Grown in Argentina, Packed in Thailand

Capitalism is the social system that enables our survival and human flourishing.

One complaint by ivory-tower anti-globalists is why are Argentinian pears, packaged in Thailand, for export to the U.S.? As for why it’s cheaper to package Argentinian pears in Thailand for world consumption watch this video:

 

Equality of the Sexes and Tennis Player Salaries

Equality of the Sexes and Tennis Player Salaries

According the Washington Post:

“The difference in prize money awarded to men and women at tournaments where it has not been equalized has been stark. At last year’s Italian Open, for example, Novak Djokovic took home more than $900,000 for winning the men’s draw, while Iga Swiatek earned only about $365,000 for her women’s title. Borna Coric won $970,020 for his men’s singles victory at the 2022 Western & Southern Open in Ohio, while Caroline Garcia earned $412,000 for winning the women’s singles competition.”

The differences in tennis player salaries between WTA and ATP Tour Tennis players are not about women’s equality, but about who sells more tickets.

If sexism does not dictate ticket prices what does?

Economics dictates ticket prices and player winnings. Ticket sales show that men and women would rather watch the pro men’s matches (though there are times I have found personally that some of the women’s matchups are better). In the case of Serena Williams she probably should get more than the men as she is the draw, especially in the U.S., as she attracts tennis fans for her amazing tennis ability, she attracts black non-tennis American fans who follow her because of her race, and she attracts American fans for her celebrity. Like her or hate her Serena Williams, like Nick Kyrios or John McEnroe, is exciting to watch:

“In 2015, the U.S. Open women’s event between Serena and Venus Williams, sold out before the men’s event. The 2013 and 2014, women’s U.S. Open final garnered higher U.S. TV ratings than the men’s final. In 2005, the Wimbledon final between Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport drew 1 million more viewers than the showdown between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.”

Yet, when I went to watch the Canadian Open a few years back in Toronto I asked why the stadium was so small as some of the top seating was gone, and my friend told me that they don’t sell enough tickets for the women’s event, they put it back up for the men’s event— and it was Serena Williams playing Canadian #1 women’s player and past U.S. Open tennis champ A. Bandreescu. It also depends on the sponsor: sponsors of the Mubadala Citi DC Open can opt to pay women more then men. They chose not to. (Note in the recent DC event that the men’s field was 48 players; the women’s 28.)

Why is men’s tennis on average more popular? Physically, there are male juniors tennis players who would trounce the woman #1, which is not a knock on women as they can do something much more important than play tennis: give birth to human life. If tennis events were open for everyone regardless of sex there would be no pro women’s tennis; that’s the nature of the game, and is why as the great Martina Navratilova would agree, “trans women” (biological males who label themselves as women) should not be in women’s sports.

What about the Grand Slam tennis events which pay equal prize money to the men and women? In the case of tennis Grand Slam events, it’s not the players as much as the event itself that brings in fans. (On an equality setting one can argue that men should be paid more for playing best of five sets, as women play best of three.) Outside the slams, the players tend to be a draw and male players such as Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, Npval Djokovic, Roger Federer, Nick Kyrgios draw in more fans, so they deserve more money. I think this is why a lot of the smaller events with lessor name recognition even pay appearance fees, it means the difference between making a profit and bankrupt.

The WTA is taking steps to equalize pay over time, but this cannot happen immediately until the economics support it:

“One of the main pillars of the strategy includes creating a pathway toward equal prize money, a goal envisioned 50 years ago when Billie Jean King founded the WTA. This increase will happen over time, to ensure the changes are sustainable for players and tournaments in the long term, with WTA 1000 and 500 combined events attaining equal prize money by 2027 and single-week WTA 1000 and 500 events by 2033″ [emphasis added]

Notes former world #1 Tennis “GOAT” Novak Djokovic,

“Obviously it’s a very delicate situation…Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years. I have been through that process as well so I understand how much power and energy WTA and all the advocates for equal prize money have invested in order to reach that. I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it. On the other hand I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve. As long as it’s like that and there is data and stats available upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed.”

