Category Archives: Trends

Economic Progress

It’s not uncommon to hear people wish that we could return to the “good old days,” when the world seemed more prosperous.  Of course, depending on how far you go back, the “good old days” might cover a time when the world was poised on the edge of a nuclear precipice, when the Soviet Union and other communist governments basically enslaved more than 50% of the world’s population, when racism was practiced openly and codified in the legal system, when there was no Internet or smartphones, and when TV entertainment consisted of three or sometimes four channels on a heavy, small-screen device that didn’t include a remote.

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Safer but Poorer

In an effort to secure the U.S. borders, the President has attempted to ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, and is meanwhile quietly instituting “extreme vetting” of visitors from other nations—asking them to turn over their phones, social media passwords and financial records.  Even U.S. citizens are experiencing more scrutiny when they attempt to return to their home country.

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Money in Cyberspace

One of the strangest investment vehicles ever designed is something called the Bitcoin, which is at once an exciting new technology for managing online transactions and an alternative currency to national currencies like the dollar, yen and euro.  Last week, people who owned bitcoins discovered that electronic “coins” worth $1,350 were suddenly worth just under $945.  Around the same time, U.S. regulators rejected an effort to create a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

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Drone Transport

The advent of driverless cars has made the future look awfully confusing.  Will you even OWN a car ten years in the future, when all you’ll have to do is pull out your phone and request an automated ride to wherever you want to go?  Will there be automated drones that fly above the streets?

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Where to Find Happy People

The World Happiness Report is out, and a group of independent experts have now compiled surveys of people in 156 countries, asking them to evaluate their lives on a scale of 1-10.  They then looked at some of the factors that seem to contribute to happiness, and identified five: real GDP per capita (a measure of average wealth); healthy life expectancy at birth; freedom to make life choices; generosity; and whether or not they perceived their society to have elements of corruption.

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Where the Traffic Goes

The World Wide Web casts a pretty large net: we now have more than 1.1 billion websites featuring 4.48 billion pages—up from one website in 1991.

But when you look at web traffic, most of us actually visit one of the 100 most popular sites.  Google controls four of those: Google itself, with 28 billion visits a year, Youtube.com, which brings in 20.5 billion visits a year, plus Blogger and Google User Content.  A site with just one million visits per month is ranked somewhat lower: it would be the 33,000th most popular site.
The graphic shows that the “spoils” (or “eyeballs”) on the Web tend to go to the very top of the food chain, and there are millions of websites that almost no one (except Google’s automated crawler) has ever seen.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 

Sources:

http://www.worldwidewebsize.com/

Total number of Websites – Internet Live Stats

How many websites are there on the Web? Number of websites by year and growth from 1991 to 2016. Historical count and popular websites starting from the first website until today. Charts, real time counter, and interesting info.

http://www.visualcapitalist.com/100-websites-rule-internet/

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Executive Compensation Bloat

We heard a lot about income inequality and the stagnating incomes of middle class Americans on the campaign trail last year, and Wall Street firms that mostly move money around rightly got some of the blame.  But hardly anybody talked about how CEOs routinely loot the treasuries of their own companies, taking money out of the pockets of stock investors and shareholders who they theoretically work for.

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