AMC theater chain now belongs to a Chinese firm
AMC claims more than 300 theaters across the country, which were sold for $2.6 billion. The sale -- which happened in late May -- is a case study in the rather large asset transfer that we should expect to see continuing from the United States to those countries with whom we have large trade deficits (like China). There's only so long that others will accept payments on our national "credit card" before they have to start taking hard assets instead. Think of it as though we're now going to a global pawn broker -- since we're not content to live within our means, we're going to have to start selling some of our stuff in order to keep the bill collectors at bay. Though it should be noted that a footnote in the AMC story is perhaps even bigger than the rest of the news -- that DreamWorks SKG is in a partnership a Chinese state-owned media company. Not the kind of financial bedfellows with whom one should be eager to make company.
Personality makes the difference, even in an institution
A writer discussing how her daily commute is about to change -- rather dramatically -- recounts the things she's going to miss about the trip, and one of the things she'll miss most are the individuals working on the trains she rides who add a little bit of personality and color to the trip. This is probably just a little hint about why people prefer to work with some companies rather than others -- the more dry and institutional the outfit, the less attached customers will feel to it. Better to have a little bit of legitimate (some would say "authentic") personality than to become too bureaucratized and dull. (On a sidenote, the writer has been spending two hours a day going to and from work. Short commute times can make a huge difference to one's quality of life.