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Everything posted by aa3

  1. I spent a few years as a moderately successful stock trader. In retrospec it was so obviously when the big fall started that it would come down and test 3500. And how the big bull market in the mid 2000's that I was by pure good luck riding was just to retest the 2000 highs. It looks to be in one of those triangles now where direction is not certain but there is a tightening range. The dow crash started on one of those I remember chart watching and the range got tighter and tigher. Until it was just a horizontal line basically... and then it exploded down. For now the FTSE looks pretty happy in that 5000-6000 range.
  2. The human brain according to Kurzweil's estimates, (which is based on an average of 20 estimates done around the world), can do 20 million billion calculations a second. 20 Petaflops of performance. Its how we can be walking down the street interpreting dozens of objects simultaneously, controlling hundreds of muscles whose each movement effects the center of gravity, thus having to think subconciously moves ahead, while talking on their Iphone. When I started thinking about it, computers were just nearing 1 billion calculations a second (for $1,000). So 20 million times less powerful than the brain. This was in 2000. 12 years later with the video cards processing they must near the 500 gigaflop range. Still 40,000 times out from the human brain. Its why robots have so much trouble moving around and interpreting the world. Just walking is incredibly compute intensive, because of that reality if you say lift your knee to take a step, it changes the center of gravity and direction of momentum. And things like object recognition. Take a cup and turn it on its side, and partially obscure it. A human can instantly recognize it. But for a computer it is again compute intensive. However if the trends continue by 2040 the computers will have caught up, and then will go beyond.
  3. By that logic horses should not have been worried by the advent of trucks to move goods and farm tractors to do work in the field. As now the horse's labour could be utilized elsewhere in the economy. However the American population of horses declined from 30 million in 1900 to 3 million in 2000.. even as the population of America quadrupled. It turns out the horse's labour was not needed elsewhere. So why have humans not been replaced like the horses.. well 80-90% of the jobs left are non-physical jobs. The humans are managing information. But now with the information age, a new machine, the computer is evolving and replacing those humans too. The only way we could have saved those horses from the glue factory would be to put them on horse welfare. Or as Injin and Trakiton are saying, get rid of property rights, and allow horses to roam freely (including grazing).
  4. I think you are exactly right.. when most people mean bringing democracy to say a developing country, they really mean the rule of the common law. Look at how the President of Iran won an election and is widely popular in Iran, but in the west somehow he is non-democratic.
  5. I think that is a big part of it. I personally like female sexual promiscuity, but there is severe consequences for societies(at least for open female promiscuity). One consequence ironically is a collapse in the birth rate. A reason the youth are so powerless, is they are outnumbered so much by the old. If you go to other places in the world where the young outnumber the old, there is a totally different energy in the society. NIMBYism is a dominant ideology in Britain, it is very much an old person ideology. The buildup of capital is related to families creating and passing on wealth inter-generational. In many parts of Africa where infidelity is open and rampant there is little to no formation of capital. Why would a man bother? For many young men why even bother working when you can get laid without having to? There is a reason Victorian young men would work so hard to make a stable income for themselves.. and it wasn't that they wanted nicer kitchen counter tops. Female promiscuity must lead to the collapse of the family unit, happens everytime. Even if a woman is being a good wife, realistically her husband won't be able to resist temptation of other women forever. Of course this cycle of strict conservatism and the creation of wealth, to the liberalization of sexuality to the destruction of wealth, back to the strict conservatism.. has been going on since the formation of societies.
  6. One of the genius of democracy is that whoever wins the majority of people will have voted for them. And will support them to the death, because most people won't admit they made a mistake. Its one reason I feel the way to 'win' in democracy is not to participate.
  7. Imo if the man of the house can't easily support a family on his income alone he is not middle class. More like working poor. Imagine the shame in the Victorian era for a family who was considered middle class, that the wife had to go and work for another man for financial reasons. Of course there is some relativeness to these arguments. If 95% of the male population does not make enough to support a stay at home Mum.. and we are defining the middle class as anyone between the bottom 10% and the top 10% in income.. then its a moot point. But I notice we also look at other nations that are developing and note they have a rising middle class. Although the actual definition seems elusive. To this woman I would say what I say to young adults.. accept that you are poor. Realize this isn't your parent's country anymore. This is a hard land, you have to fight if you want to make it out of poverty.. most will never make it out.
  8. I think we all know things will have to change or the downwards trends will continue. That is the joke of every week there is a new report from the economists and it is 'unexpected' that the numbers got worse. If you are a libertarian.. obviously the state is out of control. If you are a socialist you see the state granting private monopolies and those who holds the licenses getting rich. We all know the problems of bailing out bankers and giving them the fractional reserve system unchained. - I could be a multi-millionaire by the end of the month if you gave me unlimited leverage and bailed out all my losses. So why do people keep supporting the same old parties which obviously support the same old policies. Well most people in Britain still have a job, still have their house, can put food on the table, believe they have a large pension coming up, can afford beer and Tee-Vee. The actual solutions will take leaps of faith. Like getting the government out of something involves faith that free people will deal with it themselves. To stimulate the economy on a scale big enough to get things going, will involve borrowing and printing so large, that there is no turning back. There are moments in your life where you make a move that there is no turning back from. Your average sheeple will only ever make moves like that when they have no other choice. It is depressing but the gradual descent could go on for many years. It has already been going on for many years. On the other hand free thinkers can always survive and prosper. The sheeple now have a loong road ahead of them, paying off a monster mortgage, a life of debt servitude, on an asset that is stagnant or falling. And hoping for the generosity of guys like Osbourne that their pension will be protected.
  9. Since the outset of the crisis I have felt we would go Japanese at the end of the day.. its why I still remain a deflationista. Demographically, technologically, efficiency terms.. Japan is ahead of us. So they hit the challenges first. As a democracy with 125 million people the policies they have followed are very likely to be copied here. And have been basically word for word so far. The stimulus plans have been classic Japanese. Enough to keep things from breaking apart, and corporations going.. but not nearly enough to revive the economy. So month by month there is a few more unemployed young adults. Until we stop thinking about it and its just normal to have 40 year old men still living at home. The problem is the way out of this situation involves a leap of faith. Printing and borrowing absolutely gargantuan amounts for a sustained period. No one is going to take that leap while there is some semblance of an economy going. Even if their 40 year old son is living in their basement unemployed, and their 38 year old daughter needs help making the rent with her boyfriend.. as long as the rent is made and all have food, they will never take that leap. Its only when they are truly pushed to the edge that the people and thus the society is willing to believe and go for it. Otherwise the thought is always there, yes I want to believe guys like aa3 and take that leap, but if he is wrong and we have printed and borrowed that much its game over. Its only when its game over if you don't leap, and it *might* be game over if you do leap. I wonder if this potential new PM of Japan is ready to take the leap.. I want to believe it, but I've heard the last 2 Japanese PM's were finally going to print and spend their way out, only to see them stick to the same old strategy. I also get the feeling its just not bad enough there yet, although I am not actually there to see with my own eyes.
  10. I honestly believe the aristocracy went abroad in the foreign service and lived like Kings in places like Nigeria and India.. they liked it. And as the empire went away they want to recreate it here. Sane leaders would either allow building of houses and allow immigration.. or limit housing and limit immigration. But if your goal is to intentionally create slum conditions, and clear class divides.. then limiting housing and encouraging mass immigration makes perfect sense. And its not just housing, the same people want to limit water use, tear down power plants, increase motor taxes, etc.. It is a coherent, rational ideology.
  11. I guess they actually believed the rich would just lie down and give them their money. At some point the rich will have to stand up against this socialism if it really does move on their property.. on their income, for now they can flee, and do repairs and such to capital so that it doesn't have a financial profit. Another example is delaying realizing capital gains by simply not selling something, and just riding it out. B
  12. If only those rich people didn't get away.. their socialist utopia would have worked.
  13. One area to look at is their trade numbers. 1700 billion in imports last year, 1900 billion in exports. That is not that bad, and indeed China is exporting so much capital to build projects around the world it is imo balanced. Look at any area of consumption, from cars to laptops, to smart phones, to designer clothing, to meat consumption, to appliance sales.. and its all tremendous growth over time. In 2000 there was less than 5 million car sales in China, up to ~18 million in 2011. That is a 300% rise in one decade. I think the best capitalists and the people connected to the levers of power are always going to be very rich, including in democratic Britain. But say their economy grows by 8% next year, off of the base of around 9 trillion USD.. that amount to what 720 billion in new GDP. So naturally half, 360 billion is given to the 1 million most connected people. And the remaining 1,200 million people get to share the remaining 360 billion.
