Email Toolkit Review – Get Access to 25 Must Have Email Tools

Some of us might think that email marketing is an old fashion way. However, the fact still remains that it is one of the most effective ways on how to increase your sales.

As efficient as it is, some of us still do not know how we can make use of email campaigns. And the disappointing part, some of us still haven’t found out what were lacking. This might be the reason why others thought this is not effective nowadays.

That’s I’m here to present to you the perfect solution.

Introducing Email Toolkit!

This is a powerful software with email apps you lack before to get you more opens clicks, and sales. This is fully web-based and nothing to install, configure, or setup. Amazing, right?

Wanna know more? Let’s go check this review!

Email-Toolkit-

Features

Email Toolkit App #1- Email Subject Line / Headline Generator

This 1-Click App can generate over 300 subjectlines or email headlines for you in just 1-click, simply type your main keyword and press one button. It’s that simple.

Email Toolkit App #2- 1-Click Email Formatter App

This 1-Click App formats your emails correctly to be read fast and correctly, without having formatting issues on mobile (since over 70% emails are opened on mobile these days)

Email Toolkit App #3- Spammy Subject Checker App

If your email subjectline is spammy, it can end up in the spam box (instead of the inbox). This app helps you AVOID THAT and helps get better inboxing for all your emails.

Email Toolkit App #4- Email Address Extractor Software

If you ever had a blurb of text or data that had a bunch of emails in it & you wanted to separate or extract them, you will never have to do it manually. This 1-Click software extracts emails from any kind of text content for you & lets you download it in TXT or CSV.

Email Toolkit App #5- Spam Words Checker Software

This software instantly highlights spam words in your email content so you can replace it with better words and increase your email inboxing many fold.

Email Toolkit App #6- Email Countdown Software

Adding urgency and scarcity to your emails is guaranteed to give you more clicks and more sales. That’s exactly what this software does by adding an ACTIVE, Ticking countdown timer right inside the emails you send out & helps you make more money.

Email Toolkit App #7- Email Magic – Personalization Software

Personalisation has proven to give 3X more opens, clicks and sales. This software takes it one step further and adds PERSONALIZED IMAGES inside your emails (very powerful) that have the subscriber’s NAME added to the image with a call to action.

Email Toolkit App #8- 1-Click Email List Cleaner Software

A clean email list gets more opens, clicks and better delivery (and stronger reputation) so use this 1-Click software to find bad emails, remove them and keep your lists clean. Simply copy paste your list of emails and press one button, in a few minutes you can download the GOOD emails and ignore the bad ones 🙂

Email Toolkit App #9- Gmail & iPhone + iPad Preview Software

Knowing exactly how readers will see your email & being able to optimize it for MORE OPENS and clicks is very important. This software helps you preview how your email will look in the Gmail inbox and also for iPhone & iPad view. Very cool tool.

Email Toolkit App #10- Email Emoji Software – Get More Opens!

Adding EMOJI to your email subjects has proven to get 56% more opens. This software helps you do exactly that and works with Aweber, Getresponse and even Gmail to help add EMOJI to your subject lines. Pick from over 200 emojis.

Who Should Buy This?

1. THIS IS FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS MORE SALES
Tired of sending out emails but not getting results? You are lacking the extra firepower that these tools add to your emails. You need to add things like email timers or personalization to your emails.

2. FOR ANYONE GETTING POOR EMAIL OPENS
If you are struggling to make people open your emails, tools like Email Emoji and Headline Generator are perfect for you to instantly create mind blowing subjects and start standing out in inboxes.​

3. FOR ANYONE GETTING LOWER CLICKS
You need not worry – Email Toolkit has the perfect personalization tools for you to increase engagement and clicks. Use the email timers to inject urgency and make people take action, click those links.

4. FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ADD URGENCY
Looking for people to take action and BUY quickly? Adding urgency and scarcity in your emails is the perfect way to do it and Email Toolkit comes with the right tools to do that for you.

5. FOR ALL KINDS OF DIGITAL MARKETERS
Are you a marketer looking to get more results for your campaigns? Email is the integral part of all marketing and you need to use the tools that TOP COMPANIES use in 2018 to maximize your clicks.

6. FOR BLOGGERS, WRITERS & AFFILIATES
Are you a blogger or an affiliate marketer wanting to make more money from your online properties – your email list is a gold mine and when you use it with the right tools, you will skyrocket sales.

7. FOR JOB SEEKERS WANTING TO STAND OUT
Looking for a job? Using catchy subjects and maybe using the right emoji can help you score an interview, stand out from the crowd and get the attention of the recruiter.

8. FOR ANYONE WANTING MORE RESULTS
Whether you are a product creator, service provider or a new business that needs more exposure to get your brand out there – using emails is the best way to communicate, promote and sell. With Email Toolkit you will stand out with better emails promotions.

9. FOR EVENT ORGANISERS – SELL MORE TICKETS
You’re someone holding a conference, and you need to sell more tickets? Then use the catchy subjects, personalization and timers in emails to sell more tickets very easily.

10. FOR NETWORKING – STAND OUT STRONGER.
Recently met someone at a conference/meetup/party and want to make a great first impression in your intro email? Use Email toolkit to craft the perfect, response ready emails.

11. FOR STARTUPS / ANY NEW BUSINESS
Are you a startup or new business owner looking to scale up your sales, Email Toolkit has the perfect set of tools to kick off sales.

Download Email Toolkit now!

How Does It Work?

This is super easy. Not convinced? Let’s go watch the demo video:

Good Points

1. Newbie Friendly
2. Can be used at any niche markets
3. Fully web-based
4. Responsive technical support
5. Amazing bonuses included

Email-Toolkit-----

Bad Points

1. Need to contact support desk for any question

Conclusion

There you have it! This is your very big first step into having what you don’t have before in making use of email campaigns. Other than that, this is perfect for any business you can think of. Take that step now and Get your copy of Email Toolkit here!

Channel Authority Builder Review – Think beyond optimization, this one is about right video positioning, literally!

Revolutionize YouTube traffic!

In a nutshell, what is Channel Authority Builder?

So you have been trying really hard with keywords and backlinks and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Well here is a product that can rank you albeit differently almost in disguise. What’s that?

Well, Channel Authority Builder is a unique product designed to bring your video to the suggested videos section or the sidebar on YouTube and pull traffic from there.

Who is Channel Authority Builder for?

Do you have a YouTube channel? If yes, then look no further, you absolutely need this. No matter what your niche is. It is for everyone who is on YouTube. This tool can push your channel views up in no time. Whether is a veteran or a newbie, it does not matter. People who can benefit are:

  • Video marketers
  • Affiliate marketers
  • Digital marketers
  • Vloggers
  • Bloggers
  • Offline Business
  • Local marketers
  • Any YouTuber!

3 things I love about Channel Authority Builder:

1) With Channel Authority Builder, Cyril has brought to the table a completely new way of gaining mileage on YouTube. It has changed my approach to YouTube completely. Whilst the whole world focuses on ranking this tool focuses on authority in other words goodwill of a channel and teaches you to capitalise on it.

2) The second best part is the competition analysis that Channel Authority Builder offers. Here is your chance to leverage upon all the hard work that your competition is doing. Find out what they are doing, follow the directions this automated software gives and egg your way ahead on the sidebar!

3) Channel Authority Builder comes up with everything in real time! It can pick up keywords that’s become hot suddenly and let you know about it. You may well be on your way and discover a profitable new niche.

What will I get inside Channel Authority Builder?

Channel Authority Builder is a tool that revolutionizes the way you get traffic on YouTube. Keeping this in mind the Cyril has thrown in the exact strategy in the form of a training along with all of this:

  • Monitor what’s working for any channel and unravel its best secrets.
  • Get accurate trend information for the topics that are trending in your niche right now.
  • Appear on other channels’ sidebars and unlock traffic from other people’s videos.
  • Find all channels from your niche and monitor their marketing secret.
  • Monitor keyword rankings and see how your and other people’s video do over time.
  • Get accurate statistics for channels and videos & find the real winners.

Any drawbacks to Channel Authority Builder?

Channel Authority Builder is a flawless product, well designed and crafted. There are reasons for this kind of perfection. The product has been developed by Cyril from years of personal experience. He has overcome several bumps to get to this. The tool is the result of his phenomenal success and experience on a YouTube channel with millions of views.

Final thoughts on Channel Authority Builder:

If you have long term commitment to YouTube then you cannot give Channel Authority Builder a miss. There are those videos that create a stir and then blur out into oblivion. Nothing much achieved there. YouTube is looking for rich content and gives a lot of importance by suggesting them on the sidebar. Channel Authority Builder is an awesome tool that will help you with just that.

Go for it guys!

ClipsReel Review

In a world where we are constantly trying to catch the attention of viewers and customers, videos are one of the easiest and quickest ways to get people interested in your blog, product or whatever it is you want them to see. I Bet you have always wondered how exactly you can create videos without prior experience in video creation or video editing.

For some of us who have never actually held a camera, or used anything besides our smartphones to record videos, it might seem like this is an area where we would fail to capture the attention of our audience.

Here is the thing though, it does not have to be that way, as content creators, marketers, and businesses we are all crazy about generating as much traffic, views, likes, purchases, favorites and so on for the content we put out. And knowing videos would do just that for us, we look would for every means possible to create great videos.

Enter ClipsReel.

What exactly is ClipsReel?

Here is the deal, ClipsReel s an awesome tool that converts any URL into a fun and engaging video. Sounds too good to be true right? We couldn’t believe it ourselves when we discovered this amazing tool. We did a little dance of joy while thinking of how all our video making woes have come to an end. There really is no need for you to shell out big bucks to a videographer to shoot and edit a video for you to use across your platforms. In a few simple steps, you can create a unique, engaging and high-quality video that reflects your post in just the way you want it to. No more going back and forth with freelance videographers spending long hours cutting and editing video footage. With the ClipsReel tool, you can create a video from your post in less than one hour!

Who should use ClipsReel?

ClipsReel is for literally anyone and everyone who wants to create a video from a blog post or article. If you have never created a video before, there is no need to be worried or concerned that you might not master this tool. It is easy as pie and will have you putting out amazing videos even you would not believe you made yourself. Here is a short list of people who should be used ClipsReel

  • YouTubers
  • Bloggers
  • Social media marketers
  • Digital marketers
  • Small and large business
  • Content creators
  • Product marketers
  • Everyone!!

Really everyone who needs to create an engaging video can use this awesome tool to make a video that drives traffic and they would be proud to show to the world.

What we love about ClipsReel

There are so many amazing things about ClipsReel. But we are going to outline just a few which we find particularly handy and encourage you all to try out.

  1. Scouting the internet to find high-quality royalty free images to use in your videos can take a lot of time and energy. We know how many hours we have spent in the past nursing sore eyes while looking for unique images on the internet. With ClipsReels wide selection of high-quality images, you have a plethora to choose from and use as background images for your videos. You don’t need to worry about finding royalty free images online anymore. All you have to do is select the right pictures for your video from ClipsReels collection.
  2. CLIP REEL is cloud-based and works on any device anywhere. So it’s great for people who have multiple devices and are constantly on the go. You do not have to worry about toting your home computer about with you whenever you want to create a video. The great things are you do not have to install any software or download plugins to use this spectacular A.I tool to create amazing traffic generating videos.
  3. You do not need to possess any great technical skills to use the ClipsReel tool. It is pretty simple and straightforward to use. All you have to do is input the URL or text of the content you want to be converted into a video, select the fonts and images or videos you want to be used and sit back and relax. A marketing magnet video will be made for you in a matter of minutes. You no longer have to hire a bunch of people and spend a lot of time creating unsatisfactory videos anymore.

What features do I get with the ClipsReel tool?

