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prosperity

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Everything posted by prosperity

  1. What Is An Investment?

    A recent debate I've been having brought up the question in my mind of what actually constitutes an investment. This is something that I assumed that I knew having learned what I know from various textbooks, taped lectures, etc. etc. that I needed for my career. However, I'd like to "chew" on this concept with other forum members who are much better with epistemology, specifically definitions, than I am. My own understanding of investing is some asset or some thing which you can contribute money, time, etc. to, and you have an expectation of reasonably predictable appreciation and income in the future from that thing you are investing in. I'm not sure if that captures the essentials though. It's been a while since I've listened to it, but I also think I am generally in agreement with the definition presented by Yaron Brook in a taped lecture I listened to a few years ago on investing. A quick search online brought up Ayn Rand's understanding of the concept "investment": The last paragraph is of special significance to me because over the past 5 or so years, it has led me to some interesting ideas (at least to me). One of them being that real estate, when purchased as an owner-occupied residence, is not actually an investment because it doesn't generate income and as I understand it, it doesn't appreciate in real terms or wouldn't if there was no government intervention into the market. Though, the common perception of all real estate purchases is that real estate is an investment. Note that I'm not talking about whether owner-occupied real estate is a good or bad investment, but whether it constitutes an investment at all. I also want to express that I think commercial real estate seems to be an investment, or a quasi-investment, simply due to the rents being generated...though it may not always be a great or even a good investment. As far as I understand real estate, it seems to preserve wealth more than creating it as such. It also seems like, to the extent that real estate does appreciate, it is due to government intervention in the housing market through entities like the FHA creating artificial demand, low interest rates, etc. etc.. I've often wondered if, left on a free market, real estate in any given area would increase in value until leasing became cheaper/more economical in that area and then real estate prices would even out and remain relatively stable, neither appreciating nor depreciating very much. Or, maybe they would gently swing back and forth depending on whether it was a buyers or renter's market. In any case, what I'm wondering is if anyone wants to help me work through capturing the essentials of the concept "investing" and WHY those essentials are the essentials? In particular, the only issues I seem to be having is where to place "real estate", though at this point and for quite some time, I've never thought of owner-occupied as a true investment. It's interesting that even financial planning textbooks, and books on investing, often have somewhat open ended definitions for these terms and opt to define them ostensively.
  2. "The Perfect Woman"

    Something I thought that would be amazing (not for "girlfriend" purposes, but in general, as an assistant). http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2023392.ece
  3. WTB: Peikoff Lectures

    I want to buy any (ultimately all) of these lectures. Please tell me the price you will sell them for. Preferably CD, but if tape is all ya got I'm open to that as well: Understanding Objectivism Objectivism Through Induction Principles of Grammar Philosophy of Education Objective Communication The History of Philosophy Introduction to Logic Judging, Feeling and Not Being Moralistic
  4. I think I might have to leave objectivism

    I have been at this for a long time and it wasn't until recently that I decided to take a different approach to learning Objectivism because I am not satisfied with my level of understanding of it. I think that it's tough to say you fully agree with Ayn Rand's philosophy until you've learned it through induction. Likewise, it's easy to say you disagree with certain aspects of Objectivism while misinterpreting them or not fully understanding them. One could say, "I disagree with this aspect of Objectivism insofar as I understand it". Problem is, if it wasn't learned through induction, how strongly are you willing or able to defend your disagreement? Likewise, when you agree, are you able to show how you arrived at your conclusion? Or, have you merely memorized what you read out of the many books on the subject? In this example, do you really understand the nature of rights in the role and function of Government? That's not meant to be insulting. I think it actually happens frequently that Oists have some grasp, and may even have a very good grasp, of an Objectivist principle but perhaps have not "nailed it". David
  5. Raleigh/Durham Research Triangle Area

    That's awesome! I'll take quality over quantity any day Hmmm, seems like with professors and intellectuals, you'd end up with students and other activism starting to form. It's exciting to hear the word "emerging" as opposed to "dying".
  6. Raleigh/Durham Research Triangle Area