Mark Da Cunha

 

 

NewsWeek: Silicon Valley Bank Bailout Is a Disgraceful Political Payoff?

In a NewsWeek opinion piece, “Silicon Valley Bank Bailout Is a Disgraceful Political Payoff“, Paul du Quenoy , President, Palm Beach Freedom Institute, writes:

The notion that our whole banking system was teetering on the edge of a cliff sharply contradicts the Biden administration’s narrative that our economic fundamentals are strong. But temporizing on that doubtful claim was clearly preferable to admitting the truth that the SVB bailout is a poorly disguised political payoff.

Silicon Valley, where SVB is the “go-to” bank for the tech industry, is the Democratic Party‘s richest fiefdom. In 2020 alone, Federal Election Commission data recorded some $200 million flowing into Democratic coffers from the California counties comprising the region. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in that same year Democrats received 98% of all political contributions from internet companies, whose financing is SVB’s bread and butter. Personal contributions to Democrats from individuals employed in the tech industry are nearly as high.

SVB cannot legally donate to individual candidates or political parties. According to the Open Secrets website, however, it operates a political action committee (PAC) that has donated predominantly to Democrats for the last 20 years. In 2020, Democrats received 100% of its PAC donations. Last year, the PAC sent hefty contributions to Democratic legislators Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA), all of whom quickly praised the bailout. SVB’s CEO Greg Becker, who cashed in $3.6 million of company stock a week before the bank’s collapse, has been one of the PAC’s leading contributors.

In addition to massive financial support for the Democrats, SVB also offers unquestioning ideological fealty the modern Left. The bank slavishly toes the line on DEI and ESG initiatives favored by the Biden administration, but widely believed to be divisive, demoralizing, and financially underperforming. According to the bank’s website, “SVB is committed to creating a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible environment…within the innovation ecosystem, and in our communities…helping to advance solutions that create a more just and sustainable world [and] contribute to a healthier planet.”

This is not empty rhetoric spouted to console guilty millennial employees. Even as insolvency loomed, SVB still pledged “at least $5 billion in loans, investments, and other financing to support sustainability efforts.” According to Bernie Marcus, the billionaire cofounder of Home Depot, “these banks are badly run because everybody is focused on diversity and all of the woke issues and not concentrating on the one thing they should, which is shareholder returns.”


Related:

Fake Banks and Real Banks
We observe a run on deposits in a commercial bank, then observe that the same thing can happen to other financial institutions, then mistakenly assume these institutions are essentially the same.

Understanding Bank Failures and the Objective Role of the Lender of Last Resort
Since government regulatory practice has gone beyond making loans to illiquid-but-solvent banks, to paying back all the deposits of insolvent banks, the result is that there is no reason for depositors to care about whether their bank is taking excessive risks.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): No Banking System Savior Then or Now
Scaling back deposit insurance, combined with a credible policy of putting failure costs onto their rightful owners, stockholders, instead of onto taxpayers is the proper solution to preventing mass bank failures.

The Crimes of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX

The Crimes of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX

Writes David Z. Morris in “FTX’s Collapse Was a Crime, Not an Accident” at CoinDesk:

FTX Crash was a result of a “conscious and intentional fraud intended to steal money”

It is now clear that what happened at the FTX crypto exchange and the hedge fund Alameda Research [hedge fund] involved a variety of conscious and intentional fraud intended to steal money from both users and investors. That’s why a recent New York Times interview was widely derided for seeming to frame FTX’s collapse as the result of mismanagement rather than malfeasance. A Wall Street Journal article bemoaned the loss of charitable donations from FTX, arguably propping up Bankman-Fried’s strategic philanthropic pose. Vox co-founder Matthew Yglesias, court chronicler of the neoliberal status quo, seemed to whitewash his own entanglements by crediting Bankman-Fried’s money with helping Democrats in the 2020 elections – sidestepping the likelihood that the money was effectively embezzled.

