be seen in case after case. The following once thriving industries and job categories have been largely decapitated in the United States: production of shoes and garments, glaziers, ship building, stevedores, small electrics, sporting goods, toys, steel and autos have been decimated by well-intentioned governments and union contracts.

Capital deploys where it can be most productive. It is fungible. There are no longer barriers to the swift, sure movement of money to any place on earth.
It is time that government and labor realize the realities of this new world and respond with contemporary, creative new proposals to remain competitive in the face of global competition. As Professor Peltzman demonstrates in his theorem, no matter how well intended the regulation or contract, there can be a significant chance of unintended consequences that harm innocent bystanders.

The Lesson of “I, Pencil” An Essay on Economic Freedom for the Ages

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

by: Geoff Ficke

As a young college student studying economics in the 1960’s I was exposed to the writings and philosophy of Leonard Read while researching a paper on Adam Smith’s enlightened principle of the “Invisible Hand”. Mr. Read had founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in 1948. As I conducted my sophomore research I noted that the thoughts and articles of Leonard Read were inevitably intertwined with the ideas of the capitalist pioneer Mr. Smith.

At that time I stumbled upon an essay that Mr. Read had first published in 1958. The title of the piece was “I, Pencil”. It was so stunningly logical and powerful in its suppositions that I made an unusual decision for an impoverished student of that time, I had the article copied and I have saved it to this very day. Reading the essay for the first time was moving, and more than four decades later I still receive the same jolt of excitement each time I re-read Mr. Read’s short tutorial on the creation of a simple lead pencil and all of the participants who willingly, and unwittingly, participate in the production of the humble implement.

Any student of the origins of capitalist thought, as presented by Adam Smith know that the “Invisible Hand” is the genesis of free market activity. People, acting alone, or collectively, make decisions to produce goods or services that serve their best personal interest. The fact that others may benefit from this productivity is not the primary reason to undertake such activity. Capitalists seek to make a profit from their endeavors, and in so doing, others may benefit. Leonard Read was profoundly an acolyte of Smith, and other great free market thinkers like Frederick Hayek. He believed that free men, working in pursuit of their own best interest would provide more benefit to society that centrally planned economic strategies.

Free men, working in a system that honors private property rights, rule of law, and maximum amounts of individual freedom will always produce a quality of life superior to any that can be generated from leaden socialist states.

“I, Pencil”, is a vivid, enthralling road trip that simply and clearly details all of the people, managers, workers, components, geographic locales, shipping routes, factories, science, mining, technology, investment, heavy equipment, harvests, and more required to assemble one basic, every day lead pencil. All of this enormous activity is undertaken on a worldwide stage without the participants knowing, and for the most part caring, what the end result of their labors will go to produce. This is an elemental example of Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”, but one that must be continually taught and re-learned.

Every elementary school student should be exposed to the wonderful story, the clarity of thought, and the life’s lesson that is contained in the few paragraphs of “I, Pencil”. For century’s do-gooders, social planners, utopians and nihilists have presumed that they can, through centrally planned state enterprises, prescribe a path to a fairer, more perfect distribution of wealth. It has never been accomplished, nor will it ever be.

The inability to pick winners and losers, gather all of the knowledge necessary to administer programs from distant power centers and thwarting by decree the human desire to be free and work in self-interest precludes socialism from ever succeeding. Many years ago I was working in Germany and had the chance to visit Communist East Berlin. A wall had to be erected to keep the East Berliners “IN”! The simple crossing at Checkpoint Charlie was a shock. The western side of the wall was vibrant, bustling, joyful, and free. The journey over the border into East Germany was to a primitive land by comparison. People walked with heads down, drawn faces, gaunt. There was no public life. Stores were empty. The ubiquitous little two-cylinder Trabant cars, whining and belching smoke stood in stark contrast to the BMW’s, Porsche’s and Mercedes Benz’s so common on the streets of West Berlin.

A simple wall. On one side was a capitalist free state. On the other was an oppressive socialist militarist gulag. Peering into each society would make any honest, rational, fair minded observer clearly recognize that free men are happier, more productive and more beneficial to society as a whole that a citizenry cowering under the weight of a bureaucracy ruled by dint of military force, secret police presence and ideological absolutism.

Today is the perfect day to re-study Milton Freidman, Frederick Hayek, Adam Smith, the Founding Fathers, and read Leonard Read’s, “I, Pencil”. Today, a significant number of us do not revere and protect the principals of freedom that so many have fought and died for. The opportunities that each of us enjoy are being wrenched away by a well-meaning, but completely wrongheaded group of central planners who are not willing to study and learn the lessons of history.