    I am kicking up an old post I will be in the area from 10/14/10 to 10/16. Checking out places to live. But, always interested in meeting fellow Objectivists. If anyone in the area has some free time and would like to meet up, let me know! David
  7. Emotions

    Question: does anyone know of or could anyone point me in the direction of a fairly comprehensive list and definition of human emotions in the context of cognitive psychology? I have a partial list, but I am finding it surprisingly difficult to find good definitions for a wide range of human emotions. The dictionary is proving to be somewhat worthless at times as it defines emotions as a set of other emotions (i.e. "anger" is defined as - a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire." instead of "an evaluation or belief that an injustice has taken place, that somebody has done something wrong or unfair when it was under his power to do otherwise"). Perhaps I am looking subtle differences between, for example, "irritation" and "anger" and "hatred". Any help would be greatly appreciated. I already have good ones for: Anger Disappointment Frustration Panic Inadequacy Confidence Guilt Pride Lonely Bored Jealousy Envy Anxiety Happy Sad Confusion Cynical Pessimistic Optimistic Thank you for any help
  8. What Is An Investment?

    I suppose "service" (performing a service) would be a way to invest one's time?
  9. What Is An Investment?

    Assuming investing is a subcategory of savings, which I think it is, how can you invest time? That is, investment requires that you invest out of savings. Or to say another way, investing requires something produced in excess of consumption that becomes available for future production. How do you create "savings" in regards to time? I realize people use phrases like "investing my time" or "free time" or "extra time", but in a literal sense it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense (at least as far as my understanding of the concept). If I am to assume that time is the measurement of motion, I guess another related question would be how do you produce and consume it? Does it apply to all forms of measurement? Can you consume and produce pounds? Or inches? If so, can you invest miles or kilograms?
  10. What Is An Investment?

    Thank you everyone for your input. I am more convinced that "investment" is a subcategory of "savings". That things like "time", for example, cannot be invested because "time" is a measure of motion. Investment implies that you have something to invest. To invest, you would need there to be "extra" or "excess" over what is being consumed. But time, in this example, is not really subject to "excess". It's not produced, it simply is. The same could be said for land, or gold, or any other metaphysically given fact of reality I suppose. But, this would create an interesting situation in that while land would not be "investable", a real estate business could be, simply because of the rents one collects. But the investment is the business of renting, not the real estate as such. Does this entire argument hold up? One question I have is what accounts for the value of art? Because, art is often seen as an "investment". Yet, I'm not sure if it actually has any real appreciation. Sure, the socially objective value of some pieces of artwork amounts to more than others. Some artists are also worth more than others in terms of skill and ability. But, what accounts for the price of the Mona Lisa vs the price of a local artist selling a portrait of a woman for $200?
  11. What Is An Investment?

    ...well, stocks do not represent full fractional ownership. They represent partial ownership with limited liability. Always have. Remember that corporations themselves are set up with limited liability in regards to all of the owners, officers, etc. This translates over to stockholders, creating another layer of limited liability. It also creates restrictions on what partial owners can and cannot do. I think they're still investments. This is why you can't go down to the business's office and just start walking out the door with a chair or a ream of paper. Likewise, if the business goes bankrupt, the creditors can't come after your personal assets. Limited liability is a key feature for stocks. If that element didn't exist, then I don't know as if anyone would invest in stocks. As to the definition, I'm not sure that that Graham captures the essentials-his abilities as a stock analyst notwithstanding (and I do thing he is probably the best there is when it comes to stock analysis). I think I would tend to agree with what I know about the concept of investing based on what Ayn Rand had to say about it. She seems to have a good explanation for it. ******** @ khaight, thank you for bringing this up. The opposing argument to mine focused on, and I am paraphrasing, putting up any amount of capital, for any purpose, in the expectation of any profit. To me, putting up any amount of capital, for any purpose, in the expectation of any profit doesn't really capture the essentials either. I don't want to focus on, or even mention the individual that brought up the other side of the argument, because I don't think it's important. I do want to address only the substance of the argument though, because it is a common argument that is made, I think. Here is the exact, word for word, argument in opposition to my definition: However, it sounds like you are saying that the essential or defining characteristic of "investment" is the financing of future production. Or is it financing of the needs of production? (is there a difference?). Do I understand you correctly?
  12. Emotions