ClipsReel creates amazing videos with so many features for you to choose from to customize your video and make it truly unique. Here’s a list of features ClipsReel offers you

  • You can choose from a wide range of videos, images, background music and fonts to make your videos pop and stand out from those your competitors.
  • GIFs and memes are so popular these days and are one of the quickest means of getting lots of traffic. With ClipsReel you can turn your videos into meme-worthy GiFs
  • You have a large variety of video frames to choose from. Who says the borders of your videos have to be plain and boring?
  • You can highlight key points in your videos or call to actions with eye-catching texts and graphics.
  • Everyone loves captions. Especially Facebook users. With ClipReel you can add captions/subtitles to your videos so your viewers still get all the information from your video even while its muted!
  • Make your video truly your own by adding logos and watermarks to your videos created on ClipsReel. This way you’re sure your amazing video is unique to you and you don’t have to worry about its authenticity being questioned. It also protects your videos from being stolen by competitors
  • You get to create videos of any lengths with ClipsReel. There is no cap on the length of videos you create. With ClipsReel there are literally no time frame restrictions.
  • After you create these amazing videos to share with the world With ClipsReel you can share your videos directly to Facebook and YouTube with a single click without even leaving your browser.
  • Perhaps you’d like to save your videos for future uses or references? You can download your videos and save them on whatever device you want to.
  • Creating interesting and easy to understand voice overs has never been easier. You no longer have to hire voice actors to make voice overs for your videos. With ClipsReel instant text to speech feature, you can make a voice over for your video in whatever accent you please.

What do we not love about ClipsReel?

We know what you are thinking. What’s the catch? What is the drawback of this amazing tool? Why is the whole world not talking about it? But that’s just the thing, we couldn’t find anything we don’t like about ClipsReel. With all of its amazing features and ease of use, not to mention the incredibly affordable price tag on it? What’s not to love? Seriously there is nothing about this tool we would fault. It’s just that great.

Conclusion/final thoughts

Videos are great!  And the sheer number of cat videos on the internet is enough proof of just how strong videos are as a marketing tool. If you want to drive mad traffic and grow your users and customer base, then using the ClipsReel video tool to convert your content into engaging and unique videos is exactly what you should be doing.

You can make a world class video in a short amount of time and with little or no expertise in video making, all you have to do is input the URL or text from the content you want to be converted into a video, customize with your choice of images, fonts and music and you’re set to get a one of a kind traffic building marketing video.

Get ClipsReel today and start creating awesome videos in seconds!

Reputation Management

Reviews!

Bad Reviews Got You Down? Try These Reputation Management Tips

You can increase your business with good reputation management. The better your reputation, the bigger your profits. Learning to keep a good reputation is key to success. The following article will help you improve the reputation of your business.

Maintain a good image by working to alleviate customer dissatisfaction. Reversing a customer’s opinion of you in a positive way is a good way to show them you care. If you can do this online, better yet. This will allow other potential customers to see how you deal with problems, and they will gain more confidence in dealing with you.

To make your online business reputation better, optimize web pages using search phrases essential to your business. This is generally the name of your company. Search engines like businesses that seem to be an authority. That will ensure that you’re ranked highly on search pages.

Keep up with news updates relating to your service or product. This helps ensure you can supply your customers with the latest innovations and information. Take a few minutes out of your day to do some Internet searches so you can get up to date information on the industry your company’s in.

Handle your social media pages appropriately. These pages are a representation of your company, and that’s why it’s a good idea to make sure people see things which will make a positive impact. You want to appear as a professional that is still accessible as a person.

If you have employees, treat them well. A lot of people don’t do this as much as they should be, and this can have some consequences. No one wants to patronize a bad employer.

If you offer a private sale or promotion, keep it private. This is especially true if you offer a large discount to rectify a complaint. Do not post what you’re doing to take care of issues. Some people might complain to get free things.

When searching online for information about your business, and you come across something that is not accurate, ask the site owner to take the information down. This is something that you will want to have taken down immediately.

Actively search through all social media comments. People often talk about companies on these platforms. This will help you to monitor all negative comments. That keeps your reputation strong.

Many firms provide reputation management today. From social media to public announcements, there is a lot that goes into managing a public reputation. So, it’s good to have a helping hand when it comes to these matters as well.

As your business prospers, your customer interaction will increase. You may get some complaints that you need to take care of. Furthermore, make sure you address any complaints promptly and properly.

Business reputation management is vital. Solid reputation gives your business a leg up on the competition. You increase trust and attract more customers when you have a good reputation. Your company’s success depends on it. Your business will flourish if you have a good reputation.

Sharp Social Review

You have lots of views on your YouTube account and lots of comments on your Instagram account right? If this is you, why not turn them into cash? You can change those comments into referrals, traffic leads, direct sales with the push of just a button.

There are lots of people commenting on your brand on your social media accounts all the time and viewing your posts, it is better to reach out to them the right way and make something of it.

What is Sharp Social?

Sharp Social is a tool that helps you connect your Facebook and YouTube, scans all your posted comments and analyses them using Artificial Intelligence. It does analysis based on IBM’s technology. It is the world’s first and only smart user engaging and world based application. You can know what your audience is feeling and respond to them with the click of a button.

It understands the context of your messages, the emotions, and sentiments of the message and sends out a private message or replies a comment quickly and appropriately. It uses the moods of your clients to return messages back. Sharp Social is one of the most profitable and engaging social application ever created.

Who is Sharp Social for?

Sharp Social is for anyone and everyone. You own a Facebook account, you own a YouTube account, then it is for you. It is good for any type of business as well. If you want to boost your online account, Sharp Social is for you; be it an e-commerce account, marketer, or blogger.

How Sharp Social can turn your comments and engagements into products.

  • Connect and scan your YouTube or Facebook accounts for your user’s comments.
  • Sharp Social uses advanced learning and Artificial Intelligence technology from IBM to tell you which comments are positive, negative or neutral and show you the comment’s emotions like happiness, sadness, or anger.
  • It lets you send out a custom private message based on the emotions of the comments. It is really that easy to use; no complicated dashboard.

How can you use Sharp Social?

To get started, you create a campaign to monitor the brand of your choice and social profiles. Connect your Facebook or YouTube account. Click on the Facebook tab, sharp social will show your posts, date orders, likes, and comments for all of them. By clicking on the insights, you can get a report of your overall fan page impressions, page engagement, analytics and reactions to the pages.

By clicking on the analytics, it shows you a view of the sentimental page; whether positive, negative or neutral. It also shows the growth, consumption and daily video views of your page. You can go back to a post that has a lot of comments and reactions, click on an arrow and leave a personalized comment for negative or positive posts. You can also do a bulk action based message to a group of people with related sentiments.