  14. The Germans love their austerity. The Germans have no ability to understand that an economy needs both production and consumption.
  15. At some point you are right they will face the same crisis we face here. So far the decisions have been to just redeploy manpower to infrastructure projects that needed to be built anyway. What to do when the highways and airports and housing are already built. I get the feeling that question is beyond just a political decision. In all our societies we have the morality that to get money you have to work. Like I've noted the German obsession with austerity isn't really an economic decision, its they believe they had a good decade, and now have to pay for it with sacrifice. But a lot of capitalism in the long run is getting rewards without having to work. In the end every single job will be done by machines, and done better than a human could possibly.
  16. The Chinese leadership has been increasing internal demand rapidly, the thought among western intellectuals is that they will not be able to keep increasing internal demand. But I find no reason why they would be unable to do this. In time your second point that as the power of capitalism grows, essentially the power of the central leadership would fade. I think that is a very good point. But that is going to take time. Right now the biggest capital is still state owned, and the big 4 banks are state owned. The next decade the Chinese are going to put in place the social welfare state which is going to drive demand. Interestingly the central leaderships reason for putting in place the social welfare state is not even to help people, it is to drive demand. Something the Western intellectuals have forgotten. Another reason I am so confident in China's ability to drive internal demand is that they really have no other choice. Japan can get by so far by exporting(although even that is ending now).. even though they would be far wealthier by driving internal demand their capitalist dynamic means those huge industrial companies are in control, and want to surpress internal demand and wages, to make huge profits exporting. The same as Germany's industrialists. But China is ten times larger than Japan, there is no way on earth they can survive by exporting. So they have no other choice than to drive internal demand. The industrialists in China were screaming at the governments plans of the last 5 years of increasing minimum wages and especially the plan of increasing the value of the Yuan. But China did it anyway. Investing in the London property market is for a couple of reasons. First off property rights are still in their infancy in China. While Britain we are talking many centuries of establishment. Chinese buyers are also in Singapore, Canada, Australia and the USA. Anywhere the common law rules. Secondly because of the widespread corruption in the country, there is always the chance they will be the unlucky one targetted and forced to flee.. or at least their family. Having like £10 million in the London market protects their family forever. An analogy is someone who has £100 million in net worth, who holds £10 million in physical gold. Its just incase everything goes to hell, they still are protected for life financially. In many ways the London property market is better than gold for that purpose... gold can be confiscated. Latin American super rich always buy property in Miami, Florida. Its a great holding place for their wealth. In the long run China needs to institute the common law and have it mature, to be like Singapore. But that is a very long process, like a century.
  17. I think they skipped some parts of the historic fascism. Like certainly government would give huge contracts to connected family owned industrial companies. But those companies had to carry out the state's wishes such as high paying stable jobs for people, and actually fulfill the contracts. For example say BAE systems wins another contract to deliver world competitive submarines.. but instead finds an Indian shipyard and delivers a boat that floats, but alas can't dive down.
  18. Have a feeling you are right. For communism to go away in Eastern Europe it had to fail tot he point that basic neccessities like food were not being provided. The problem for any managers in any monopoly is there is no consequences for failure. Except the final failure where the host dies.
  19. Good point about the European problem. I believe a currency needs political union. Like when California was in severe trouble they could still rely on social security, national health care funding, food stamps, unemployment insurance, military spending, etc. About 30% of their GDP is federal spending, compared to 2% in Europe. What would normally happen with say Greece is the government would print which would save the financial situation but also significantly devalue the money held by the very wealthy. Now they don't have a way out, and like you said the Northwestern European countries are not eager to bail out Greeks. China doesn't face that problem of stimulus spending to foreigners, and even for East Asia, China is so vast they can carry them on their backs if they felt like it. The East Asian nations are also not Greece; like Taiwan, South Korea and friends are amongst the most productive nations per capita. They don't want handouts, they want markets for their products. I think China will slowdown, but maybe to 6% or 8%. They still only have a per capita GDP of $6,000 in nominal dollars. Another doubling only takes them to $12,000. Which would only take producing 1/3rd what Britain does per capita.