    It might be helpful to read some of the work done by Objectivist psychologists, like Dr Hurd, or Dr. Kenner. They seem to have a good explanation as to why emotions represent automatized thoughts. Not thoughts directly, but thoughts that have been automatized (in their verbiage).
  13. What Is An Investment?

    Yes, I am familiar with RDPD and motley fool and a lot of other financial-related books and sites. What I'd like to explore is the formation of the concept "investment" (perhaps this should have gone into the "epistemology" section of the forum????), what are the essentials, an objective definition, etc.. I think if I said "stocks are an investment", no one would disagree. Some might argue over whether they were good or bad investments, but everyone would agree that they constitute an investment. What I am looking to "chew" over is the concept "investment" and then how it relates to "residential real estate" or "owner-occupied real estate" or however you wish to phrase it.
  14. What Is An Investment?

    Yes, exactly! This is why I wanted to make a distinction between owner occupied and commercial or "business" oriented real estate. So, on being a landlord and running a business, I could be swayed to think of that as "investment".
  15. Emotions

    I said emotions are automatized thoughts. You are not really providing any clarity to the definition, though what you are saying is still true. Finish your sentence...evaluations of reality based on what? ....on thoughts. Or, if you prefer, on ideas. If they weren't automatized thoughts, then one could not introspect and one could not solve emotional problems because one would have nothing to introspect about.
  16. I am surprised that no one is saying introspection. It's a tough skill, but if you practice it, it's incredibly powerful.
  17. Emotions

    I think where Grames is correct is in saying that if you were to say "this is what I mean by anger", it would be difficult because you have to be able to "point" to it saying "here, this is anger". I was hoping my example of what I meant by "definition" would have cleared up any confusion, but it did not. And, they can be defined in the way I did, otherwise introspection would be impossible. So, let me rephrase, because apparently I did not communicate my idea clearly enough. Emotions are automatized thoughts. I'm looking for the ideas underlying a wide range of emotions. I have some, but want to know if anyone can help me out with more complex emotions not listed. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you. Thanks Hairnet. I think though that what I'm finding there is the same issue I'm having with the dictionary.
  18. Objectivism and Dating

    I agree, that was terrible advice. Communicate your wants effectively before making a decision.
  19. Objectivism and Dating

    To say that this is yet another misunderstanding and misapplication of the virtue of selfishness on his part might be a little premature. I've heard of this kind of thing before though. It is absolutely OK for a man to take his sweetheart out to dinner, IF he finds her a value in his life and he likes that kind of thing. It seems that you do. How important is it to you? Does he like that kind of thing? Keep in mind that if he doesn't, it's not right to ask him that he make it important to him. I also noticed that you said that you are confused as to how you SHOULD feel. Forget about that. Honestly. Forget about how you ought to feel and only pay attention to how you actually do feel. It makes introspection a lot easier. The underlying ideas will tell you whether the basis of your feelings are rational or not. I think everyone who suggested that you ask him is on the right track. I also think framing it properly is important so that you come off as sincere. If this really bothers you, and it sounds like it does, I think the most tactful and direct way is to just state it plainly: "(whatever his name is), I know that you're not trying to upset me, but I feel (however it is that you feel) about you never taking me out for a drink, taking me out on a date, carrying me across the threshold, making pina coladas for me on Friday night before the football game, whatever...and it's something that's important to me." It's important that he understands that you are sincere in your concern and not just nagging him or complaining. And then you proceed to have an adult conversation about it, keeping in mind that you're not adversaries and there's no need to actually fight over anything. If he's mature, he'll discuss it rationally with you. I can speak from experience, however, that if a woman does not express her wants to a man, the man is not going to be able to read her mind (nope, we're not mind readers) and the relationship could, depending on how serious the wants are, go down in flames just like the Hindenburg.
  20. Animals : Consumption = Brutality ?