Our Demise is Greatly Overstated The United States’ Future is Incandescent

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

by: Geoff Ficke

As we slog along under the full weight of the current financial calamity, there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth about the future of the United States. Many of our countries fiercest enemies and critics are gloating over their perception that our wave has crested and we have entered a period of steep decline as an economic, military and cultural power. Amongst the citizenry, there is a palpable sense that the country is on the wrong track. In reality this has ever been so.

The 19th century Canadian politician Wilfrid Laurier once famously spouted, “the 19th century was the century of the United States. I think we can claim that it is Canada that shall fill the 20th century”. Oh really! Now I love Canada and Canadians. They produce wonderful comedians like Jim Carrey, John Candy and Rick Moranis, great hockey players, the moose hunting is amazing and Labatt’s is a terrific brew. The Canadians prospered nicely in the 20th century, but by any measure Mr. Laurier’s observation was classic balderdash. He is but one of a long chorus of critics that prematurely dismissed American prospects to their regret and embarrassment.

The current President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev has blamed the United States solely for the global financial crisis, assigned blame for Russia’s thuggish unilateral military invasion of tiny Georgia on American policy and stated that America would descend to second tier status as a global power. This from the leader of a country with a declining population, staggering levels of alcoholism and drug abuse, clepto-capitalism, a military hobbled by desertion and archaic weapons systems, declining productivity and a complete lack of innovation. How bright is the future of the average Russian eking out a living in Vladisvostock?

There are always doubters and cheerleaders fueling the notion that America is in decline. The Soviet and Eastern European Communists, for 70 years predicted they would overcome us. Nikita Kruschev famously shouted at the United Nations, “we will bury you”. Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda believed that we would never stand and fight; shedding blood and treasure, just to preserve our freedoms. Hussein is dead and Bin Laden is hiding in a cave as a result of their misjudgments and fundamental misunderstandings of our resolve.

American uber-leftists like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky travel the world trashing the United States. The capitalist system that has enabled the country to prosper and made the Moore’s and Chomsky’s rich, is continually denigrated and blamed for every perceived malady we face. Capitalism is not perfect. It simply is the greatest engine for economic prosperity ever yet developed.

Why will America emerge from our current difficulties with a brighter, stronger future outlook than so many of our critic’s project? Simply put, America has the ability to adapt and re-invent itself like no other country or culture in history. We are more receptive to immigrants than almost any other country and they constantly infuse the land with energy, creativity and continually stir the stew that makes the United States so unique. Our society is the most fluid in the history of the world. New ideas are always emerging. America’s unique vitality separates us from most other countries that have static state centered economies.

There is no place on earth, at any time in history, where entrepreneurial activity is so valued and pursued as in America. This constant blast of creativity bears fruit in so many beneficial ways. Through hard work, novelty and inventiveness, utilizing the capitalistic economy, rule of law and property rights, entrepreneurs have the potential to build enterprises that provide products and services, profits, employment and social benefits that make America uniquely dynamic. Times are tough, but the will to succeed is irrepressible.

Another reason the future for America is so bright in my estimation is our ability to laugh at ourselves. This country has many sourpuss types, doomsayers, negativists and self-haters. However, these “nattering nabobs of negativism” are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Americans that revere the country, appreciate her innate precious goodness and have the ability to laugh at our collective foibles and faults. This is a trait of which we can, and should be proud. It is a trait that is found almost nowhere else in the world.

We have survived wars, depressions, natural disasters, and terrorism. The fiscal difficulties we currently confront are in large part self-inflicted. We have not been diligent in demanding that our government act prudently over the last 75 years. We spend too much and save too little. We want much more than we need. We confuse greed and envy with comfort and safety.

The country also just elected a black man, a minority, to be President of the United States. This could only happen in America. Could a North African rise to such heights in France? Could a Turkish immigrant achieve the equivalent office in Germany? Could a Filipino laborer rise to these heights in the Middle East? Of course not! This country, its values and opportunities, is the beacon of hope that ordinary people all over the world aspire to emulate.

This is a wonderful time for each of us as citizens to take stock of our personal and societal situations and adjust to a reality that is based on real needs, not the irrational pursuit of materialism. We must demand that politicians stop bribing us for our votes with promises of benefits that some future generation will be saddled with paying for. This is the best possible time for Americans to reflect, adjust and re-energize this wonderfully dynamic country.