You can see the overall sentiments on your post. It can be done with other social media applications like YouTube. You can check YouTube subscriber growth, also the estimated tone that has been spent on the page as well.

What does Sharp Social offer?

  • You can protect your position by sending support messages to people that are angry, confused or feeling negative and shut down negativity.
  • You can turn your neutral followers into customers, and entice them.
  • You can also change your upset fans into proper users by sending them information and links.
  • Grasp happy customers too by sending them a referral link.

What will I get from using Sharp Social?

  • Turn the comments of the viewers to cash
  • Get direct sales from views and more traffic on your page.
  • Improve the confidence of your viewers, customer service and also prompt replies.
  • Improve the reaction of your fan page.
  • Protect your character.
  • Change the negative comments on your page into sales.
  • Increase communication with your viewers.
  • Saves time from replying one on one to every comment or views on your page.
  • It is 100% cooperative with YouTube and Facebook.

Are there any downsides to Sharp Social?

Based on the fact that this is a very new and honestly wonderful tool that solves problems with reading and answering all the comments on your page; which takes a lot of time and process, it is so far the best application ever created for such purposes.

It is no wonder that there is no downside to this superb application as it offers us the best with the push of a button.

Are there any added features to Sharp Social?

Sharp Social is not free, but comes at a very reasonable price and offers two new added features for free.

  • Response Tagging: Tag the date of the week when you respond to a private message or comment on your page. You can tag your customer’s name and reply a customized message by tagging their names. It increases the reply figures.
  • Responder: This scans every new comment and figures out the sentiments and emotions, then replies the comments automatically based on the emotions. It automatically analyses the comments and figures out the reply. For instance, it sends a reply to a positive comment and immediately deletes a negative comment on your post.

Conclusion:

Sharp Social is very easy to use, relieves you of time and energy you would have originally spent trying to reply to all your positive comments or deleting your negative comments, or trying to attract more views on your page. With Sharp Social, your page becomes enticing, easier to communicate, and increases your traffic and sales; thereby making your social network application profitable and engaging.

Get Sharp Social here today and start leaving a great impression to your visitors!

Wealthy investors to win bigly with Republicans’ proposed tax plan

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2017/11/09/wealthy-investors-to-win-bigly-with-republicans-proposed-tax-plan/

By Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez

This blog is cross-posted from the Berkeley Opportunity Lab and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

The tax plan released by Republicans in Congress and praised by President Trump is a remarkable document in many ways, but most notably in that it achieves just the opposite of its stated goal. Presented as a tax cut for workers and job creating entrepreneurs, it instead is a giant cut for capitalists and inherited wealth. It is a bill that rewards the past, not the future.

First, the proposed legislation cuts the top rate on profits recorded by so-called pass-through businesses from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, but with a trick that neatly summarizes the philosophy of the bill. The reduced rate applies only to passive business owners, not to active entrepreneurs.

Payoff for wealthy investors but not workers

Investors who own shares in lucrative firms for which they do not work will pay 25 percent on the profits flowing to their bank accounts. But entrepreneurs who work to earn income from start-ups in which they are actively involved will pay the higher rate of 39.6 percent. Wealthy investors win bigly. More jobs are not created. Workers get nothing.

Since 1980, the authors say, average national income per adult has grown by only 1.4 percent per year.

The proposed plan contains complicated rules to avoid active businessmen angling to pay the lower 25 percent rate by pretending to be passive owners.

If these rules work as intended, passive owners will be the sole beneficiaries of the bill.

But if clever tax accountants abuse the new rules, or lobbyists in Washington succeed in getting the lower tax rate enacted for all owners of pass-through businesses, we will see an even larger tax cut for the top 1 percent of income earners, and a federal budget deficit that balloons even more.

Heirs and heiresses of the wealthy

Second, the Republican plan reduces and then eliminates the estate tax. The beneficiaries of this measure will be the heirs and heiresses of the wealthy who die with more than $5.5 million in net wealth— not exactly active entrepreneurs at this stage of their life.

Conveniently, the provision would allow the Trump family to avoid more than $1 billion in federal taxes (if they have not already organized their affairs to dodge the estate tax by creating family trusts). Inheritors, who by definition have not earned their wealth, will be able to keep their full inheritance free of any federal tax.

Third, the proposed bill cuts corporate income taxes by $846.5 billion, primarily by reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Whatever one believes about the long-run effects of cutting corporate taxes, it is clear that in the short- and medium-run the cut overwhelmingly benefits shareholders, who do not need to do any work to reap their profits.

So here is what the Republican tax plan boils down to. A retired passive business owner in Florida gets a huge tax cut, with his marginal income tax rate falling from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. His children will inherit a bigger estate and will not have to pay any tax on it.

In contrast, the successful start-up owner who is actively growing his business in Silicon Valley sees his marginal tax rate increase from 47.6 percent to 52.9 percent (when taking California taxes into account), because of the repeal of the deductibility of state income taxes. Of course, some Silicon Valley start-uppers will one day become Florida retirees, but if Congress want to help entrepreneurs, it seems more logical to cut their taxes while they’re young, rather than the taxes of their future old selves.

Republicans will noisily claim that cutting taxes on wealthy owners will boost economic growth and end up benefitting workers down the income ladder. The idea is that if government taxes the rich less, they will save more, grow U.S. capital stock and investment, and make workers more productive. The evolution of growth and inequality over the past three decades makes such a claim ludicrous.

No chance of trickling down to the rest of us

Since 1980, taxes paid by the wealthy have fallen dramatically, as the top marginal income tax rate fell from 70 percent to 39.6 percent and income at the top of the distribution has boomed, but gains for the rest of the population have been paltry. And average national income per adult has grown by only 1.4 percent per year—a poor performance by both historical and international standards.

As a result, the share of national income going to the top 1 percent has doubled from 10 percent to more than 20 percent while income accrued by the bottom 50 percent has been almost halved, from 20 percent to 12.5 percent. There has been no growth at all in the average pre-tax income of the bottom half of the population over the past 40 years—during which trickle-down enthusiasts promised just the opposite. Now they’re doing it again. Will we listen?