    This is an excellent reason to meet your farmer and spend some time talking with them to: 1) get to know how they raise their animals and; 2) find out how the animals are slaughtered The farm I recently visited seems to have things pretty much under control and if they don't do the slaughtering themselves, they know who does it. The whole process from birth to my dinner plate is actually pretty fascinating.
  21. Obsession with self-image

    My take on it comes back to "of value to whom, and for what?" Forget "admirable traits in society". People who work out to look good for other people are really second-handing it with their self-esteem in that respect. If you are doing it for yourself, then that's an excellent start. But then the question is "why?". Apparently, the OP has no use for big muscles, and he doesn't find them aesthetically pleasing, and that's perfectly fine. My own personal view is that-in some respects-form follows function in the muscles department. If you end up getting bulky as a result of your training because you are training to be a power-lifter, then so be it. If you get super-cut because you are trying to train for the Olympics, so be it. If you are getting toned and defined in your home gym because you are building functional strength to help you as part of your self-defense training, then so be it. You are accomplishing a goal, and the muscles and definition are the result. I also think there is an aspect of muscle definition that is aesthetically pleasing. Just as intellectual strength is an attractive quality, I think physical strength is an attractive quality (even in women, to a point).
  22. First, the person must be open to learning and to questioning his own ideas. But, aside from that, I think this is actually an excellent point to make, and it DOES NOT leave you in a "gray" area. I think most of the discussions I've had about God with other people have very quickly deteriorated into a logical fallacy. The easiest way for me to shut down the argument is to say "well, there is no proof that god exists". And you know what? I can't remember the last time someone DIDN'T fall into the "trap" as it were of arguing "well, there is no proof that God doesn't exist either". Then, if they are open to it, you can start talking about logic...as in the fallacy that follows this form: "X is true because there is no proof that X is false." ...now you have something of substance to work with. If they are open to reason, you can continue the discussion. If they are not convinced of that fallacy, ask them to prove to you that they do NOT owe you $20. If they are reasonable, they will at least stop to think. You may not fully convince them, but they'll stop and think. Maybe they'll think about how , if they lived their whole life using that method of argumentation, they would be paralyzed and paranoid about gremlins, invisible purple elephants, aliens, and ghosts, and boogiemen in their closets.
  23. Seven Years Old

    Yes, thank you very much. I've learned a lot from this forum, and visit it fairly often as I'm sure a lot of folks do. I've also met some wonderful people here.
  24. Iron Man 2

    Having seen Avatar, not realizing what it was really about until I was watching it...I have to say that even the preview for Iron Man looks better. Watching Avatar was like watching some [demented] ecologist's wet dream come to life on the big screen. I can't remember the last time I felt disgusted at the end of a movie. Even bad movies I have seen in the past I've been able to shrug off and say "oh, that was just silly"...but this was a bit of a different reaction for me. I have to say, however, the visual effects were absolutely stunning in 3D.
  25. Help me with my investment strategy

    Well, it's hard. But another factor at play is the sheer size and amount of capital they have to invest. Institutional investors may not invest in smaller companies simply because they have too much capital. I remember Warren Buffet talking about this also...the gist was that, and I am paraphrasing what he said: "it's easy to take $100 or even $1,000,000 and double it, but it's incredibly hard to double up on $1 billion or $100 billion"...in stocks, I think it's more common to see a $2 stock double to $4 than it is to see a $50 stock double to $100. Of course, it's not impossible by any means for the latter to happen...but I'm sure you can imagine the sheer amount of value creation that would have to be done to make Berkshire Hathaway's stock double in value in 12 months versus, say, some small start-up company.
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