How To Be a Vendor At an Outdoor Farmers Market: A Checklist- What’s Needed to Set Up a Successful All-Weather Stand

Farmers markets are mushrooming nationwide, in the tiniest hamlets, large cities and everywhere in between. And shoppers are patronizing them in droves. Before venturing into this fascinating business, gather these stock-in-trade tools, items and equipment.

Find The Right Vehicle

First, calculate how big a car, van or truck will be needed to fit the major space robbers: merchandise, a canopy tent, and tables and signs. Many cars are big enough to haul light compact items like jewelry and trinkets. Flowers, produce and baked goods are bulkier and/or heavy, and may require a minivan, SUV, pickup, panel or even straight truck.

Tent and tables can be lashed to a roof- or trunktop rack–think Thule. Never overload the vehicle: check the weight limit usually located on a sticker on the driver’s door. Think twice before pulling a trailer: some markets have tight quarters and clearances.

Find A Solid Canopy, Gazebo or Shelter Tent

Permanent vending pavilions with roofs are a luxury dedicated farmers marketeers can’t always rely on. Plan to sell under a tent. Don’t skimp here. If it’s so lightweight a child can easily lift it, don’t buy it. A strong blast of wind will destroy a cheap tent in seconds. Look for a one-person-setup popup model with a 10′ L x 10′ W footprint and a 6.5′ H (minimum) opening, with strong tubular metal legs. Vents in the canopy fabric’s peak are a great feature: they help dissipate summer heat and gale-force winds.

Sidewall curtains are an optional two-edge sword: they shield sunlight and prevent wind and driving rain from damaging merchandise, but they can turn the entire tent into an airborne missile in high wind conditions. Expect to pay at least $200 for a durable shelter.

Display Tables for Farmers Markets

Basic folding steel leg plastic top market tables, available at home improvement stores, are 4′ to 8′ long x 30″ W and about 30″ H. Most come in straight and space-saving fold-in-half versions. Smaller card tables are an option when merchandise weight is not an issue.

Quick-setup tables are convenient, but inexpensive models can collapse under a load of watermelons or several pecks of peaches. They’re real cargo space hogs, and often don’t fit neatly in trunk or hatchback.

A strong, compact, versatile DIY alternative: make a 10′ L x 3′ W take-apart table from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 1/2″ plywood. Layout and cut the panel in this pattern: four 4′ x 3′ main sections; and two 1′ x 3 end pieces. assemble all six sections on 2 x 2s or 2 x 4s horizontally spanning three saw-horses, which can be pricey and somewhat bulky foldups or cheap compact homemade units using 2x4s and metal brackets with teeth that bite into crosspieces. This table’s many small components can be stuffed in a vehicle’s nooks and crannies.

Must-Have Farmers Market Tools, Supplies and Odds and Ends

Outdoor markets are as unpredictable as the weather and the people who patronize them. Prepare for the unexpected. Never leave home without:

Signs

–for products and prices. These can be simple or ornate, large or small, hanging or standup. Hint: protect, seal or laminate them or they’ll be ruined the first time it rains.

Tent stakes and/or weights

–stake tents that are set up on grass using strong ropes connected to dog tie-up screws, not drive-in stakes that may fail on a windy day. Tents resting on pavement sometimes can be secured to adjacent vehicles, buildings and poles, but they usually require hold-down dead weights, such as water-filled vessels, hunks of steel or cinder blocks. Some venues have strict rules on securing tents, so check with the market master.

Tools

–a basic tool set (hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wire cutter, scissors, wrench, box cutter, etc.); a tarp large enough to cover merchandise in a downpour, along with dry towels, a fresh change of clothes and alternate apparel when the weather suddenly turns ugly; a roll of duct tape; at least a a dozen assorted spring loaded metal clips and clothes pins to hang and secure items as needed; extra rope; a foldup chair; umbrella; lunch and drinks

Miscellaneous Items

–a cash box and a starting “bank” of at least $75 in ones and fives, and rolls of coins; table cloths; rubber bands; necessary licenses, permits and proof of insurance to satisfy any inspector, who will show up at the most inconvenient times; at least one hundred shopping bags, paper or plastic; a dozen assorted bungee cords; trash receptacle; counterfeit bill detector pen; business cards, pamphlets and brochures; and a portable wireless credit card point-of-sale scanner at markets where cash isn’t king.

The Most Important (and Priceless) Thing To Bring To a Farmers or Flea Market

A great attitude! Unlike many “ordinary” retail venues, open air markets are real people places, where banter, kidding, joking and repartee are part of the experience. Customers want to be schmoozed, cajoled, informed and treated to a respectful “Lady! Lady! Look what I got!” sales spiel. Vendors who work hard to engage customers thrive. Those who take an over-relaxed attitude may not do so well.

Tips for Copywriters: How to Write Copy That Sells

Writing copy for advertising material is a skill that can be mastered through practise. By applying these guidelines, one can learn how to write copy that sells a client’s products.

How to Create an Advertising Strategy

From producing long copy ads to crafting punchy headlines, copywriters are responsible for a brand’s language. Before launching into writing copy, any copywriter first needs to understand the advertising strategy.

An ad consists of two parts: the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. The ‘what’ is the strategy – the plan, the ad’s big idea or concept, its selling argument; the ‘how’ is the execution of that strategy – the particular form it takes: the images, language, layout and media placement (radio, print, television, etc.). To develop a strong strategy, copywriters need to understand three elements: the product, the consumer, and the marketplace.

  • The product: What exactly is the client selling?
  • The consumer: Who is the client selling to?

The marketplace: How does the client’s product (and its advertising) fit into the array around it?

In George Felton’s Advertising: Concept and Copy¬ – 2nd ed.(NY: W.W. Norton & Company) he writes, “Your goal is to understand the parts of the advertising scenario so well that you see how they all fit together – to know enough to write an ad that works, that talks to real people about real needs.” Thus writing copy for ads does not happen in a vacuum, but many elements, as mentioned above, should be considered.

How to Write Slogans

Slogans are also called taglines, theme lines or payoff lines. Many brands use these lines effectively as a means to create brand recall and recognition in the consumer’s mind. When applied correctly, slogans can contribute to a brand’s identification and increase awareness. Slogans are meant to be short, simple, to the point and easily recognisable. Here are some guidelines to help copywriters to think up slogans:

Elevate the product: Look for the product’s greatest benefit, emphasise it.

Differentiate from the competition.

Don’t sell features, but benefits: It’s not about what the product offers, but how those features can be turned into real benefits for the consumer.

Find the human truth: Say what people are thinking. Through tapping into the consumer’s mind, copywriters can make the advertising communication more real.

Try parallelism and opposition: By placing ideas or notions against or next to each other, copywriters can highlight the product’s benefit.

Tweak, twist, or add a cliché: Play around with well-known phrases, twist them and see what happens.

Use metaphor.

Play tricks with type and punctuation: If it works for the brand, bring in punctuation that adds more meaning to the message.

Don’t be clever, be clear: The most successful slogans are those that stick to one message and are to the point.

Keep it short, simple: Effective slogans are the ones that are short and crisp.

Above all, solve the problem: Slogans need to solve advertising problems and should say what is most needed.

Ten Tips for Writing More Effective Copy

  • Use the following tick list when writing copy for ads:
  • Don’t use fancy words.
  • Omit adjectives and adverbs.
  • Describe the benefit of the product, not the feature.
  • Write like the consumer speaks.
  • Keep copy focused on one main idea.
  • Focus on one, clear Unique Selling Point (USP) of the brand.
  • Try to find words that stick, like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.
  • Check spelling. There is no excuse for a copywriter to make spelling mistakes
  • Test consumer’s reactions to the copy, adjust if necessary.

Craft copy again and again, until it’s just right.

Starting a Home-Based Business

Starting a home based business sounds a little overwhelming. Any business requires hard work to become a success, but to really succeed at business you have to start with one essential ingredient. To start a home based business, you have to first have a great idea.

Inspiration for great business ideas can come in many forms. When a great idea has struck, and you feel confident that your plans will succeed, it’s time to think about turning that idea into your reality.

It’s time to think about starting a home based business. Working from home sounds like a dream come true, but starting a business is a lot of hard work and effort. Long hours in front of the computer and on the phone, careful planning and budgeting, and tons of advertising have to go into any business – but especially a home based business startup.

Budgeting is very important. Before you start a business, think seriously about what it’s going to cost you. How will you cover these costs? How will you generate income for yourself? All these things must go into consideration before you start a home based business, or any kind of business venture.

However, your finances are only half the battle when it comes to starting a home based business. Advertising is extremely important. Accessibility is also a key factor. You want potential customers to find your business easily, and you want information to be available to them at all times. In today’s world, it’s almost impossible for any business to survive without a web site.

The web site is essential for brining in new customers and new business. It allows customers to find out about your business and to contact you twenty four hours a day. Creating a web site doesn’t have to be difficult, and you can even use the site to generate a little extra income for yourself.

An Alternative to Starting Your Own Business

If you’ve got your mind set on owning your own business but you’re not too thrilled by the idea of setting one up from scratch, then perhaps you should consider buying an existing business.

Buyout entrepreneurs, as people who buy businesses are commonly called, find that big returns can come from the growth and revitalisation of existing businesses. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. A lot of hard work and planning goes into sustaining and improving the existing business before the new owner can reap rewards.

The advantages of buying an existing business

The main advantage you get from buying a business rather than creating a start-up venture is the reduction of risks involved. With a start-up, there’s a great deal of uncertainty, such as whether the business will break even in less than a year, whether it will be able to penetrate the market in the first place, whether competitors will “kill” you before you’ve even got a chance to find your balance.

When you purchase an existing business, you already know its reputation, its clientele, its strengths and weaknesses. You know what the cash flow is like, you know who the suppliers are, you know what kind of equipment is appropriate for the efficient running of the business.

Usually the infrastructure and management remains unchanged, so as to minimise disruption to operations – that’s another benefit too.

It takes time to find the right business

But don’t expect to be able to scan the newspapers and spot a potentially successful business for sale right away. It may take months, even a year to locate just the right business that matches your interests and industry experience.

When looking for a business to buy, don’t immediately write off those that aren’t making money. It may just be a matter of poor management. A wise entrepreneur will be able to scout out businesses that should be making a profit in no time, simply by implementing a better management process.

Some changes may be in order, such as upgrading the infrastructure or getting rid of weak links. A strong sales force and distribution system is vital to help your business achieve positive growth. The adoption of new technology can also help you increase efficiency and productivity while reducing costs.

As with any business, customers are the keys to success. It takes a substantial amount of time and effort to build up a good customer base, and if the business you’re eyeing already has this, then your job is made that much easier. But you have to ensure that the change in management does not result in customer migration.

A lot of small enterprises rely on customers that feel comfortable doing business with them. Drastic changes implemented may leave the customers feeling like they’ve lost a good friend and consequently taking their business elsewhere. Work on retaining these existing customers before focusing on finding new ones.

Of course, some businesses are just not worth buying. These include enterprises with little or no market potential, excessive competition or cost disadvantages. You’ll need to spend some time researching the backgrounds of these businesses before committing yourself.

Location, location, location

Location is another key consideration. I’m sure you’ve come across a particular site in your neighbourhood with an incredibly high turnover of businesses. You know, that one shop lot that somehow or other is always changing hands. Bad feng shui, some will say. Whatever the reason for the failures, you should avoid such a location.

When considering location, make sure it’s somewhere convenient both to you and your target customers. Also check the traffic in the area – good traffic flow can really help your business grow.

How to Sell on eBay for the Beginning Seller: Start Selling on eBay – Tips for Beginners

How to Sell on eBay for the Beginning Seller: Start Selling on eBay – Tips for Beginners

New to eBay? Start learning how to sell on eBay by reading these easy tips. A beginning seller who follows these simple rules will have a better chance at running a successful eBay business.

Selling on eBay is Not Like a Garage Sale: How to Title eBay Auction Listings

eBay buyers don’t find items based on how they look, or how good quality they are, but by how many desirable keywords are associated with them. This makes it a bad site for selling handicrafts, unless the name or brand of the artist is well-known, but a good site for selling brand-name objects such as electronics, vintage goods, and fashion clothing.

When selecting items to sell on eBay, choose items that can be offered with a brand name or hot keyword. An addendum to this: never put up fake keywords – never fill an eBay ad with decoys like “Store-brand sneakers, just like Nike.” Ads like this will frustrate buyers who are looking for real Nikes, buyers who will not buy the no-brand shoes – or who might buy by accident and then leave a negative feedback. Also, they’re not allowed on eBay, and the management may take them down or even ban the account of a seller who tries these kinds of devious tricks.

Buyers don’t look with their eyes, but with the search engine. Bad titles for eBay auction listings might be phrases like, “Lots of new shirts for men and women”, or “A great science fiction movie.”

A better way to post the same auction listings would be to split the men’s and women’s shirts into, for example, “Five GUESS Women’s Shirts, XL, NEW” and a similar listing for the men’s, and to post the title, year and actors of the science fiction movie and what kind of recording it is: “ALIEN, 1979, Sigourney Weaver, new DVD.”

Refining Keywords and Setting Prices to Improve eBay Sales

What buyers do want is accuracy and the ability to find the items they love. Brand name, model name, model number and condition are all often among search keywords. Do some searches on the site to find similar items for sale; see what their prices and keywords look like.

For example, “Canon Camera” is vague, but “4.0 Megapixel Canon Powershot A430 4X Optical Zoom” is a listing title that will come up in searches from people who want this particular camera. If it’s new, posting “NEW” in the title will also affect results. Never post used items as new; that’s a way to get negative feedback, which will drive down sales.

Using capital letters to emphasize some of the words in the title can get eBay auctions noticed, but descriptions should be detailed, clear and in normal writing.

If there are others with the same item, look and see whether their auctions have any bids! Some sellers make the mistake of pricing items too high to sell. Set a price that is reasonable based on the Internet market value. Used goods won’t usually sell at the new price. Make sure the item will stand out to potential buyers.

Post Clear Pictures of All Items

On the topic of cameras, a good camera and photo lights are very important for eBay sellers to have. Badly taken or unclear photos will lose sales for even the best auction listings. When the item is a new book or movie, manufacturer photos are sometimes available. Otherwise, take a steady picture in bright light, and clean up background noise without altering the appearance of the item.

How Important is Feedback on eBay?

Feedback is very important, especially to the small seller. Ratings will show up as percentages, which means that small sellers will need every feedback to be positive in order to keep business up.

As such, make sure all listings are honest. If the item comes from a home with smoking indoors or pet damage, this needs to be said up front. Sell non-working electronics for parts only. Never list an item under the name of a similar item, and always mention every important detail.

How to Write the ‘What Could Go Wrong?’ Section in a Business Plan

A potential entrepreneur is facing a banker or group of investors who might fund his idea. He has just presented his best pitch to secure the funds he needs. Then, they ask the obvious question, “Sounds good, but…what could go wrong in your plan?” Unless he has a well thought out answer to this question, an embarrassing silence may be his initial response.

The point that needs to be made is that the plan might be stellar and the business should, in all probability, deliver terrific returns, but Murphy’s Law is always in play. Not anticipating those potential problems and providing solutions, sends a signal to the investors that the prospective business person may be unprepared. Therefore, he must raises those issues before the investors do and realistically provide cogent solutions to anticipate and stifle any doubts.

Why Bring up Problems to an Investor?

The answer is quite obvious. If the entrepreneur doesn’t bring up potential problems, most certainly the investors will. And if they don’t, they will most certainly be thinking about them. To place this in perspective, investors are interested in three things:

Not losing their Investment

The hope that their investment in this opportunity will earn high returns

Being assured that the management team is honest, very competent and can handle any unforeseen (and unpleasant) situations.

How and Where to Present these Issues in a Business Plan

There should be a section near the end of the business plan which could be entitled, “Potential Issues and Solutions Affecting the Business Model.” In this section, one must present all of the potential problems that might arise adversely affecting returns or the viability of the business model itself. This must be realistic and is obviously a serious to any investor. Anticipating potential problems in a sober, business like manner signals to the investor(s) that such issues have been anticipated and addressed.

Obviously, someone that is seeking funding shouldn’t go over board and present every scenario, including those that are relatively unlikely to happen, that might damage the business. Obviously this is counterproductive. Further the proposed business should have some key competitive advantage over competition. Keep in mind, one should present reasonable issues and solutions. After all, prior to deciding to enter this business opportunity, the business person should have evaluated the business in light of problems and business conditions that might arise.

