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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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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Ray Dalio’s Latest

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A few days ago, I happened to discover that Ray Dalio, the famed money manager from Bridgewater, had come out with a new three-volume set called Big Debt Crises. I realize this isn’t the kind of thing that would grab most people’s attention, but honestly, it’s fascinating. It is packed with hundreds of historical charts and dozens of examples from other centuries and other countries where economic mayhem took hold. Since I believe the entire globe is heading toward something catastrophic……….forewarned is forearmed. I would urge you to consider getting this book. It’s one click away.

Coming Apart

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Recently I read an interview with a fellow who said the most influential book he had read was Coming Apart by Charles Murray. I immediately bought the book and am halfway through it. I wanted to write you a review of the book, then I discovered that I had already done so six years ago! So I think my brain must be “coming apart”, but I’m going to be a lazy sumbitch and just reprint the review here, because I think it’s important:

I just finished reading the best-selling Coming Apart by Charles Murray. I confess to not having heard of the book until I saw it in the store, but the cover of a champagne glass and a crumpled beer can instantly suggested to me that I was going to enjoy this new examination of the United States and its sociological disintegration of the past half-century.

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The Joy of Charting

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I am pleased to announce my newest book, available presently only for Kindle readers: Joy of Charting. Unlike my printed books, which are typically like sixty dollars, this one is all of $2.99 (which is the lowest possible price Amazon even allows). For any of you the slightest bit interested in charting or SlopeCharts, please give it a read, since it costs less than a cup of coffee and hopefully will do you a lot more good in the long-term.

For your folks without a Kindle, a print book will be coming early next year, and I’ll certainly let you know about it here.

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