Delving deeper into the tax data, the surge in top incomes since 1980 was first driven by the working rich, who captured an increasing share of wages, but since 2000 virtually all the gains made by the top 1 percent income earners have gone to the owners of passive capital. The proposed bill more than doubles down on favoring this tiny fraction of the population.

The evidence shows that their gains have no chance to trickle down to the rest of us.

 

Focus on the source of most satisfaction, not consumption

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2018/03/27/focus-on-the-source-of-most-satisfaction-not-consumption/

(Clair Brown wrote this blog with Simon Greenhill, a senior economics major at UC Berkeley who is writing a thesis on global poverty and the refugee crises. The commentary first appeared in Psychology Today on March 26.)

Buying stuff can make you happy for a short time. But you will revert to needing another happiness boost by buying even more stuff. We can, however, replace the boom and bust of a consumption-driven search for satisfaction with lives that are more fulfilling and economically sustainable. Psychologists have, for example, found that altruism creates happiness and produces a positive feedback loop leading to more altruism. In addition, neuroscientists have found that helping others engenders brain activity leading to happy feelings.

With a more holistic view of the world, decisions that make moral sense are also sound economically.

Sociologist Rachel Sherman’s recent finding—that wealthy liberals are often uneasy about their riches, hiding price tags from their hired help and guarding their bank account balances more carefully than the details of their sex lives—can be extended far beyond penthouse apartments and second homes in the Hamptons.

The complex relationship between wealth and social stigma is on daily display here at UC Berkeley. It’s rarely more evident than among privileged undergraduates navigating an environment far more diverse than their hometowns and learning to play the social games of adulthood. Twenty-year-olds in ragged jeans and Goodwill sweaters buy five-dollar coffees twice a day. A young woman who spilled sparkling water on her laptop had a new MacBook Pro in time to submit her homework the next day. One student posted an Instagram picture of her new Mercedes one day and, hardly a week later, a screenshot of her bank account balance, in the red, with a caption about how broke she was.

Our collective tendency to compare ourselves to those wealthier than us, forgetting those with less, isn’t just a quirk of human character or a testament to our selective social blindness. Thorstein Veblen, the 20th Century economist who coined the terms “conspicuous consumption” and “invidious comparisons,” first pointed out how individuals use luxury goods to show off their social status. As early as 1899, Veblen observed that people were living on treadmills of wealth accumulation, competing incessantly with others but rarely increasing their own well-being.

Our valuation of consumption rests on comparing ourselves to one another, and these invidious comparisons lead people from different socioeconomic backgrounds to ascribe wildly different values to the same material objects. The way we measure our social standing has far-reaching consequences, driving much of our personal life satisfaction and determining our collective impact on the environment.

Brown’s research on U.S. standards of living between 1918 and 1988 found that as family income grew over time, families tended to emulate the spending patterns of richer families, spending a larger share of their income on luxury or positional goods. As Americans’ incomes rose, they fulfilled their basic needs and then spent more and more money to showcase their wealth to others.

With rising incomes comes frivolous spending, which itself drives ever more needless consumption, all so we can try to maintain our relative standing and life satisfaction. Sherman’s research reinforces something we’ve known since the turn of the 20th Century:  luxury goods don’t add to personal well-being, and can even make people feel less happy. Feelings of social discontent and anxiety rise with growing inequality and keep people fighting to maintain their social position, leaving them unsatisfied with their new, fancier, lifestyles.

Today, the story of invidious comparison and ever-increasing consumption is also an environmental one. Weeks before COP 21, a paper by economists Thomas Piketty and Lucas Chancel reported that the world’s wealthiest are responsible for the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions by individuals. Topping the list of world high-emitters are American’s 1 percenters, who account for over 300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per person. That’s fifteen times more emissions than the average American and fifty times more than the average person worldwide, according to figures from the World Resources Institute.

Yet most Americans, not just the rich, need to dramatically reduce consumption to meet the goal set by the Paris Climate Accord:  2.1 tCO2e (tons of carbon) per person per year by 2050. The United States’ current 16.5 tCO2 per person (2014 data) means that the U.S. must reduce carbon emissions by nearly 90%. This kind of reduction is a mind-boggling challenge, yet a combination of personal lifestyle changes and activist government can create a modern economy where people live more meaningful and less materialistic lives. Lavish consumption will finally be seen as the folly it is. When we consume to keep up with our neighbors, we aren’t just failing to fulfill our own desires, we’re expending our limited emissions budget without improving our lives.

In her most recent work, Brown explores how we can restructure our economy with policies that reduce inequality, reduce carbon emissions, and live more meaningful lives. When we ask students and friends what is important to them, we tend to get answers about relationships, helping others, and using their talents to help the world. Contrary to what many economic models assume, no one says they want to consume more.

When people focus on what brings them the greatest satisfaction, and not what guarantees them an ever-increasing income, they are unwittingly practicing what we call Buddhist Economics. Brown has dedicated her recent research to understanding how individual well-being and global sustainability can be integrated to an economic framework.

When satisfaction and happiness seem to elude you, think about what you truly care about. Spend your time and money on activities that you think are meaningful and lead to a worthwhile life. Stop worrying about how to become even richer or about which luxury goods to buy. Focus on how fortunate you are with your income, job, family and friends. Privileged students like those we see around UC Berkeley should be grateful for what they have, and move beyond conspicuous consumption to find long-lasting happiness. Realize that as a Middle American, you are one of the richest people on the planet—and that if we leave our conflicted relationship with wealth behind, we can find ourselves immeasurably richer.

CEOs take to the pulpit on gun control

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2018/03/28/ceos-take-to-the-pulpit-on-gun-control/

You know their names: Emma Gonzalez (age 18); David Hogg (age 18); Naomi Wadler (age 11); Yolanda Renee King (age 9). These young people, and many more, stand at podiums to eloquently, outspokenly and loudly demand tighter gun control legislation from our political leaders following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead. They are organizing protests on the White House lawn and in cities across the U.S. and around the world.  They grace the cover of TIME magazine. They have become powerful influencers of social media content around this issue writ large. Indeed, Emma Gonzalez has more Twitter followers than the National Rifle Association. They established the madly-trending hashtag #never again.