Typical Issues that Might Affect Corporate Profitability and Demand

The following are a few areas that might generally apply:

  1. Changes in economic conditions negatively effecting product demand or the market in general
  2. Changes in government regulations/laws or local ordinances or the income tax code
  3. Technological advancements adversely affecting the demand for the product
  4. Safety issues regarding the product’s materials or its use
  5. Newer, better marketing strategies: use of Twitter, Google, blogs, website
  6. Material cost increases,e.g. import materials cost, foreign regulations, etc

While a few more issues can be added to the list, this approach should address the demand for the product, realistic gross margins that can withstand the onslaught of changes within the market or safety regulations and anything else that can be realistically added. Check with the SBA for more information and resources.

Playing Devil’s Advocate

Obviously, the approach is to explain any adverse situation in a way that is even handed and realistic. Simply put, the business owner anticipates and obviates such roadblocks in a legitimate manner and deflates some of the negative emotion associated with the potential loss that an investor anticipates. This does not mean that the case against the potential funding of the entrepreneur’s business is so strong that he has has lobbied himself out of the opportunity. Rather, this approach means that the business person has prudently assessed the situation and has realistic approaches to counteract problems, if the situation in the business deteriorates

Prevent Fraud on Your Yahoo Store

Yahoo stores are becoming more and more popular with entrepreneurs wanting to expand their businesses online. Yahoo stores offer safe and private transactions with minimal risk to the customers and business owners. Although the risk is low there are still crimes being committed on the internet. The leading internet crime in America is identity theft and many Americans have fallen victim to internet hackers stealing their credit card numbers and social security numbers to rack up fraudulent charges unfortunately banks will not protect you against internet fraud because of the MOTO Rule. The MOTO Rule states that all website owners are responsible and 100% liable for fraudulent charges to a credit card. When starting up your online business you need to be fully prepared to research each sale to assure that your company is not being scammed. Here are some tips to remember when processing your orders to properly spot a scam artist.

Request two numbers from the customer to have a primary and back up number to call in case of any questions. If the order seems a little suspicious you can always call the customer to verify their information. If you come across a suspicious order and call them, ask questions. Make them verify their billing address, the name on the credit card and the phone number. If the customer can not verify the billing address there is a pretty high possibility that this is a criminal and does not possess the correct information for this card, just the stolen card number. Always make sure that the customer’s shipping address matches the customer’s home address. If the addresses don’t match you should do a little more to research this order to assure that the order is not fraudulent. One of the best ways to catch fraud is by suspicious billing addresses like 123 Southwest Road. When the billing address is different than the shipping address it is often someone buying a gift and having it shipped to their house but another reason may be that the criminal wants the product shipped to their “drop spot” and not to the stolen card owner’s home.

You can also deter criminals from potentially scamming your store by posting notices and pictures on your home page to inform customers and criminals that fraudulent activity will not be tolerated. Let them know that if they try to scam your company that you will press charges to the full extent of the law. Public displayed notices against fraudulent activity will warn off criminals that are trying to look for the easy money and attract customers who want to feel safer knowing that the store they are purchasing their products from and submitting personal information to will do everything in your power to prevent someone from stealing their identity.

Another sign of fraudulent activity is a buyer that demands overnight delivery of his items to his shipping address. Since the scam artist isn’t paying for the shipping he will not be concerned with how much it is going to cost to ship but instead getting the item fast before the stolen credit card owner realizes that their credit card is stolen and cancels the credit card. They will want to get it in a hurry. If someone places an expensive order and requests for the item to be dropped off at the front door of their home, be suspicious that a thief may be using this address as their “Drop Spot”. If an order is for a high priced item, always request that it be signed for.

Not every customer is a potential criminal so if you come across suspicious orders through your yahoo store don’t start pushing them away until you know for sure that they are intending to be dishonest to you and your customers. Do the proper research and your new business venture will be worth your while. If by chance you do come across a fraudulent order and catch it the Yahoo Store will make sure that the scam artist will never return with their IP address blocking tools.

Tips to Keep Your Finances Intact After a Hurricane

Your house may not be the only thing left in shambles after the hurricane. In many instances, a hurricane leaves behind more damage to the recovery process than the actual structure destruction. Your finances can also end up awry if you didn’t have plans for them.

The tips below will help you prepare now and save you the added grief that can come from the aftermath of destruction.

