Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

OPEC Begins

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Over the long Easter weekend, I wanted to share a few excerpts from my financial history book, Panic, Progress, and Prosperity. Here’s today’s piece:

No other commodity in the modern age has affected the world stage as much as oil. As a basis for any modern economy, crude oil is second only to water as the liquid perceived as vital to life, and the global political stage – particularly since 1970 – has been largely shaped by the price movement of oil in the financial markets. No wars have been fought over corn, pork bellies, or gold. In modern rhetoric, oil has been made the figurative equal of blood.

The popular perception of OPEC is that it is an all-powerful cartel of Middle Eastern countries that has unilaterally set the worldwide price of crude oil to maximize profits, to the chagrin of industrialized Western countries beholden to its decisions. The truth is far afield from this set of common assumptions.

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Decision 2024

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Now that the long-awaited Mueller investigation is done, the predictable camps have formed: one calling for impeachment, and another wanting to just put the entire matter to rest forever. In a few weeks, the latter camp will succeed.

But I think it is more worthwhile to look ahead – – far ahead – – to anticipate what might be next. A combination of history, politics, and financial markets blend together into some intriguing possibilities, and I would like to offer my own theory as to what the next six years may hold.

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Swamp Land

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Over the long Easter weekend, I wanted to share a few excerpts from my financial history book, Panic, Progress, and Prosperity. Here’s today’s piece:

The growth of the middle class and the availability of the car also created a land boom peculiar to American history – that of Florida. Between 1920 and 1925, the population of the state grew from 968,470 to 1,263,540, and most of this was prompted by an urgent desire to acquire property that was believed to be an almost sure-fire certain investment.

In the end, it would be discovered that Florida was not perfect, and that between the heat, mosquitoes, and hurricanes, Florida had problems just like anywhere else in the country. But to a nation relatively naïve about the potential paradise in the panhandle, the allure of a tropical splendor in the continental U.S. was too much to resist.

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