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DavidV

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Posts posted by DavidV


  1. Although I am no longer active on this forum, I was recently sent a moderation request.   I decided to post this brief introduction to my involvement with the site in case it is of interest to some of the current users.

    I created Objectivism Online in February 2003.  The original vision was much more ambitious but has gradually narrowed in scope and various social media platforms have superseded some of the original features.

    The initial membership came largely from connections I made at the 2003 Objectivist Summer Conference.

    For a number of years, this site was the primary online community for students of Objectivism on the Internet.  

    I have not been active on the site for over 10 years, but it has continued thanks to a succession of administrators:

    RationalEgoistSG - he helped complete the original vision for the site in 2003.

    AshRyan - he organized live events and supported the forum through the rapid growth phase in 2005.

    softwareNerd - he has been the de-facto leader of this forum since 2006.

    JASKN - has been running the site since softwareNerd retired in (2015?)

    I'll close with some other sites that I run on the server which hosts this forum:

    WalletRecovery.info,  my Bitcoin Wallet Recovery business

    Vellum Capital , a cryptocurrency hedge fund (in which I am a partner)

    The Free Capitalist Network, a WordPress blog network with a few dozen (free) blogs.

    RationalMind.net , my own blog, which was active from 2001-2013, until I co-founded Liberty.me , and set up my blog there.

    In addition to these projects, I am the Director of Marketing and Technology for the Foundation for Economic Education, a free market think tank founded in 1946.
    As I'm not currently active on the forum, if you want to contact me, you can find me on Facebook.

    Let me end with a plug for The Objective Standard (I've been helping Craig run the site), and the TOS-Con 2018 conference, where I will be presenting content from my forthcoming book on personal finance.  It's in Richmond, VA August 16–19 2018.


  2. On 8/8/2016 at 7:13 AM, softwareNerd said:

    Have you ever gone back and revisited which parts of that strategy was responsible for the bulk of your returns. Similarly, have you evaluated which of those assumptions turned out well?

    I've had cases where my assumptions turn out one way, but the strategy turn out different. Fortuitous when the assumptions prove false, but the strategy still works: which highlights some mistake in the link I was making between assumption and strategy.

    Let's do that now:

    I split my portfolio into 3 equal parts at start of 2009.

    I would have done better if I had gone 100% S&P 500.  It's fair to say my doomsday predictions were quite wrong (or at least too early).  I did quite a lot better than the markets in 2009 and 2010, but did not sell when gold crashed in 2013+, and slightly trailed the market from 2011 on when foreign markets stalled while the USA boomed. 
     
    In conclusion, while I had some good and bad luck, I mostly matched the overall market.  My superior returns were mostly due to luck.  The one smart thing I did was to invest every penny I had when the market was worst, specifically in the assets which suffered the most.   I that again in January 2016 with similar success.
     
    This post and the upcoming one cover the lessons I learned from investing on my own.

  3. Sorry guys, I screwed up big time.  I migrated the nightly backup, whereas I should have taken a snapshot before migrating.   I thought it would be OK because it was the middle of the night, but because of the time zone difference (I'm in Bangkok) I did not realize that the backup was done on the previous day.

     

    Then, because I did it at the last minute, the hosting account is expired.  I cannot access the latest backup without paying for another six months.

     

    Would it be a huge deal to give up on the last day of posts?  They are probably in Google's cache.


  4. Join Objectivist fantasy-fiction author Tom Liberman for a celebration of his sword-and-sorcery adventure novel, The Broken Throne

     

    http://www.spreecast.com/events/the-broken-throne

     

    This is a live video event on Spreecast, and you can watch, ask questions, and join in the community. We start at 9 EST on Tuesday night (March 3).

     

    Can a taste of freedom can turn a man against everything he has ever known?

     

    Hosted by Liberty.me LIVE.

     

    PS: The Broken Throne ebook is free to download for all Liberty.me members for a limited time. (However, you don't need to be a member to come to the event.)


  5. Human values are individual and subjective, but in modern society, money is a used as a proxy of value, in both the market and the political system. We can speak of the aspirational, world-changing dreams of both entrepreneurs and politicians, but it is money which gives their values power to act. In this way, we can see the politics and the market as mirroring each other, driven by the same self-organizing principles of individual value maximization. Many people see the political and the economic spheres as collaborative, with each making up for the gaps of the other.

    There is a fundamental difference between the market and the political process however:

    The market system is driven by the pricing mechanism and therefore selects for maximization of consumer value. The political system is driven by the electoral-bureaucratic process, and therefore selects for the maximization of political influence.

    To succeed in the market, entrepreneurs must reorganize labor and capital and delivery sufficient value to consumers to cover their expenses.