Insurance: How well do you know your homeowners insurance policy? Do you know your deductible and what’s actually covered and what’s not? Be familiar with your homeowners policy and make sure your house is covered at it’s worth – especially with today’s fluctuating housing market.

Additional Insurance: If your house is located in an area susceptible to flooding, ask your agent to help you obtain a separate flood policy, which is issued only by the federal government. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes, protect your house with extra

insurance that will cover losses in the event that a shaker causes damages.

Household Inventory: Your personal belongings such as jewelry, furniture and antiques should be documented and kept in a safe place. Photograph or video these items and list their worth.

Organize Important Papers: Keeping papers together are as important as the papers themselves. After a disaster you will want access to documents such as insurance policies and birth certificates. Making extra copies of these types of papers and keeping them at a

relatives’ house is one way to keep them safe. Another way to protect your papers is to put them in a safe deposit box at a bank – but not a local one should a disaster to your home affect the nearby bank as well.

Stash Some Cash: Plan for your cash as you would with your important papers because a disaster aftermath can cause power outages that can result in ATM’s being out of order and some banks being closed.

Call Your Creditors: Credit card companies need to be contacted right away after a disaster hits so they will be aware of how you have been affected. Ask your creditors if you are eligible for any type of deferral of your monthly payments. Also request that any automatic withdrawals be cancelled.

Preparing now is the best prevention for any added stress and turmoil in the event a catastrophe strikes your home. Don’t let your personal finances fall prey to Mother Nature: you are in control.

Learning from the Madoff Ponzi Scheme Scam

The Bernie Madoff Scam is breathtaking in terms of the size of the scam which is anywhere between 17 and 50 billion dollars. This kind of money only can come from some of the most sophisticated investors or people who should be a lot more sophisticated. The stats printed in the Wall street journal showing some of the major investors in the scam , printed on 12-17-2008, is the best illustration of main lesson to be learned : that a lot of bankers and investment advisers do not have a clue about what they are doing with other people’s money. Here are some of the names and the sums invested with Madoff and associates:

Fairfied Greenwich Advisors……………….$7.50 billion

Tremont Capital Management …………..$3.3 billion

Banco Santander, SA (spain)……………..$2.87 billion

Asccot Partners ……………………………………$1.8 billion

Fortis Bank, (dutch)—————————-$1.35 billion

HBSC (British bank)……………………………..$1 billion

…and these are just some of the big investors with over 1 billion dollars in the scam. Blaming the con artist’s victims does not seem very fair but these major financial players should have been able to get reasonable returns on the money they run without seeking out a specialty shop like Madoff. It looks like the blind leading the blind into a welcoming wolf den. The Wall street Journal lists more than 35 separate victims many of them banks and advisory companies. It is one thing to see flake Hollywood actors taken by con artists but these were in many cases major banks and insurance companies . The lesson for people and institutions with money for investment purposes might be to spend more time doing more of the work themselves instead of entrusting that work to others. Looking at the thousands of investment choices one can see why people’s eyes glaze over. It really looks more complicated than it is. The sorry facts are that out of thousands of companies only a few are going to prove to be worthwhile long term investments. It is possible to screen away most of the suspect poor choices the problem with that for most inspiring investors is that it immediately lowers yield. High yield seems to justify greater risk. Much better than average yields tends to justify being stupid with one’s money. But why were banks falling for the scam? Once again I am ready to blame the MBA crowd. I met too many in MBA majors in College who were in graduate school and all told me that they were there in school to get their ticket to success and not much more. As a fool trying to actually learn something in college , I never understood the fast ticket degrees until now.

It is true that Bernie Madoff is a rather exceptional con artist. His scam would be alive and well for another hundred years or more had the stock market not taken the dive it did in the international stock crash. The reason why he could continue getting away with it is his institutional investors only want to take out the interest and leave in the principal to continue compounding higher yields. Bernie may be one of the smarter ponzi scheme operators who ever lived so it is possible to give some of the big banks involved a little more sympathy but not much. The question is why did Bernie finally go and tell his sons he was running a complete confabulation fantasy investment house? Apparently he did when his investors started asking to get principle back because of the economic crash. Banks might have been calling their money back because their own clients were asking to cash out. Sophisticated investors might have been cashing out to take money from assets that have not declined in value to put into investments selling at absurd panic driven discounts. One example of how this works is a portfolio manager having walmart shares in the portfolio and seeing that those shares are more than they were before the crash they select those to sell to buy up other quality assets selling at less than half price when those prices are still available. Had the call for principle never come and had underlying assets in Bernie’s fund not declined with the rest of the market he might have been able to make good and continue the scam running up a much larger number of clients over time to make it a trillion dollar ponzi scheme. The collapse of Madoff Associates probably saved a lot more innocent investors of the future as a result of collapsing now and not later.

