Category Archives: economic crisis

Making Do With Less

Four years ago I fell into the abyss that would come to be known as the Great Recession. In a matter of weeks, jobs were lost, paychecks vanished, and my lifestyle changed. Read more…

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Human Unpredictability

Humans aren’t rational. So why should financial theories assume that they are? That’s the question writer Chelsea Wald posed in Crazy Money, in the Dec. 12, 2008 issue of Science. It’s a reasonable question, she explains.

Even the experts seem bewildered by the current economic crisis. Quantitative analysts (quants)–the whiz-kid financial engineers whose algorithms have dominated Wall Street trading in recent years–have watched those algorithms fail. Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan acknowledged in October that there was “a flaw in the model that I perceived … defines how the world works.” Continue reading

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Willing Away the Recession

Trace Trajano, a Procter and Gamble engineer and real estate investor, has a novel way of dealing with the recession. He simply refuses to accept it. “A lot of it is a mindset, so if you think there’s a recession, then there is,” he argues.

Trajano has created a website called refusetojoinrecession.com. He describes it as a place for people succeeding in spite of the economy to share “stories, techniques, tips and strategies” about investments, assets or potentially profitable businesses. Continue reading

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Doing More With Less

Commercial real estate managers are under intense pressure to increase corporate profit margins. It’s a challenging task:

To achieve this goal, they have to  maintain high occupancy levels, invest in the right markets at the right time, deliver projects on time and on budget, and control operational costs – all while strategically planning growth or diversification.  Continue reading

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Is It Time to Unplug?

 Technology gives us speed, convenience and depth of information. But is faster and easier always an advantage–or does too much data offer anything more than a base for self-fulfilling expectations?

We’re inundated with bad news and even worse forecasts. Consider this uplifting assessment of the commercial real estate industry, posted recently on the Internet by Paul Craig Roberts, assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration: Continue reading

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Facts or Feelings

 Driving through Hollywood Hills more than a year ago, I was awed by the view, the homes and the unusually large number of “For Sale” signs. But I was struck even more by what I couldn’t see-a sense of foreboding or impending doom. Something just didn’t feel right, though I was clueless to say what.

Back in New York, I shared the experience with a commercial real estate broker I’d called to discuss technology. And he knew exactly what I was referencing. “Real estate,” he acknowledged, “has a heartbeat. And sometimes you hear it, even when you don’t want to.” Continue reading

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The Fall

I have a degree in journalism, not economics. So while that makes me potentially qualified to run for vice president, it doesn’t make me an expert on the banking crisis.

But I know enough to know this: Technology wasn’t the problem.

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