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China makes money, but needs to have more fun. China has been trying for 30 years to run a semi-free market economy without allowing for political freedom as well. The experiment has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but it's sad to note that they're still decidedly unfree in a political sense. Let's reiterate the point: Our show is about "making money and having fun" -- because that's what life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all about. Making money is a matter of making tomorrow materially better than today for yourself and your offspring. But the right to have fun means the individual has the right to criticize the government and to pursue those forms of entertainment and enlightenment that contribute to happiness -- even if the government doesn't approve. China has a long way to go before both rights are secure, and if those aren't secured, then China will almost certainly look different (geographically) in ten or twenty years than it does today. Breakup, secession, and outright dissolution of the state are all possibilities.
Dropping money from the sky. The Federal Reserve is now lending money at nearly 0% interest, but it's not a promotion for a credit card or new cars -- it's the official targeted rate of interest. That means money is being given away, for all intents and purposes. If you have a mortgage and a decent credit rating, now might be an outstanding time to check on refinancing options.
Opportunity. The low interest rate highlights that there's still abundant opportunity to do well, even if the news is full of panic and fear. Whether it's finding ways to economize on a mortgage, or finding great opportunities to buy more American businesses, or using today's low gas prices to force yourself to save a little more in a rainy-day fund, a time of mass panic is an outstanding time to keep your own wits about you. And, if for some reason or another, you're finding this period to be especially difficult, it's also an outstanding time to write yourself a letter full of all the "coulda, shoulda, woulda" items you're kicking yourself about right now. Then put it somewhere you'll remember to open and read it again when things turn around. Which they will. (This segment is included in our podcast highlight reel this week.)
As smart as we think? Coincidentally, the complete implosion of what appears to be a massive financial fraud tells us something useful, too: Lots of people who think they're smart might not be as smart as they think.
Saving lives via text message. Technology is pretty cool in its own right, but it's especially exciting when it can be used for magnificent purposes in unexpected ways -- like guiding doctors in remote locations through complicated techniques. And it just goes to show that the things that make profits can also be very good for society. Text messaging is a profitable outgrowth of the mobile phone industry.