The same day the Wall Street Journal published the stats cited above they showed their sense of humor in an opinion piece called “Put Madoff in Charge of Social Security.” This is insightful because of the way our government is runs the social security program there is no principle to back up dividend/ interest payments. The Bush administration was right to try to back up some social security accounts with private asset/ equity holdings as an alternative but all knowing political forces like the AARP were completely against the Bush Plan and now look at the collapsed stock market as proof positive they were right- but actually had the social security accounts bought up more securities with an end of the year requirement to buy more for 2008 it is uncertain that it would necessarily have been a disaster or even a long term disaster since the average participant would just be younger and putting more of their current taxes into those funds and not the older already vested ones. So AARP is more of Madoff than they realize or at least an adviser telling people to trust the government.

The author of this noted that Bernie Madoff , himself, advised the FBI agents that he was running a ponzi scheme and was proud to tell them he grew it into a 50 billion dollar pyramid in a bragging tone. Anyone who thinks that Bernie just got in above his head is fooling themselves. When a sociopath is caught doing one thing wrong you can bet there is a lot more bad stuff that is not yet discovered yet.

Another Wall Street Journal article , the same day, is “Pyramid Schemes are as American as Apple Pie.” This is a ponzi country. If you don’t like it move somewhere else but leave your tax liability here because congress wants the people who stay here to have a bigger government to take care of them.

The moral of the story maybe that when a bank is collecting fees on your money steering those funds special boutique investment shop that get better than market rates, be a little concerned and if you want someone you don’t know to take care of you move to a place like Cuba where there is no competition in advertising for those services.

Vladimir Lenin’s Imperialism

Vladimir Lenin said that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism. Lenin saw the small privately owned businesses Karl Marx talked about being replaced with large corporations, sometimes even market dominating corporations. Capitalist societies around the world became laden with these large corporations and monopolies of large corporations. These corporations and monopolies became global and they needed the power and support of the state i.e. the military to look after their interests. It increasingly became necessary for the most powerful of countries to protect their interests through strengthening their military forces.

The strength displayed by these countries militaries depended on their economic development and so the two institutions became dependant upon each other. Countries would send out their militaries in order to take over other countries and thus gain their lands and their wealth. This, in effect caused nations to compete with each other over the lands, resources and wealth of the world. At the beginning of all of this, “lands” were still being discovered, and after they were all accounted for and owned there could only be a re-partitioning of territories. This whole process leads to political and military competition. This competition results in war. Vladimir Lenin said that this process was imperialism. Lenin further believed that this building of empires and the clash between the most powerful nations brings the whole world into a war.

The above explanation displays just exactly what Vladimir Lenin’s view of imperialism had to do with World War I. Lenin was watching all of these monstrous things happen in the world around him. The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Japan and other nations were all fighting over the world’s lands, resources, and wealth. He watched as the majority of the people all over the world suffered as a direct affect of the war efforts and of course, the damage of the war.

The ever increasing rate of industrial capital created the need for finance capital, according to Lenin. Finance capital is very basically the phenomenon of wealth generating wealth. A good example of this is the interest on a loan one takes out from another entity. The loan holder makes a profit, finance capital, by charging you a small fee, interest, on the loan. Vladimir Lenin believed that this was to be the future of business in the world. He thought that finance capital would be the next stage after monopoly capitalism.

I must say, living in today’s society, Vladimir Lenin had the right idea about the progression of a capitalistic system. Everywhere I look there are advertisements for banks and all of their services, credit cards, department store reward cards and so on and so forth. We are seeing his predictions about the change in capitalism having come to full maturity. I have managed by some miracle to not have a credit card or to have taken out any loans for anything outside of my education. I can not imagine a future further down the line of capitalism, other then the socializing of more and more of our society.