Gongol.com Archives: October 2011
Brian Gongol

October 25, 2011

Business and Finance China's painfully high inflation rate
There's a lot of debate about whether it's being measured accurately. Regarless of what yardstick is being used, the rate of inflation is very high -- probably about 10% a year. That's enough to put the pinch of people's savings in a dramatic way.

Broadcasting Bad idea: Cutting the radio portion of the Voice of America
Someone's been fooled into believing that everything that's been done over the airwaves in the past can be done online today -- which utterly neglects the enormous power governments in repressive countries have to trace, track, and roadblock individuals' access to the Internet and the sites that the VOA and others use to spread their messages. This is the problem with people who are unfamiliar with technology becoming the ones who regulate its use.

News Vatican think-tank calls for world authority to police capitalism
Patently absurd

Business and Finance Online chat about Berkshire Hathaway
Someone commented that they thought the company might be broken up. There's absolutely zero chance of that happening. Berkshire is in a rare position of being able to self-finance virtually anything it wants, thanks to the dual structure. Self-financing means independence from the credit markets, which means being able to take advantage of great opportunities when companies are cheap and credit is tight (like in 2008). It would be a sign of the apocalypse if Berkshire were to split off the financial and operating companies into two. Berkshire is a unique conglomerate -- it's come together organically, as opposed to the way people tried to cram lots of pieces together to form conglomerates like ITT (which are now spinning themselves back into separate pieces). Berkshire's operations have come together based upon which companies were cheap -- not how they supposedly "synergized" with one another. When conglomerates like ITT break up, they're trying to "unlock shareholder value" -- whereas Buffett thinks the value in Berkshire comes not from synergy, but from having bought good companies at good prices.

Humor and Good News Welcome to the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein