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Ben Archer

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Everything posted by Ben Archer

  1. I know China uses a lot of coal energy so I can see solar being comparatively expensive. The technology is encouraging elsewhere in the world, though. Solar power in America is growing rapidly, albeit from a small base (see chart).Last year it represented 29% of new electricity capacity, behind only natural gas at 46%. Solar output has more than doubled during Barack Obama’s time in office; GTM, a research firm, reckons it will grow another 26% in 2014. The Department of Energy wants solar to provide 27% of America’s electricity by 2050, up from less than 1% today. excerpt from The Economist "Let the sun shine" March 8 issue
  2. A good point on the licensing monopoly, thank you. I've had this discussion with a few friends who tell me that , sure we should technically be able to discriminate, but if you remember how America was during the 50's, it "not the kind of world I'd want to live in." With businesses popping up everywhere that say "No Jews/Blacks" etc. I have to wonder if America is slightly past that point, though—especially with the mob mentaility and outrage that comes from the new digital age we live in. There's lots of examples of the smallest slights against gays or blacks, that within a day go viral and end up all over upworthy
  3. I need a full–body photo of someone doing a dramatic pose that I can practice with in photoshop. Anyone hmm?

  4. Ari Armstrong posted an article about the cake baker who was threatened with fines for saying he wouldn't serve gays. Armstrong's point was that "The right to gay marriage rests on the freedom to contract—and that is precisely the freedom the court seeks to deny Phillips. If gay couples have the right to freedom of contract—and they do—then so does [the baker]" I agree with the right to discriminate...but how does this apply to "public services" like transportation? Let's say you go and start your own bus company, you might call it national city lines, when you come to sell tickets on these buses, you could stipulate that you only sold sitting tickets to people whose skin was white, because as you say, that's your "right" to "discriminate". I'm sure I wouldn't be comfortable with this, but is this the same sort of case as the baker?
  5. (actually I take back what I said...jekyll island does cover that time period now that I check)
  6. my favorite book on this is the creature from jekyll island. Although it doesnt go back as far as you're mentioning, it covers the most significant part of US central banking
  7. What we have here is someone who doesn't have the capacity to form their own argument, so they posted this here pretending it was their writing, to use this forum's replies here: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2546236
  8. She rigs the test though, the blue-eyed test is much harder and she gives the brown-eyeds the answer.
  9. I agree. This reminds me of the eye color experiment by teacher Jane Elliot. It's an important point and often very revealing (or upsetting) to whites who do participate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MYHBrJIIFU
  10. Nicky what point exactly are you trying to make? That Mandela wasn't perfect? That he did more good than evil? What is the point of comparing him to the founding fathers, or hitler? Again when it comes to the heart of the matter, you're oddly quiet.
  11. Right...that's more important actually, for context...because if you compare it to that last 15 years you're just looking at a "bubble period." Currently, the Shiller P/E ratio today is around 23. And that is about roughly half of its peak – P/E in 2000 – bubble. And a lot of people, in their minds, they say, “Oh, then that means it’s pretty cheap because it’s nowhere near the top of the market in 2000.” But the problem with that is, if you look historically, the Shiller P/E has generally always been range-bound between around 20 and around 10. That’s where most of the Shiller P/E levels have been during the market history. There are several notable exceptions to that. Stocks were incredibly expensive prior to the Great Depression, so you look in ’29, the Shiller P/E is over 30. And stocks were incredibly expensive in the big bubble of 2000, where the Shiller P/E was over 45.
  12. Well to be fair, tapering does have some history. There's been three times (four if you consider the Twist) the fed has tried to wane itself off priming the pump, and the economy contracted each time: (from http://futuremoneytrends.com/blog/?p=11797) So it's clear the market sells off indiscriminately whenever there's tapering. The period lasts 12 weeks on average and the market falls around 16% each time. if you imagine that there is gonna be a continuation of the bubble that you saw in 2000, it’s still safe to buy stocks. If you imagine that we are in the process of returning to normal levels of stock valuation—particularly if you imagine that interest rates are likely to go higher—then there’s no way we’re gonna get to positive returns buying stocks at these prices, on average, over the next ten years. The way I see it is based on shiller p/e ratios. Stocks go up when interest rates go down and valuations go up. Stocks go down when interest rates go up and valuations go down. It's a lock. And I think you’re gonna see valuations fall by around 50 percent. So I think the Shiller P/E, let’s say it ends the year around 24, 25, you’re gonna see it next year between, say, 12 or 14. And this will be great for people who have a lot of cash on the sidelines.
  13. And so begins the tapering http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/526aac6a-685c-11e3-8ada-00144feabdc0.html historically there's always been a taper tantrum, but somehow analysts are still optimistic. Seasonal patterns play a part in this
  14. If you follow bitcoin you'll have noticed that its valued plummeted recently because of FinCEN. They sent "industry outreach" letters yesterday to around a dozen firms, discussing potential compliance measures related to Bitcoin businesses. In other words… if you're a business accepting Bitcoins… the government wants you to know it's watching you. http://www.newsday.com/business/technology/bitcoin-businesses-get-u-s-treasury-warning-on-money-laundering-1.6633168 http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy-policy/2013/12/18/treasury-cautions-bitcoin-businesses-on-legal-duties/ Crow I'm not sure what you mean by which asset. If you just google asset price inflation there's plenty of info. The S&P's up 25% this year, home prices are up 17%, household wealth hit record highs (since 1945) last monday...all thanks to QE4ever.
  15. Really? Keep in mind that there's three types of inflation: consumer price, commodity price, and asset price. Now consumer price has rarely been lower than it is now, Same with commodity prices: down 25% in less than 2 years. (great time to buy silver). But asset prices are rising very sharply....simply because all this money the Fed's printing is being used to buy assets. This creates the wealth effect as people's homes go up in value...and it's the main thing driving aggregate demand. So this is the function of QE4ever. It doesn't matter how you cut the pie...the money is inflating somewhere, and worse, if QE starts to taper and aggregate demand falls, then deflation is likely. How exactly technology is going to help people repay their debt, with falling prices, is beyond me.
  16. With things heating up in the economy, I think it's wise to tighten up your stop loses if you're in the market right now. I think there could be a 50% rout in valuations by the end of next year. There's plenty of technical reasons showing huge lack of support, and extreme valuations, but also fundamental reasons, too. I'm personally raising cash and moving everything out of stocks and into other securities and physical assets by the end of the year (same thing I did in 2008/2009).
  17. S'nerd I agree on your optimism with the direction of change in South Africa...we'll have to see. The overton window is very interesting. and pretty much makes the point that we should not attempt to steal the Communists' thunder, and give credit to Mandela where its due. Now the immeasurably more difficult and subtle task of persuading the world's dispossessed that we (proponents of capitalistic ideals) are just as concerned with their lot, just as eager to aid reform as the Communists—although our promises are less tinged with paradise and our means and slogans are less dramatic than theirs. Of course that may leave us with the prior job of convincing ourselves that this indeed is the case. Then again that is the external problem. The internal problem is that as we depart, little by little, from a philosophy of laissez–faire and espouse a philosophy of active guidance, the question of social responsibility is inescapably thrust upon us. The more successful the economic mechanism, the more pressing becomes the social, political, and moral use to which that mechanism is put.
  18. Nicky: If you want to practice your infamous charm go right ahead, otherwise I'd make a point that doesn't start with assumptions on my education. SoftwareNerd: I do agree the situation is not as black everywhere (like I said) and certainly much better than it was in the 70's, especially in China and parts of India, like you mentioned. I'm speaking more in general on the political problem of isolation: most of mankind has never had, does not now have, and in all probability will never have any contact with capitalism whatsoever. Capitalism is not the dominant system of organizing man's economic activities; on the contrary–if we judge by nose–counting—it is something of a rarity, and somewhat of an antiquity at that. Even in those areas of the world—like parts of South America—where development into capitalism is theoretically still possible, it is every unlikely that the end product will much resemble the kind of world we're familiar with. When I see strange anachronisms of skyscrapers and wooden plows, airplanes and oxcarts (or Chinese steam engines) that give Latin America or China their picturesqueness, it reminds me of 17th century England, with its half–formed market economy. Of course the big difference is England ruled much of the world then. To put those changes into effect is to overthrow a whole way of life—and very often, to overthrow a government and social order wedded to that life. It takes years for a nation which is still striving to achieve widespread literacy to acquire the pool of skills and knowledge which is a requisite for even a modest economic growth. Nothing can be done overnight to relieve the dependence of many poor nations on the single crop they export to the unpredictable markets of the world. And meanwhile, to lengthen the timetable still more, a torrent of population growth washes away the small gains in production under a deluge of births. Again I don't think it's that bad everywhere. just that economic development does not hold out the easy hope that it will encourage the rise of democratically oriented, free societies. And that more likely is the prospect of authoritarian politics, strong–man governments, mild (or not so mild) dictatorships, combined with authoritarian economics , strong–man economics measures, mild or not–so–mild collectivism. I completely agree on the irony here. Unfortunately in the contest of economic systems, it doesn't matter if our political aims are ultimately more noble, more humanitarian or virtuous. Because we can't encourage a revolutionary economic policy, we are very apt to appear in the eyes of a sweated Bolivian miner or a debt–ridden Brazilian tenant farmer as defenders or reaction, while the Left plays the role of Robin Hood.