You also recognize these names:  Blackrock, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Citigroup, First Omaha Bank, MetLife, Symantec. CEOs from these companies are joining the calls for tighter gun control laws in the wake of the Florida school shooting.  They are telling the young leaders, “We have heard you and we will use our voice and capitalistic power towards the same end.”

These firms don’t over-represent the top of the Fortune 500 company list; the vast majority of the Fortune 500 companies remain silent.  But Citigroup, 30th on the list, may have a far-reaching impact with its statement that it will no longer work with any retailer who does not enforce stricter gun control policies, such as no longer selling bump stocks or high capacity magazines.   Citi is not telling its customers how to use their cards; they are making a statement around the types of businesses with whom they will partner.  On the other side of the debate, locally-headquartered, #24 Wells Fargo says that gun control policies are not up to the bank, but should be left to the political and legislative process.

Risks vs. rewards

Corporate leaders – along with their financial bottom lines – face distinct risks when they take a stand.  They experience retribution via customer boycotts and negative social media campaigns that can damage their reputation. Delta Airlines lost tax advantages when the city of Atlanta punished them, some investors threaten divestiture, and the conservative press is lambasting them.

But these companies are also experiencing positive returns that so far seem to be outpacing the negatives.  Larger-scale social media campaigns herald their action and use of voice, customers claim they will switch to their products and services, large institutional investors, like CALSTRS, who represent a significant amount of access to capital, applaud them.

If economist Milton Friedman were alive, he likely would reprimand the CEOs using their pulpit and power.  He would surely espouse his famous belief that “the business of business is business” and that the CEO’s only role is to maximize shareholder returns, not focus on social or environmental issues.

Is this a new role for corporate leaders?  Is this the right role?  In the face of risks of customer boycotts and backlash, why do they speak out in the first place? We have seen a recent trend of corporate leaders taking a stand on issues like transgender bathrooms, gay marriage, the veracity of and need to address climate change, diversity, and gender equity.  They stepped down from President Trump’s business advisory council, triggering its demise.   Why are they choosing to do so?

CEOs as human beings

First of all, we seem to forget that CEOs are human beings; human beings who are affected by this tragedy of 17 teenagers being killed while simply getting an education, on top of other school shootings and office shootings and church shootings.  These human beings are daughters and sons and mothers and fathers, as well as and even before they were CEOs.  And these CEOs are leading other human beings who are their employees.

There is a solid business reason and related return to listen to, respond to, and retaining their employees, not to mention attracting new employees who have choices of where they work.  Ignoring and losing employees costs money.  We spend a large chunk of our days, and hence lives, at our respective places of work.  A significant number of Millennials – people who were recently teenagers like those who are standing at the podiums now — are current and future employees.  In fact, there are more Millennials in the workplace now than any other generation.  This generation is demanding that its leaders and employers take a stand on issues and causes that they care about and believe in.

Aside from employee demand, peers of CEOs are speaking out.  These peers lead competitors of their companies.  Companies exist to and win by competing.  Corporate social responsibility has become a competitive advantage for companies in attracting capital, customers, employees, and press – all of which leads to brand value.  There are costs to silence.  Simply not speaking is indeed relaying a message in that you cannot NOT communicate.

Today we live in one of the most divisive times under one of our most divisive and wildly tweeting presidents.  A growing segment of our citizens senses an increasing leadership vacuum.  Government leaders are being fired, or are leaving at their own accord, at record pace.  Our government is changing direction on environmental protection, human rights, gender equity, open borders, pacts with the WTO on fair trade, and abortion rights.

Social and political stability means economic stability, and a mercenary business leader knows she or he needs to be successful, our country needs economic stability.  Most if not all capitalism abhors instability and volatility.  If other institutions don’t act to better the social communities in which we live – and the killing of 17 innocent school children in NO way is bettering our society – we look for someone to take the lead.  The business sector is currently the focus of that gaze.

Setting expectations

In a way, corporate leaders have been given a hall pass to draft behind social, economic and political leadership, almost as free-riding citizens.  So again, is this a new role for CEOs?  Yes.  Is this a short-term role for corporate leaders?  I don’t think so.  That ship has sailed and is gaining rapid momentum.  Once one speaks out about issues, it become difficult to be silent in the face of such issues as demand increases, on both sides of the issue.

Expectations have been set.  There are self-serving and mercenary reasons for corporate leaders to speak up, but I stress that we tend to forget that companies are led by, and made up of, caring and feeling human beings.  If a 9-year-old can stand up and shout #neveragain, then of course a 50-year-old CEO must also feel compelled to. She or he is, after all, a human being with a beating heart.

 

Rapid innovations in agrifood supply chains

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2018/06/19/rapid-innovations-in-agrifood-supply-chains/

We hosted our third Agrifood Supply Chain Conference on April 18 and 19 together with Solidaridad and other wonderful sponsors. The conference was hosted at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) building in Berkeley, which houses cutting-edge institutions – the EBI and Innovative Genomics Initiative – that create new technologies affecting supply chains around the globe. The key premise of the event was that a high rate of innovation is triggering supply chains to evolve to create new products or new ways of producing existing products, in ways that are economical and meet environmental and social objectives.

The conference emphasized some of the tensions and contrasts within agricultural supply chains, and how policies can resolve or exacerbate these tensions. For example, the contrast between the supply chains for two important crops, cocoa and blueberries, was quite apparent. Cocoa originated in the Americas and production practices were established by Franciscan monks. This system has remained mostly in place to date. The crop is grown mostly in Western Africa where yields are low, trees are tall and require significant harvesting efforts. Modern inputs are rarely used, and there are concerns about labor practices and environmental ramifications. Yet, there are small, specialized producers who are producing high-value, refined varieties. Researchers have discovered new varieties that can improve productivity in the cocoa sector, but adoption of these varieties is limited due to credit constraints faced by farmers, as well as lack of investment in extension services and constraints imposed by government. Some of these constraints may be motivated by the concern that an increase in supply may lead to a drastic reduction in the price of cocoa, which is low already. One possibility that would allow improvement in productivity is to invest in nurseries that introduce higher yield cocoa varieties, and expand outreach to improve production methods, while simultaneously converting some of the land to other crops, such as palm oil. This would allow to maintain cocoa production levels, generate new sources of income, and overcome price stabilization concerns.

