“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
Jim Rohn

“Remember the fallback plan: if you’re not sure of the next step, start by helping people and creating things.”
Chris Guillebeau

Tour Recap

First of all, thank you to all of you who came out in Chicago, Boston, and New York to support us and help to raise money against homelessness and insecurity in your community. Thanks to you, we raised nearly $7,000 for Connections for the Homeless, Somerville Homeless Coalition, and Safe Space.

Adam put together a nice video summation of the tour here:

Check out our youtube page for some additional clips from the tour, such as this version of Our Love Is An Illiquid Asset:

As always, keep an eye on our facebook page for pictures and further updates.

Just a year ago, we gathered in Montreal to record Recession Sessions. Although we were sure that the economic problems that we sang about would persist, we could not have anticipated how much the project and mission have resonated with people and grown over the year. With your help, we look forward to making 2012 even better than the last. Thanks for your support!

January Tour Dates!

The Bull and the Bear are taking Recession Sessions on tour this month! For each show, we are proud to partner with and raise money for a different local organization making a real difference in its community. Please join us next week to enjoy some financial folk and help those in need!

January 11th – Chicago
Evanston SPACE
8pm show, $17-$50, purchase here!
Benefiting Connections for the Homeless
See facebook for more information!

January 12th – Boston
Johnny D’s
7:30pm show, $15 at door
Benefiting Somerville Homeless Coalition
See facebook for more information!

January 14th – New York City
Arlene’s Grocery
7pm show, $10 at door
Benefiting Safe Space NYC
See facebook for more information!

See you soon!

Comments on Suzuki Article

Couple comments on David’s Suzuki’s article this morning published in the Huffington Post.

1. Reading the article I began to reflect on how seemingly paradoxical it is to be a liberal. In the article, Suzuki makes the point that many of the problems we currently face stem from our misguided obsession with a consumption-based economy. Ironically, liberals tend be greater proponents of Keynesian ideology of stimulating demand and consumption than conservatives, despite also being greater advocates for environmental issues.

2. Suzuki quotes the oft-cited examples of how increasing GDP can sometimes be correlated with decreased well-being, thereby decreasing its reliability as a measurement:

Here are some other ways you can help keep the economy strong, according to John de Graaf and David K. Batker, authors of What’s the Economy For, Anyway? You could have a car accident. That would mean money spent on repairs, insurance, investigations, and maybe even a new car. You could get a divorce. All that money spent on lawyers and court services is good for the economy. On a larger scale, you could hope for a massive oil spill. Cleanup costs contribute to a growing economy.

These claims ignore the fact that GDP is just a measure of economic output – it is not built to measure the overall well-being of a society. To even attempt to do that, you would need much more than one statistic. However, in the cases that he provides, our society does improve at the margin as a result of this output, which is what economists care about.

GDP does not increase because of the car accident, but rather it increases afterward because the car was able to be fixed. GDP doesn’t increase because the two people have fallen out of love, but rather because a lawyer could manage the breakup in a civilized manner. GDP doesn’t go up because oil was spilt – in fact, it would decrease with the resulting loss in oil sales. GDP only goes up when people deploy services to minimize the environmental damage of the oil spill and clean it up. At the margin, all the examples he provides make a bad situation a bit better and thus reflect an overall improvement in the state of affairs and should be included in GDP.

Berlusconi Steps Down

The NY Times describes a great scene from this past Saturday:

An impromptu orchestra and choir gathered outside the presidential palace, where Mr. Berlusconi resigned, playing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”

Hundreds of spectators gathered outside, shouting “buffoon” and “go home” to a polarizing leader once loved by many, making Mr. Berlusconi the very embodiment of the Italian saying that the tenor is applauded until he is booed off stage. Some in the crowd were popping bottles of champagne. And cars and mopeds in downtown Rome waved Italian flags and honked their horns in celebration, as they do when the national soccer team wins.

It would have been exciting to be there. Of course, a change of prime minister doesn’t change the financial and economic environment in which Italy finds itself. We now have two Marios, Mr. Monti and Mr. Draghi, to watch for the next stage in the euro debt crisis.

“I know that the crisis won’t be over just because he leaves, and I’m a bit concerned about what will happen with the markets, but I know that this country will be better without him,” said Isabella La Monica, a retiree, who was waiting in front of the prime minister’s residence. “Things can’t get any worse.”

We’ll see about that.