FTX crash was not the result of a bank run, but a massive act of theft

Perhaps most perniciously, many outlets have described what happened to FTX as a “bank run” or a “run on deposits,” while Bankman-Fried has repeatedly insisted the company was simply overleveraged and disorganized. Both of these attempts to frame the fallout obfuscate the core issue: the misuse of customer funds.

[…]

FTX and other crypto exchanges are not banks. They do not (or should not) do bank-style lending, so even a very acute surge of withdrawals should not create a liquidity strain. FTX had specifically promised customers it would never lend out or otherwise use the crypto they entrusted to the exchange.

In reality, the funds were sent to the intimately linked trading firm Alameda Research, where they were, it seems, simply gambled away. This is, in the simplest terms, theft at a nearly unprecedented scale. While the total losses have yet to be quantified, up to one million customers could be impacted, according to a bankruptcy document.

Bankman-Fried stole FTX exchange customers’ funds to bankroll the Alameda hedge fund

The author goes into the gory details and the magnitude of the theft by Bankman-Fried and how he stole FTX exchange customers’ funds to bankroll the Alameda hedge fund, amongst other crimes:

“While an exchange [like FTX] ultimately makes money from transaction fees on assets that belong to users, a hedge fund like Alameda seeks to profit from actively trading or investing funds it controls….the [FTX] exchange had been funneling customer assets to Alameda for use in trading, lending and investing activities. On Nov. 12, Reuters made the stunning report that as much as $10 billion in user funds had been sent from FTX to Alameda.”

Bankman-Fried is the Bernie Madoff of the 2020s

“Bankman-Fried has continued to muddy the waters with carefully disingenuous letters, statements, interviews and tweets. He has attempted to portray himself as a well-intentioned but naïve kid who got in over his head and made a few miscalculations. This is a softer but more pernicious version of the crisis management approach Donald Trump learned from the black-hat mob lawyer Roy Cohn: Instead of “deny, deny, deny,” Bankman-Fried has decided to “confuse, evade, distort.”

Morris covers other criminal behaviors that resulted from this “cardinal sin” concluding:

“The scale and complexity of Bankman-Fried’s fraud and theft appear to rival those of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Malaysian embezzler Jho Low. Whether consciously or through malign ineptitude, the fraud also echoes much larger corporate scandals such as Worldcom and, particularly, Enron.

“The principals in all of those scandals wound up either sentenced to prison or on the run from the law. Sam Bankman-Fried clearly deserves to share their fate.”

Must read.

 

Jennifer Sey Shrugs: A Businesswomen with Integrity

Jennifer Sey Shrugs: A Businesswomen with Integrity

Why Levi’s brand President and the woman lined up to be the next CEO of Levi’s, turned down a $1 million severance in exchange for her freedom to speak about the irrational “woke” culture that permeates the Levi’s corporation.

Writes Jennifer Sey writes in Yesterday I Was Levi’s Brand President. I Quit So I Could Be Free:

…Early on in the pandemic, I publicly questioned whether schools had to be shut down. This didn’t seem at all controversial to me. I felt—and still do—that the draconian policies would cause the most harm to those least at risk, and the burden would fall heaviest on disadvantaged kids in public schools, who need the safety and routine of school the most.

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

… the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the company asked that I do an “apology tour.” I was told that the main complaint against me was that “I was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” I was told to say that “I am an imperfect ally.” (I refused.)

The fact that I had been asked, back in 2017, to be the executive sponsor of the Black Employee Resource Group by two black employees did not matter. The fact that I’ve fought for kids for years didn’t matter. That I was just citing facts didn’t matter. The head of HR told me personally that even though I was right about the schools, that it was classist and racist that public schools stayed shut while private schools were open, and that I was probably right about everything else, I still shouldn’t say so. I kept thinking: Why shouldn’t I?

In the fall of 2021, during a dinner with the CEO, I was told that I was on track to become the next CEO of Levi’s—the stock price had doubled under my leadership, and revenue had returned to pre-pandemic levels. The only thing standing in my way, he said, was me. All I had to do was stop talking about the school thing.

Read the rest.

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