While cocoa is an established crop grown by traditional smallholders in developing countries, blueberries have emerged as a commercially significant crop recently. Demand for blueberries increased partly due to studies showing that they contain strong antioxidants. At the same time, supply increased as research efforts allowed for a uniform, high-quality product. Harvesting is labor-intensive, and as minimum wage rises and constraints on immigration grow, the industry is seeking out methods of automated harvesting. Blueberries, for processing, are already harvested mechanically in some cases. But there is hope that with increased precision, harvesting of blueberries for the fresh market will also be automated. In addition, there are continued efforts to increase the efficiency of production and availability to consumers, in part by designing smaller plants that can be grown in vertical farming systems.

Both the emergence of the blueberry sector and the desire to produce high-quality and sustainable cocoa reflect the agrifood sector’s emphasis on addressing consumer demands. The emergence of the organic sector is a prime example of this trend. Whole Foods has been a major promoter of organic, and their success has led other companies, like Costco and Walmart, to invest in building supply chains for organic products. The organic industry emphasizes that organic is “clean” and “natural” even though there is no significant scientific evidence of the superiority of organic products from a health perspective. Regardless, many consumers prefer organic, which leads to a price premium for these products. It also reflects a societal tension between science and ideology that may affect attitudes to agricultural biotechnology as well as climate change. Some of the people most concerned about climate change also oppose the use of biotechnology in agriculture, but modern biotechnology can be an effective tool to help address the potentially negative effects of climate change related to agricultural production. For example, genetic tools can be used to modify crop varieties to withstand changes in climatic conditions, such as droughts, floods, etc. With the introduction of gene editing tools, such as CRISPR, the capabilities of biotechnology are being enhanced even further. The likelihood of their adoption will increase if the regulation of gene editing in agriculture will balance benefits and risk. It’s clear that the major beneficiaries of many of these technologies are developing countries that suffer from food deficiencies, and are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The major challenge is to develop the capacity to create crop varieties and systems that will be appropriate for various locations and be adopted when needed given the impending consequences of climate change.

One of the major features of modern supply chains is product differentiation. It is becoming evident that food markets are bifurcated between foods that target the affluent and foods that target the rest of the population. Very often, people who can afford the price premium tend to purchase and consume organic-certified products. For some, it is because of presumed health benefits, while for others it is due to taste.  Others cite more environmentally friendly practices (restricted pesticide use), or animal welfare considerations. We are now seeing the emergence of restaurant chains, including fast food chains, that emphasize organic products. From the farmer’s perspective, this is desirable as it increases farm income. From a global perspective, it may be problematic because the supply of organic products is limited and may be taxing on the environment. Furthermore, the misleading demonization of non-organic food products may lead consumers to misallocate resources, spend extra money while gaining minimal benefit, and actually harming the environment.

A growing aspect of the food system is access to information and transparency about the supply chain. More affluent consumers are generally more interested in and are more willing to pay to be more familiar with food ingredients, and even food production methods and working conditions. The cost of providing this information is declining with information technology and there is a growing reliance on certification systems. However, developing metrics for certification systems that adequately measure positive change, such as poverty reduction and improved market access for farmers, and reduced environmental impact of farming processes is a huge challenge in itself. This is a work in progress – the track record of certification systems to date is mixed. Some indeed may reduce deforestation and eliminate forced labor, but others may be costly to farmers and won’t necessarily lead to meaningful change. Certifiers themselves need to be scrutinized in terms of their impact and their cost. Much of the certification is conducted by NGOs, but these are temporary solutions that need to be upscaled by sound regulatory systems that are enforced by national governments and integrated into a global system.

Some useful insights on certification were shared by keynote speaker Nico Roozen of Solidaridad, our conference partner this year. Solidaridad is a global not-for-profit organization working for over 45 years in the area of sustainable agrifood supply chains. Solidaridad was, in fact, the first creator of fair trade labeling. In the 1980s, Nico witnessed first-hand the social unrest and brutal massacres of the civil wars in Central America. He realized that violence can be reduced through economic empowerment to improve the lives of poor communities striving for justice and equality. He learned from farmers that what they truly wanted was a better price for their coffee, not more aid money.

These experiences inspired him to create the first fair trade label (Max Havelaar) for sustainably produced coffee in 1988, and thereafter for bananas in 1996. Nico encountered resistance from both supermarkets and activists (who were against working with business) in establishing the certification program Max Havelaar. Solaridad continues to partner with businesses and national and regional governments in their work. Despite its long history with certification, Solidaridad agrees that it’s simply not possible to certify farmers out of poverty, or stop deforestation by certifying relatively small market segments. It recognizes the limitations posed by third-party certifications and emphasizes the need for innovation to overcome their shortcomings and eventually replace them by well-functioning regulatory frameworks.

The growing demand for organic food also seems to reflect a sense of dissatisfaction among consumers with the existing agrifood system. However, the food system is evolving. The changes in the food system are outcomes of relentless innovations that tend to originate in new knowledge and development and commercialization efforts resulting in new food products and methods of production and consumption, and provide growing capacity to deal with heterogeneity.

One of the biggest problems in the agrifood system is food waste and spoilage. A significant portion of food produced in the tropics is wasted due to high moisture during harvest and storage. It results in the growth of mycotoxins, including aflatoxin, which is a source of childhood stunting, liver cancer and other medical conditions. A solution to this problem is the concept of the “dry chain” where equipment and procedures are designed to dry produce after harvesting and preserve it in a manner that protects it. While the technical components of such a system are readily available and applied in many parts of US and Europe, the main challenge is to implement similar solutions in developing countries. This entails developing the production of affordable equipment, establishing mechanisms for finance, and providing promotion and education that generate demand and result in appropriate use of the new technologies.

cof

While there is a lot to be done, the world has witnessed immense ‘quiet revolutions’ over the past fifty years, that have improved the quality, convenience, and diversity of food throughout the world, and especially in developing countries, through the introduction of enhanced value chains. We have been witnessing a process through which many technologies introduced in the US and Europe in the 1950s and 60s (e.g. refrigeration, improved storage, processed foods, supermarkets) have been transferred to Latin America and Asia in the 1980s/90s and to many parts of Africa and South Asia in the past 20 years. The diffusion of these technologies is still only partial, but it is moving very quickly, and has had significant impact on farms and agribusiness supply chains. The well-being of many farmers has drastically improved, while many others have lost, at least in relative terms.

