This is going to be a review of David Stockman’s 768-page tome The Great Deformation, and
although I never thought it was possible, it makes me angry to write this book review.
I’m not angry because I don’t like the book. On the contrary, this is the best economics book I’ve ever read. Indeed, it may be the best and most influential book I’ve ever read in my life. I only wish I had read it the moment it was published in April 2013. I only finished reading it today, and for the entire time I’ve been plowing through it, I’ve been trying to think of what I would say in this review.
Why am I angry, then, to write this? Bluntly stated, because nothing I can say will make what I want a reality. And what I want is for every literate person in the United States to read this book, cover to cover. I want them to read it. I want them to understand it. I want them to agitate for the changes that it recommends. (more…)
I was looking at the entire history of the volatility index (the oft-cited “VIX’) and found an interesting parallel. Take note of this chart
Well, today the S&P 500 finally did it: it pushed past 2,000, and it nailed a point value precisely three times – yep, 200% higher – than the March 2009 bottom.
The ascent since March 2009 has been pretty much straight-up. I was looking at the long term monthly history of the index, and the only other occurence I see of this kind of behavior in the nearly 100 years I looked at was in the last six years of the prior century.
Simply stated, the almost-straight-up bull run in the past ran from December 1994 to March 2000. That’s less than six years (64 months, to be exact). The almost-straight-up market we’re currently in has been raging for……….65 months. How about that! Here’s the chart (which, as always, you can click for a bigger version). I’ve also tinted a couple of mildly-interesting parallels along the way.
The obvious conclusion? Buy everything you can! Yellen’s got your back!
As most of you know, I was away for nearly two weeks on “vacation”. Typically, when I go somewhere new – – – even something minor, like walking into a new store – – I can typically write up some impressions I had about the place. One would think that a tour of Prague, Poland, and Berlin would evoke all kinds of prose. Strangely, virtually nothing came to mind, and I wasn’t even sure I could muster up a “post-travel” post.
A few folks asked me if I would write one, however, and I do have a few things to say, including one conclusion that surprised me. For those who don’t know me so well, an important preface is that I’m not that keen on traveling. I’m a notorious homebody, and the nuisance of planes, passports, and expensive hotels really isn’t my cup of tea. I’d rather just stay home with my dogs. But occasionally I am wrested lose from the snug of Palo Alto. (more…)
The Idiot Savant thought he should pitch in while our marvelous magnanimous multitasking maestro was mindlessly meandering the old world, tirelessly touring terrific timeless towns, torridly tasting tempting tavern table treats. Moreover, since TK’s currently globe trotting across Europe rubbing elbows with professional thieves, I thought it apropos to concentrate my questionable craft on a cunning confidential continental institution situated in Switzerland. Namely; the Bank for International Settlements, otherwise known as the BIS. The above luminous photo is of their luxurious Headquarters.
Ten times a year, once a month except in August and October, a small group of well dressed men arrives in Basel, Switzerland. Carrying elegant overnight bags and stylish brief cases, they discreetly check into the Euler Hotel, across from the railroad station. They come to this quiet city from places as disparate as Tokyo, Paris, Brasilia, London, and Washington, D.C., for the regular meeting of the most exclusive, secretive, and powerful supranational club in the world.
Here’s the third installment of my little story, the first and second of which are here and here, respectively. As before, the term “X” is used in place for a certain real name.
Our little company was now under new management. In the months to follow, our respective jobs remained more or less the same, but the interactions within the office grew both peculiar and contrived.
For example, in the arsenal of psychology tools our new owner “X” pulled from his new age bag of tricks, there was something he called “pacing”. During these pacing exercises, everyone in the company would stop whatever they were doing (to the chagrin, I imagine, of customers calling in to place orders or get technical support) and pair off, two by two, and face one another while sitting in chairs. One person would speak, and the other person would “pace” them – – that is to say, the silent person would mimic the body language of the other party. This was not to be done in a mocking way, but instead was assumed to build empathy with the other person. (more…)