  19. It's pretty tough to remake the social and political fabric of a nation just emerging from a tradition–bound past. (nevermind economic development for now). An uncomprehending peasantry must be converted into a modern farming population; a ragged bunch of casual laborers must be made over into a disciplined work force; bazaar–minded traders must become production–minded entrepreneurs.; nepotistic and corrupt bureaucracies much change into reliable civil servants. And until those changes happen, economic development will wait. It's always drawn–out and turbulent. If it could be done quickly, that would be one thing, but unfortunately that's not the prospect when you consider the logistics of development. Granted the situation isn't that black in every underdeveloped nation. But in general the implication is plain: economic development is not a smooth evolutionary prospect. Now from our point of view, the cost of collectivism is high, because it denies political liberties and economic freedoms, among other things.. But collectivism doesn't wait for the slow, usually wasteful, growth–producing ways of the market...it just puts men where they're needed. (Stick > carrot) Despite how it looks to the West, it's not so repugnant to the East/South. The harsh discipline of collectivism is much less noticeable at the margins of humanity where life is already horribly disciplined. The loss of liberty is hardly a loss to men who've never known liberty. As a method for achieving growth, it might not work for people who have a long history of past growth; but, to people who already live in misery and despair, it might be the only way of quickly escaping an insupportable life into a better future.
  20. This is a rather large article that takes a pretty harsh stance against him. It was actually shared on facebook by an "objectivist" friend. I got a little annoyed with him because it was a few hours after his death was announced. http://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/africa/item/15888-saint-mandela-not-so-fast Of course he wasn't "perfect", but as bad as socialism or communism is, it's much better than the alternatives many faced, and much more viable at the time than ideas of capitalism or democracy.
  21. I would suggest that people read that thread before calling this an argument against inflation. It's based on a lot of assumptions and a technology that doesn't exist. The idea of it not being a political concern is based on it not existing because of this supposed technology. Also, it's a tall order to hope that everybody becomes a "sophisticated investor." You'd also have to define in what way they're sophisticated that protects them from inflation, because I know plenty of salespeople that are also called financial experts, but are no more than quants that take the subway to work.
  22. Government currency or private promissiory notes can be sued upon for dishonour, that is, if I would issue a promissory note I am legally bound to pay up or someone will take my house. In case of government backed currency, it is given that it will be accepted by government and courts as means of payment of debts. In case of Bitcoin it is indeed an agreement, but is not enforcable by law. For example, if in a contract I promise to pay 1000 bitcoins for something but I dont, the courts might deem the contract invalid for want of valuable consideration. Another example, if i took a loan in bitcoins worth 1B=$1000 at the time of signing, but over the period of the loan the value of bitcoin had doubled, then the court would probably uphold the debt of $1000 and not of 1B, given that it could be established that at the time of signing 1B was indeed worth $1000. This could be a mojor hurdle for businesses once they realise that they have no legal recourse. (I think it's interesting that bitcoin is traded primarily on Tor, which traces its origins to DARPA and is 60% sponsored by the US government)
  23. I'd like an example of how it's going to "resolve itself in various ways." I mostly agree with the summary, but I think that there was growth was very odd, since by all accounts we should've had a correction/recession. The economy's growth, particularly last quarter was very unusual if you consider how much of the budget deficit we pain off. Reductions that sharp almost always will cause a real drag on the economy because of fiscal austerity headwinds. Not to mention taxes went up. So the 1.6% growth last quarter was very significant. Also...the fact that they reduced spending for two years in a row, which hasn't happened since 1955. They're predicting the deficit will be reduced even further to $500 billion next year. This just shows you the power of Quantitative Easing. I see this as a bad thing...as talks of tapering will likely come up, given the liquidity the US government has now. I doubt the fed will taper, but even considering it will affect interest rates (which have already risen a full point on the yield on their own). Despite what PIMCO would have you believe, the Fed can not keep interest rates down. I also find the unemployment numbers extremely misleading. Bette to look at it this way: 63.2% of Americans have left the labor force. It's the lowest since 1978. A lot of these people are on entitlements or on disability, they're getting their food stamps.
  24. Oh right...even then I would've guessed the "got talent" series did better than top gear I had it wrong though: the cardboard company is Mark Lyndon Paper Enterprises, and is one of the fastest growing (10x growth in exports last decade) and best performing. Seems I derailed the immigration talk So for illegal immigrants: offer them permanent residency, and bar them from citizenship.
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