Some of the drudgery and waste associated with food preparation is being reduced by processing, in the forms of prepackaged salads and pre-cut meats. Consumers can enjoy the process of cooking and save time with meal kit services, which deliver directly to their doors. Precision agriculture embodied by technologies like drip irrigation and new applications of information technologies and robotics allows for variable application of farm inputs at different locations and over time and improve harvesting.

All these changes are associated with the development of new creative agrifood supply chains. Many of these changes rely on local resources, yet almost all of these changes affect interdependent global supply networks. These systems can be threatened by protectionist policies that erect barriers on the transport of goods or knowledge to protect local interests. Climate change is another threat; failure to mitigate it and adapt production systems and logistical facilities to changing conditions may endanger food security and safety globally. Understanding and improving agrifood supply chains and policies are works in progress, and we will continue to engage through this workshop, that aims to provide education and exchange of knowledge in the coming years.

What does Daylight Saving Time really save?

http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2018/07/02/what-does-daylight-saving-time-really-save/

DST can coordinate societal shifts to better use of daylight…but at a cost.

You would think most states have more pressing issues to confront these days, but legislation on the measurement of time is one of the perennial favorites in our nation’s legislatures. There is always someone passionate about the horrible costs or enormous benefits of Daylight Saving Time (DST) (or, closely related, the “correct” time zone for their state). In the last few years, more than a dozen bills have been introduced to change a state’s adherence to DST.

This year, California has gotten into the game (and not for the first time). Assembly Bill 807, signed by Governor Brown last week, is a first step in a multi-part process that could eventually undo the state’s 1949 adoption of Daylight Saving Time. Advocates argue that it would avoid the semi-annual clock adjustments that disrupt our sleep and schedules, and that it would reduce energy use.

DSTdebateFig2

These proposals trigger the retelling of the probably-not-apocryphal story of the gardener who remarked that DST is wonderful because the extra sunlight makes tomatoes grow faster. Let us now pause to chuckle smugly, because we all know that DST does not change the amount of light any location receives over a 24-hour period.

Many of us, however, seem to think that the timing of human behavior is as immutable as the rotation of the earth. Op-eds, office discussions, and even news reports on the subject are filled with assertions that changing how we designate time necessarily gives us more or less time for some outdoor leisure activity, or means that we will engage in some task when it is light or dark.

It’s possible that some folks making these arguments should not have been chuckling two paragraphs ago, because they actually do think that the designation of time changes the total amount of light. But more likely, they think that humans would not adapt at all to changing what is a completely arbitrary numbering system for the hours of the day, that they would robotically still perform each activity at the same clock time. [Aside: I suppose that is an antiquated use of the term “robotically” from the days when we thought that robots, unlike humans, would have little or no ability to adapt to a changing environment. How quaint.]

Benjamin Franklin argued that DST would save energy (you knew I would get around to an energy angle), and many policymakers today use that argument to support the practice. But two excellent studies (here and here) have found essentially no impact on energy consumption. There are many reasons, but surely among them is that humans can adjust their schedules to a renaming of the hours.DSTdebateFig1

But wait, you say, I can’t simply adjust my schedule, because it depends on the schedules of dozens or hundreds of other people — my family, my coworkers, the operator of my neighborhood coffee shop, whoever controls the start time at my kids’ schools,…– and we would all have to coordinate on the readjustment.

That’s right!! The numerical designation of hours is completely arbitrary, but it is still crucial for coordinating activities. That’s why there are real benefits to adjusting those designations as the amount of daylight changes over the seasons.DSTdebateFig4DSTdebateFig5

In December, when we get about 9½ hours of daylight in Berkeley, we need those hours to accomplish everything our busy lives demand, so most of us (reluctantly) start our days before the 7:21 AM sunrise. But in the June, when we get 14½ hours of daylight, maintaining the same clock schedule would mean waking up hours after the 4:47 AM sunrise. We’d like to shift our schedule to start the day earlier in the summer, but not if stores are closed, our work hours are unchanged and our favorite morning radio/TV shows haven’t started yet.

DST coordinates a shift of all activities to start earlier on summer days when there is lots of sunlight, and later on winter days when we’d rather not leave for work — or have children leave for school — in darkness.

DST is certainly not costless. The shifts between DST and Standard time are jarring for many people. Research suggests there may be a rise in heart attacks, auto accidents and other health risks on the day after the changes, particularly the March spring forward, when we “lose an hour.” But sticking to a single time would also have adverse effects, effects we can’t measure very well today, because most of the country has been on DST since at least the 1960s.

Permanent DST would likely lead to more pedestrian accidents on winter mornings, as more adults and children venture out in darkness, with the sun rising as late as 8:21 AM in Berkeley. Permanent Standard time would likely reduce sleep hours on summer mornings as daylight pours in before 5 AM, with adverse effects on health, as well as leaving less evening time for outdoor exercise and leisure.DSTdebateFig3

Plus, there would be increased costs due to coordination failures. More workplaces, restaurants, stores and schools would establish their own idiosyncratic summer and winter hours in order to adapt to the seasonal changes in daylight. (Many hardware stores and restaurants already do this, even with the current DST shifts.) This would create a multitude of problems for the workers, students and customers who also have to deal with other institutions that would not change their hours or would change them differently.

And that’s even when the changes are communicated well to the relevant people. Inevitably, there would also be an increase in workers, students and customers arriving to find closed doors, because they forgot to check operating-hour changes.

DST’s energy impact is likely miniscule, but there are weightier arguments for and against it. I suspect that most people prefer Standard time in the winter and DST in the summer, but hate the transition between them. Still, sticking to one or the other year-round would lead to inconvenient timing of many activities or, in many cases, would increase uncoordinated seasonal schedule changes, reducing the fundamental value of standardized time.  Are the disruptive twice-yearly transitions worth it to maintain better coordination? That’s the debate we need to have about daylight saving time.

I tweet energy news stories/research/blogs most days @BorensteinS

Original post on Energy Institute at Haas blog