  20. He says its funny as a lower level manager he was fighting against the evil guys above him who wanted to outsource. And now as an upper level manager he is the guy outsourcing. Like the posters on this thread say it is fascism. But something to think about is fascism works. When Franco ruled Spain a normal man in an ordinary job could afford a house and support a family. Now in the democratic utopia of Spain, that man doesn't even have a job at all.
  21. There is definately a belief in our society that government is god. Any bad thing that happens and people are saying the government must solve it. They view the government as both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. Hence the belief that it is god. A majority of the population spends their whole life in government. As a child in the government schools, then off to the government universities. And then to work for the government. 50% of the working population works either directly or for a contractor to the government. If they get sick its off to a government hospital. And when they retire onto a government pension. A lot of this is the nature of capitalism in 2012, it is so wildly productive that a majority of the population is not needed in production. So over the last century we have created endless jobs for people in the government. The problem I see is when those millions of people working for the government start harrasing the golden goose, capitalism. If they just sat in their offices and collected their pay cheques it would not be a problem. But when they regulate and harrass companies to the point those companies decide to relocate elsewhere or just shut down, then we've got a big problem. But try explaining this to the people in the government and they will look at you like you are from another planet. When I think about it in some ways it is like coming from another planet. On my planet if I don't deliver for a customer or treat them badly, they go elsewhere, and I get paid nothing.
  22. To give the otehr side of the argument I am friends with a man who is high up in government and is working on a plan to outsource a substantial amount of work. Now unlike this plan they are not giving exclusive monopoly contract to one firm for ten years. Their plan is creating a competitive marketplace where firms can wait for the government to do the work, or chose to pay for accredited contractors of their choice. Round 1 will have 6 accredited contractors, in time more will be added. (They debated adding as many as 40, but integration training has to be done between the contractors and the government division so was not realistic). They are creating a marketplace. My friend used to be against outsourcing work so I have talked to him over time about why he changed his opinion. He said its not about money. It is that the bureaucracy in the government is so huge and growing all the time, that they reach points where they simply are unable to do the work. To try and actually get the council workers to work is near impossible, and involves many intermediaries. When they are ready to work, there is a crushing bureaucracy stopping every action. Like trying to hire someone has to go through multiple approvals, all of whom have their own interests. In the end the only solution is to have the work done by firms in the private sector. And if one firm in the private sector becomes a dysfunctional bureaucracy then they will lose out on the bids. If one contractor's workers are refusing to work.. that is their problem, not the government's. Outsourcing is also a relative term. For example when the electrical system in a government building is malfunctioning, few people think the government should have their own electricians to fix the problem. They 'outsource' by opening the phone book and calling an electrician in. Likewise no one thinks the government should build their own cars or build their own computers. They purchase those on the free market. What they are doing is extending this. So not only do they buy the computers on the marketplace, but also hire IT firms to come in and manage their IT systems.. instead of trying to do it in house.
  23. Every year for the last 15 years the British and American press has been speculating that China's economy is on the edge of failing, that soon there will be mass defaults. In that time their economy has at least quadrupled in real terms. Something they are not factoring in is that the state can overcome the problems as they emerge. For example the great recession caused 30-40 million Chinese citizens to lose their jobs in the factories and ancillary industries. So the stimulus plan came within a few months that re-directed ~40 million workers to infrastructure projects. As the economy rebounded and there was overheating starting, the government tightened credit, and slowed down approvals for new projects. Another slowdown has been coming, so the Chinese government is loosening credit. There is also a new project, the construction of 40 million low income housing units across the country. Equivalent of 2 million housing units in the UK. This is what capable leadership can do. Any crisis that emerges they simply change course and bring out solutions to the new challenges. Its sort of ironic that a one party communist state can be so pragmatic. Imo this is the problem in Europe. Ok a big economic downturn came as it always does. But instead of a massive stimulus projects we got austerity. I believe the austerity is for ideological and even religious reasons, not pragmatism.
  24. Reminds me I was at the post office chatting with a guy who was angry at how busy it was on the roads that day. He said its because its a Friday and the government workforce is off. And I responded that makes sense, if you look in modern Britain 50-60% of the working population works for the government. Then he said 'Isn't it terrible how many days off they take'. And I responded, 'actually it would be a better world if they took every day off and we just direct depositing their pay cheque'. Honestly in 2012 where we have surplus of everything we just need busy work for people, its not like the NHS would miss the communications outreach diversity vice president if they just don't show up on Monday.
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