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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- November 25, 2012

Are Black Friday Riots A Preview Of The Civil Unrest That Is Coming When Society Breaks Down? - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael - November 23rd, 2012 -  If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake?  Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away.  For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there was rampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food.  Sadly, "Black Friday" also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity.  This year was no exception.  Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods.  And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior.  Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods.  But is this kind of "me first" mentality really something that we want to foster as a society?  If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families?  Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?                       Once upon a time, Thanksgiving was not really a commercial holiday.  It was a time to get together with family and friends, eat turkey and express thanks for the blessings that we have been given.                    But in recent years Black Friday has started to become even a bigger event than Thanksgiving itself.                   Millions of Americans have become convinced that it is fun to wait in long lines outside retail stores in freezing cold weather in the middle of the night to spend money that they do not have on things that they do not need.                    And of course very, very few "Black Friday deals" are actually made in America.  So these frenzied shoppers are actually killing American jobs and destroying the U.S. economy as well.                      The absurdity of Black Friday was summed up very well recently in a statement that has already been retweeted on Twitter more than 1,000 times...               "Black Friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have."                    It has gotten to the point where it is now expected that there will be mini-riots all over the country early on Black Friday morning each year.  The following are a few examples of the craziness that we saw this year...            -"Fights break out when stores open on Black Friday"

Shipping Containers to Become Condos in Detroit - ABC News - Karin Halperin - November 23, 2012 - The first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year.                    Strong, durable and portable, shipping containers stack easily and link together like Legos. About 25 million of these 20-by-40 feet multicolored boxes move through U.S. container ports a year, hauling children's toys, flat-screen TVs, computers, car parts, sneakers and sweaters.                     But so much travel takes its toll, and eventually the containers wear out and are retired. That's when architects and designers, especially those with a "green" bent, step in to turn these cast-off boxes into student housing in Amsterdam, artists' studios, emergency shelters, health clinics, office buildings.                      Despite an oft-reported glut of unused cargo containers lying idle around U.S. ports and ship yards - estimates have ranged from 700,000 to 2 million - the Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes Association puts the number closer to 12,000, including what's sold on Craigslist and eBay.                 Joel Egan, co-founder of HyBrid Architecture in Seattle, which has built cottages and office buildings from shipping containers for close to a decade and coined the term " cargotecture" to describe this method of construction, warns that although containers can be bought for as little as $2,500, they shouldn't be seen as a low-cost housing solution.                    "Ninety-five percent of the cost still remains," he says.                        Here's a few recent North American projects - including the new condo complex - where the shipping container takes center stage:

Asheville's Craggie Brewing closing Dec. 1 - Asheville Citizen Times - John Coutlakis - November 19, 2012 - The rough economy is claiming one of Asheville’s popular craft breweries. Craggie Brewing will close on Dec. 1, owner Bill Drew has announced.                Craggie, which opened in 2009, was unable to reach profitablity, Drew said in a statement. The space at 197 Hilliard Ave. may be reborn as a brewery, Drew said.                 “Negotiations are currently being made for a new brewery to take over the space,” which would employee two of Craggie’s workers, he said.

Craggie becomes the first Asheville brewery to fail in what has become a very competitive scene for making craft beer here. With its closing, Asheville and Buncombe County will temporarily drop to nine breweries. The new Wicked Weed brewery and restaurant on Biltmore Avenue is set to open on Dec. 21.                 Meanwhile, work continues on the new Oskar Blues east coast brewery in Brevard, Sierra Nevada’s brewery in Mills River and New Belgium’s expansion in Asheville, which together will bring hundreds of brewery jobs to Western North Carolina.

Jim Rogers - The Bubble

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