Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Human Animal, as Seen by Today's Times

From Joseph Nocera on how even Nobel-winning economists aren't rational investors:
Having watched the way investors have behaved since the Crash of ‘87, I’ve come to believe that most human beings are simply not hard-wired to be good investors.
On changes at Macy's (dropping coupons and upscaling lines):
But the changes amounted to “too much, too fast,” Mr. Lundgren acknowledged in an interview. It turns out that men, in particular, are creatures of shopping habit. They want to go to the local department store and find the Dockers where they have always been. [Duh]
From a front pager on what happens to small trusts when the original people are not around and big banks and law firms take over:

With no family members to encourage gifts to the original donor’s favorite causes, the banks and lawyers have wide latitude to change the way the trusts operate and to decide which charities will receive grants.

Banks can reduce gifts and increase the foundation’s assets, thus increasing their fees. At the same time, banks and lawyers stand to gain personal influence and prestige by selecting new charities.

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