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.

Rich Man’s Panic (3 of 3)

By -

During these three-day weekends, I’ll sometimes lean on my Panic Prosperity and Progress book for an interesting morsel of content for my readers. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Enjoy:

As the call rate lurched from 60% to 70% and, later, 100%, the metaphorical air supply of cash that normally enlivened the stock market was choked off. Equity prices started to sink badly, and by the afternoon of Thursday, October 24, Ransom Thomas, the president of the NYSE, went to Morgan’s office to advise him that they were going to close the stock exchange early. Morgan correctly asserted that such an act would only add to the panic and tumult, and he implored Thomas to give him time to help.

The stock market’s ascent prior to the 1907 panic, and its subsequent collapse, is represented in this price chart of the Dow Industrial Average

Rich Man’s Panic (2 of 3)

By -

During these three-day weekends, I’ll sometimes lean on my Panic Prosperity and Progress book for an interesting morsel of content for my readers. Part 1 can be found here. Enjoy:

The key to this plan was to create a “short squeeze.” For those unacquainted with short-selling, it works like this: in regular stock investing, a person buys a stock at a given price with the hope that the price will rise and, in doing so, generate a profit. Thus the old adage, “Buy low, sell high.”

Conversely, a short-seller seeks to turn this goal on its head: “Sell high, buy low.” The pursuit of profit is the same, but the timing is reversed: a person sells a stock at a price he believes is high and, in the future, he hopes to buy the stock back at a lower price.

There are certain risks to shorting stocks, though, in contrast to standard long positions. If a person buys a stock, that stock is his forever. There is nothing that can be done to take it away, unless the company itself is purchased (which typically involves a premium and is an agreeable outcome to the shareholder in such a case).


Rich Man’s Panic (1 of 3)

By -

During these three-day weekends, I’ll sometimes lean on my Panic Prosperity and Progress book for an interesting morsel of content for my readers. Enjoy:

On a chart of the financial history of the United States, the downturn which took place in stocks in 1907 is a barely-recognizable blip. What took place during that year, however, would completely alter the financial structure of the world on a permanent basis. It is an astonishing story of what the financial universe of the United States was like before the nation had its own central bank.

In the early 20th century, it was not as if the U.S. had never had a central bank to call its own. Indeed, there was one in place long before, but President Andrew Jackson let the charter of the Second Bank of the United States expire in 1836, and the banks of the U.S. relied upon one another to navigate the roiling waves of the 19th century. Unfortunately, this system produced periodic panics and bank closures on a surprisingly frequent basis, and a depositor could not be assured of the safety of his money once it was deposited within an institution.


California Gold

By -

With the focus on precious metals lately, I wanted to share a free chapter from my Panic Prosperity and Progress book about a germane period in financial history related to the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century. Enjoy!

The California Gold Rush is one of the most universally-known eras of American history, but it is also one of the most widely-misunderstood. It obviously altered the importance of California (which today reigns as one of the most important technological and business powerhouses on Earth), but it was just as important to the history of the entire nation in the decades that followed gold’s initial discovery at Sutter’s Mill.

There were not any meaningful financial markets for it to affect, but the gold rush laid the foundation for some important personal fortunes and fundamental Californian characteristics that lived far past the middle of the 19th century.


Funny Pages

By -

Long-time readers know I have an adversarial relationship with boredom. I can’t stand it. There’s a reason I wrote twenty published book by the time I was twenty years old. I get antsy. I’ve got to be creating.

Thus, last night, I was going out of my mind. There was nothing left to clean. Nothing left to organize. Hell, I’ve already done all my personal and corporate taxes months before they are due. So I decided to prowl our bookshelves for something to read. What else was I supposed to do? Watch an idiotic TV show? Come on.

I found something interesting that I had originally bought years ago for one of my beloved children. It is basically a 300 page comic book (oh, sorry, graphic novel) about Economics called, appropriately, Economix. It’s absolutely superb, and this ‘comic book’ imparts more information than over 99% of the American public understands.

I’d like to share one snippet with you in particular, which for some odd reason I find germane to ours times. The tinting is my own: