Meet the Affluencers: How Some Wealthy Americans Influence Purchasing [Infographic]


A group of affluent consumers in the United States has a significant impact on sales across all categories and strongly influences other consumers’ buying behavior, according to recent research from Ipsos.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted between June 2016 and June 2017 among 22,449 US adults age 18+ living in households with at least $125,000 in annual household income (the top 16% of American households in terms of income).

Some 71% of these affluent US adults are “affluencers,” according to the researchers.

That means they represent a disproportionate amount of purchases in the United States and they are frequently sought out for their advice across all purchasing categories.

According to the report, affluencers…

  • Spend 40% more than other affluent Americans, and 3.6X as much as nonaffluents, in all categories
  • Are early adopters of new technology, innovations, and products
  • Influence others’ shopping and buying in at least one category, and often influence behavior in 5+ categories

Check out the infographic for more insights from the survey:

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted between June 2016 and June 2017 among 22,449 US adults age 18+ living in households with at least $125,000 in annual household income.

Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

from Marketing Profs – Concepts, Strategies, Articles and Commentarie

Bjork’s next album comes with free cryptocurrency


Icelandic music star Bjork is famously experimental with just about everything, so it’s no surprise that she’s now working on bringing blockchain into the music industry fold. Her people have announced that she’s partnering with British startup Blockpool to put the technology at the center of her next album release, not only letting fans buy the record with cryptocurrency, but actually giving them digital cash for doing so.

Everyone purchasing forthcoming album Utopia will get 100 Audiocoins — the two-year-old cryptocurrency originally designed for the music industry (currently worth around $0.19 each) — and will have the chance to earn more, along with other "crypto rewards", by interacting with Bjork online and attending her concerts. It’s not clear yet exactly how that will work, but the project does have the potential to make great strides in bringing the idea of cryptocurrency to the masses. And it makes sense that Bjork, who’s had some pretty curious ideas in her time, would be the person to do that.

Source: Fast Company

from Engadget

How to keep the passion alive in your relationship, according to a relationship scientist


Eli J. Finkel, a professor at Northwestern University and the author of "The All-or-Nothing Marriage," explains how to maintain fiery passion in a relationship. Following is a transcript of the video.

Eli Finkel: I’m Eli Finkel. I am a professor at Northwestern University in the psychology department and the Kellogg School of Management.

We want our spouse usually to be our primary source of emotional support. So, I want to be able to come to you when I’m most vulnerable — when I’m most pathetic and weak and hurt.

And I want you to support me. And that’s great. It’s one of the great things that we can get out of a meaningful marriage.

The problem is it’s not particularly hot, right? Like, when I’m coming to you with my tail between my legs and just feeling weak and defeated by the world, you’re probably not thinking how desirable I am.

You’re thinking of how much you want to nurture me in the way we might nurture a young child.

On the other hand, when we want to have sexual passion in the relationship, there’s another way that we like to connect with each other.

So, there’s this interesting juxtaposition of we want to have a respectful, loving, warm, nurturing sort of connection, but we also want a little bit of naughtiness and impropriety. And reconciling those two things is difficult.

But it isn’t impossible. There’s been some excellent research coming out over the last decade that looks at the importance of engaging in novel and exciting activities together.

A lot of us default to engaging in comfortable sorts of activities together — sitting on the couch and watching some nice television for example.

And that’s good for the relationship too, especially if you’re having some communication while you’re watching. That tends to increase the amount of satisfaction and connection we feel in the relationship.

But it doesn’t tend to increase how much fire and passion we have in the relationship. What does that is engaging in novel — that is new and exciting sorts of activities that we haven’t tried before.

Examples might include ballroom dancing, going hiking/ one person in one of the couples listed shucking oysters for the first time. But things that get you out of the mundane reality of everyday life — this is one of the most promising recipes for helping to sustain a sense of fire and passion for the partner.

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from SAI

Why Socialism Is Dead


Authored by Gary North via,

Socialism was a specific philosophy of government ownership of the means of production.

The democratic welfare state was never a variety of socialism.

Marx, the most famous socialist, despised democracy. He despised all attempts at economic amelioration through legislation. He wanted a proletarian revolution. He preached — the correct verb — a religion of revolution. That was the thesis of my first book, Marx’s Religion of Revolution (1968). You can download it here.

He was silent about how the state would allocate resources under his system. He published nothing about the actual operations of the post-revolutionary society, socialism, and its final successor, communism. Late in his career, in his final major publication, little more than a pamphlet, he wrote this: "Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." (Critique of the Gotha Program, Pt. IV, 1875) This was a purely political focus. He was silent throughout his career about how the state should or will or can run the economy.

He provided some famous slogans. He offered rhetoric about the inevitable triumph of the proletarian class. But he offered no guidelines for the leaders of the victorious proletarians.

Socialists in the nineteenth century were equally silent about how the state can allocate production so as to create the good society.

In the twentieth century, there was no major detailed theoretical treatise on the economics of socialism that went into detail about the actual operations of central planning agencies in a world where the state owned the means of production. There was no equivalent of Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action or Murray Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State or George Reisman’s Capitalism.

In retrospect, this seems incredible. Here was a movement that captured the Soviet Union and China. Yet there was not a single book, let alone a shelf of books, available to Lenin in 1917 and Mao in 1949 that could serve as a guide to the kind of economic organization that they should impose. There was no treatise that could serve as a blueprint for the socialist New World Order, whether non-revolutionary socialism or Marxist communism. Yet Marx said that his was scientific socialism — not utopian socialism, like the works of his critics.

Utopia meant "nowhere." They were all utopian socialists, including Marx.

Socialism has always been a movement based mostly on rhetoric. There was never any logic to it. There were endless promises about how politics or class revolution could bring in a socialist paradise, but there was nothing written about how this paradise would operate.

Marx offered his famous ten steps in The Communist Manifesto (1848), but they were mere slogans. The fact that he included a central bank (#5) is indicative of how confused he was about the transition from capitalism to socialism to communism. He never went into any further detail. He had plenty of time to offer details. He died in 1883.

Here is what defenders of socialism refuse to face: there is no theory of socialist economic planning.

Socialist economic theory has always been missing in action. There is also no practical treatise that has served as a guide for socialist economic planners after their national revolutions. Socialist economic planning has been chaotic. No theory of socialist planning ever emerged from this chaos.

When we look at the history of socialism, meaning the state ownership of the means of production, there are few examples.

The USSR and Communist China did come close, but the black markets always operated in both societies.

There have been tiny Communist states: Albania, Cuba, and North Korea. None have produced a theory of socialist planning.

The Labor government of Great Britain from 1945 to 1951 nationalized coal mining and much of medical care, but it did not extend control over the capital markets of The City, the separate legal jurisdiction of the bankers in the center of London. The Bank of England maintained most of its sovereignty. Labor nationalized it in 1946, but then failed to exercise control. It remained Keynesian.

In short, there are no working models of socialism. This is fitting because there are no theoretical models of socialism. It has always been based on rhetoric, not logic. It has never been based on any system of economic causation. It has no theory of economic sanctions comparable to the sanctions in the free market of monetary profit and loss.

This was pointed out in 1920 by Mises in his classic essay, "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth." He argued that socialism is inherently irrational in theory. It has no system of private property. It, therefore, has no capital markets. But without capital markets, there can be no prices for capital. Without prices for capital, central planners do not know how to allocate capital to serve the wants of the people. So, he argued, pure socialism cannot survive.

This argument was never successfully refuted by any socialist. Polish immigrant and University of Chicago Professor Oskar Lange wrote several articles in the late 1930’s on Mises’ arguments, but they were strictly theoretical. When he went back to Communist Poland in 1945, and was later put into positions of authority in planning bureaus, nothing that he had written in his famous essays was actually implemented by the Polish government. His hypothetical socialist planning board always remained pure theory. It was based on the idea that central planners can do trial and error pricing to allocate capital. But there are no consumer-generated prices in a socialist commonwealth. More to the point, there were no economic sanctions attached to them. If there is no system of monetary profit and loss, there are no meaningful economic sanctions placed on the planners. But there are surely political sanctions, as the planners discovered under Stalin and Mao. It wasn’t that the dictators liquidated capital. It was that they liquidated political opponents and bureaucrats who lost their favor.

There have been very few Marxist economists teaching in American universities. They have had zero influence on the profession. There have hardly been many more socialist economists on the campus. There was a flurry of publicity in the late 1960’s regarding a tiny group of these people, who call themselves the Union of Radical Political Economists. It had the unfortunate acronym of URPE, which was pronounced "urpee." I studied under one of its major figures in grad school, Howard Sherman. He lectured coherently. He wrote in English. He did not use equations. He never presented the case for socialism in the classroom that I attended. If he converted anybody to socialism, it must have been in private.

The socialist professors are confined mainly to the sociology departments and the English departments. These people have never taken an economics course. They do not comprehend the logic of economic causation. Like their predecessors in the nineteenth century, they confine their comments to rhetoric.

We see crowds of undergraduates who claim to be in favor of socialism. But none of these people has ever read a book on socialist economic theory. This is understandable since there isn’t one.

They are motivated by rhetoric. Rhetoric is all they have been exposed to. They go to large mass meetings to protest this or that aspect of capitalism. But they have no agendas. They don’t have a personal agenda, and they don’t have a social agenda. In this sense, they are just like Karl Marx.

The difference is this: they are not going to find sugar daddies like Frederick Engels, who ran his family’s textile plant in Manchester and used a little of his money to put Marx on the dole for four decades.

These people are noisy, but in terms of pursuing a systematic agenda for turning the United States into a socialist commonwealth, they really are harmless.

When Deng Xiaoping inaugurated an agricultural reform in 1979 which relied heavily on private ownership, he launched the most impressive period of economic growth that any large country has ever experienced. But that ended socialist economic planning. When, on December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union was going out of business, that ended the lure of socialism among the intellectuals. They had always clung to socialism because they expected that their class would exercise power in a socialist regime. When it became clear that the Soviet Union was too feeble to impose its will on the Russian masses, that was the end of their infatuation with Communism and socialism. It was always about power. It was never about the logic of socialism.

So, in this month, the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s Bolshevik revolution in Russia, we can rejoice in the fact that socialism is dead. From a theoretical standpoint, it was never alive. It was a corpse from day one. It was sustained by rhetoric, not logic.

If you want to visualize the future of socialism, think of Lenin’s corpse in Lenin Square. It’s all dressed up with nowhere to go.

from Zero Hedge