    Politicians must reorganize labor and capital in a way that maximizes their power to redirect assets from those engaged in profit-making activity (which includes every market participant) to actions which maximize the support the support of their funding base. The crucial point is that this has nothing to with intention – the capitalist may be malicious and the politician benevolent, but to the extent that they are successful in their respective spheres, they must respond to incentives. The market process incentivizes the satisfaction of consumer values, whereas the political process incentivizes the redirection of values from the voluntary sphere or consumer choices, to the involuntary sphere of political authority.

    Thus, though they are closely linked, the market and the political arena are linked directly in opposition to each other: politics feeds off the market, and cannot grow independently, as it has no capacity for independent existence. A society which forbids the market, or redirects too much market value towards the political realm quickly loses the power for political action as well. The firm exists solely for its own sake, but the State exists at the mercy of the market from which it gains its power.

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    Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/0bUJZTIYEjA/

  6. Those who oppose minor and perhaps reasonable expansions to the power of the government on the grounds that that power will inevitably be expanded abused are not necessarily committing the fallacy of the slippery slope.  Extensive precedent has shown that once any task is institutionalized in a government agency, it will forever have a lobby which is dedicated to expanding its purview and budget. No matter how rigidly and narrowly the original mission is defined, the continuing employment and power of the bureaucrats responsible for it becomes an end in itself. Perhaps one of the simplest examples of this is the list of United States Federal Agencies.

    Operating independently of market constraints, the bureaucrat has no obligation to prove his efficacy or any continuing need for his services, nor any need to balance the value of the service he provides against the cost. He works tirelessly to find new crises which must brought under his control or to worsen (usually by means of perverse economic incentives) the very problem he is tasked with solving.

    In the aggregate, the mass of bureaucrats in any given society work subvert the energy of the remaining productive people until civilization disintegrates into hyperinflation and bankruptcy. Their intentions may initially be purely benign, but their work requires ever greater degrees of evasion and mass brainwashing as they search for victims and enemies in ever wider circles of society.

    No matter how trivial the problem to the solved, once a political solution is attempted, the issue can only be expected to become worse and more expensive. Can you think of a single instance when a bureaucracy resolved the issue it was tasked with solving and fired itself?

    It should be noted that this trend also manifests in large corporations, whenever it becomes so large and vertically integrated that individual departments are able to operate outside the pressure of the market and thus outside the pricing mechanism as a means of valuing services.   Fortunately, the wealth destruction of corporations in a free economy is limited by its revenue, and it need not exhaust the entire wealth of a society in order to it collapse.

    TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?d=yIl2AUoC TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?i=DeTK4uSq TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?i=DeTK4uSq
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    Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/DeTK4uSqKrg/

  7. Hello,

     

    My web host is threatening to kick me (that is, us) out because my account has too many files (over 200,000).  One issue is that there are too many attachments for this forum.  Over the last 10+ years and many upgrades, we've accumulated some orphan files it seems.  I would like to clean them up, but it make cause broken attachments if I delete the wrong ones.  However I don't suppose it's reasonable for everyone to review all the files they've uploaded over 10 1/2 years.  I'm open to suggestions.


  8. Those who oppose minor and perhaps reasonable expansions to the power of the government on the grounds that that power will inevitably be expanded abused are not necessarily committing the fallacy of the slippery slope.  Extensive precedent has shown that once any task is institutionalized in a government agency, it will forever have a lobby which is dedicated to expanding its purview and budget. No matter how rigidly and narrowly the original mission is defined, the continuing employment and power of the bureaucrats responsible for it becomes an end in itself. Perhaps one of the simplest examples of this is the list of United States Federal Agencies.

    Operating independently of market constraints, the bureaucrat has no obligation to prove his efficacy or any continuing need for his services, nor any need to balance the value of the service he provides against the cost. He works tirelessly to find new crises which must brought under his control or to worsen (usually by means of perverse economic incentives) the very problem he is tasked with solving.

    In the aggregate, the mass of bureaucrats in any given society work subvert the energy of the remaining productive people until civilization disintegrates into hyperinflation and bankruptcy. Their intentions may initially be purely benign, but their work requires ever greater degrees of evasion and mass brainwashing as they search for victims and enemies in ever wider circles of society.

    No matter how trivial the problem to the solved, once a political solution is attempted, the issue can only be expected to become worse and more expensive. Can you think of a single instance when a bureaucracy resolved the issue it was tasked with solving and fired itself?

    It should be noted that this trend also manifests in large corporations, whenever it becomes so large and vertically integrated that individual departments are able to operate outside the pressure of the market and thus outside the pricing mechanism as a means of valuing services.   Fortunately, the wealth destruction of corporations in a free economy is limited by its revenue, and it need not exhaust the entire wealth of a society in order to it collapse.

    TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?d=yIl2AUoC TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?i=DeTK4uSq TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay?i=DeTK4uSq
    DeTK4uSqKrg

    Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/DeTK4uSqKrg/

  9. In the natural world, we can attempt understanding, but not judgement. We can ask why the lion hunts the antelope, but not whether it is right or wrong. We can feel pity for the prey, but we know that while the antelope must die for the lion to live, neither can be said to be more deserving of life. They act as they must to survive, and to judge their method of survival is as irrational as criticizing the earth for going around the sun.
    But with human action, it is different. Humans have the power to choose their way of life, and so affect their existence for better of worse. As fellow humans, we can observe the choices of others, understand their consequences, and apply the lessons to guide our own actions. And so, every human action that we observe has the potential for judgement: does this choice improve or worsen the actor’s life, and how would affect mine?
    Some people tend to judge without understanding, by following their emotions or someone else’s edicts. Others attempt to understand without judging, viewing other humans as another kind of wildlife, and themselves as the indifferent observer. Both habits lead to disaster if pursued consistently. As mortal animals, our time and resources are limited, and so we must learn from others actions which mistakes and people to avoid, and which habits and people to value. Understanding must come first; if we judge without understanding, we fail to use our primary means of survival (our mind) and enslave ourselves to whomever’s moral edicts we happen to hear first. We must attempt understanding far more often than we judge because obtaining the evidence needed to form a conclusion is never a certainty.
    The person who refuses to judge is just as much a slave to the moral edits of others as he who judges without understanding, as neither develops the ability to form his own opinions, and so both fall victim to the first preacher of right and wrong. As mortal beings, our way of life requires that we understand both the facts of nature and the facts and consequences of human action. When it comes to human choices, we must keep in mind that every action and every man-made thing carries the possibility and responsibility of moral judgment.
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    Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TruthJusticeAndTheAmericanWay/~3/A9LM23Hz4_I/

  10. 1: The computer cannot be denser than that which would create a black hole (Bekenstein bound)
    2: The temperature of the cosmic microwave background radiation sets the minimum operating temperature
    3: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Planck’s constant,E = mc2 set a maximum on the energy processing per unit mass (2 x 1047 bits per second per gram of its mass)
    4: Due to the second law of thermodynamics, there is a minimum to the energy consumption per computation (Landauer limit)

    More: Wikipedia

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  11. I'd be most worried about the hacking potential. All it takes is one news story that a large hacking attack has taken place, and people will sell like crazy, sending the price plummeting.

     

    That would make some investors very happy, because we would buy like crazy before the prices recovered.


  12. This is not a prediction, but one plausible timeline out of the many I can imagine:

    • Late 2013: The media reports that organized crime, tax evaders, and “terrorists” are using Bitcoin.
    • Early 2014: Politicians call for investigation of claims that Bitcoin is being used to facilitate illegal activities. The rhetoric is ratcheted up over the course of the year.
    • Late 2014: Bitcoin transactions have been growing exponentially for several years. The world’s established financial institutions cannot compete with the lower costs of unregulated financial markets and pressure governments to act.
    • 2015: Western governments raid and shut down all the major BitCoin exchangers and effectively kill the currency. Operators are put away for lengthy sentences, while others are found to have been cooperating with authorities for some time.
    • 2020′s: Bitcoin (or something very much like it) revives on a small scale as an underground currency and slowly grows over the next two decades.
    • 2020-2030: The US empire collapses. The EU has already fallen.
      China tries, but fails to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. People hoard gold, but governments prevent it from being effectively used as money.
    • 2030′s: 3D printing takes off. Established industries attack unlicensed home printing as a violation of their IP. The major non-affiliated (“pirate”) pattern markets are blocked from handling financial transactions, and for a while, a pirate industry matures.
    • Late 2030′s: Something very much like BitCoin resurges. This time, it has a killer app: micro payments for 3D printing patterns. Ubiquitous encryption prevents governments and corporations from monitoring transactions and hoarded gold provides the base for monetary exchange.
    • 2040′s: With much of the economy being conducted in unregulated 3D pattern markers and most transactions being conducted over BitCoin, the tax base collapses.
    • Late 2040′s: Governments seize fiat-denominated savings in a desperate power grab, but fiat money is now worthless compared to an untraceable fiat currency like Bitcoin. Governments attempt to seize real assets to replace lost income, but are met by large-scale protests backed by homemade 3D printed weapons. Mass chaos and violence follows.
    • 2050′s: Stability re-emerges, as new judicial systems evolve backed by anonymous transactions. Large states become increasingly irrelevant.
    • Late 2050′s: The last stand of centralized governments: politicians call in the military in an attempt to rebuild the surveillance state and kill digital currencies for good. Assassination markets, long used in organized crime, are turned against politicians, as the populace fights back.
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