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.

Forgive and Forget

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On Thursday, this headline caught my eye:

Let that sink in for a moment. People in this country, most of them in their late teens or early twenties, borrowed over one-fifth of a trillion dollars. That money went into the pockets of educational enterprises (with fat administrative salaries, tenured professor paychecks, and God knows what else). The people who borrowed the money blew off the debts. And now those stupid enough to be responsible are stuck holding the bag.

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Japanese Reflection (4 of 4)

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I’ve been pleasantly surprised that some of my most popular posts are excerpts from the only history book I ever wrote, Panic, Prosperity, and Progress. Over this holiday weekend, I’ll be sharing, over the course of four days, the chapter dedicated to the inflation and bursting of the Japanese bubble of the 1980s. I think you’ll find some interesting parallels with China. You can read the first part here, part two is here, and part three is here.

Equities in Japan peaked on the last trading day of the year in 1989. The Nikkei ended the year with a crescendo, and the majority of market observers agreed that the market was not overvalued. There was no reason they should not have expected 1990 to bring in more profits, since the trend has been so strong, so persistent, and so long-lived.

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Japanese Reflection (3 of 4)

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I’ve been pleasantly surprised that some of my most popular posts are excerpts from the only history book I ever wrote, Panic, Prosperity, and Progress. Over this holiday weekend, I’ll be sharing, over the course of four days, the chapter dedicated to the inflation and bursting of the Japanese bubble of the 1980s. I think you’ll find some interesting parallels with China. You can read the first part here and second part here.

Japan’s economic growth did not, of course, go unnoticed by its stock market. The Nikkei 225 index, which stood at a price level of 1929 on May 31, 1970, grew steadily to 5359 by January 31 of 1973, an expansion of 177%. By August 31, 1981, the Nikkei stood at 8019, a growth of about 315% from the 1970 level. As tremendous as those returns are, looking at the long-term chart of the Nikkei, the growth was relatively steady and, in light of the bubble to come, quite muted.

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Japanese Reflection (2 of 4)

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I’ve been pleasantly surprised that some of my most popular posts are excerpts from the only history book I ever wrote, Panic, Prosperity, and Progress. Over this holiday weekend, I’ll be sharing, over the course of four days, the chapter dedicated to the inflation and bursting of the Japanese bubble of the 1980s. I think you’ll find some interesting parallels with China. You can read the first part here.

In the early 1950s, Japan focused on what it called “priority production”, which meant a focus on basics such as coal mining, steel production, and shipbuilding. It was creating a solid foundation for the widespread industrialization that would come years later, and it helped move the country away from its former focus on farming. In the modern world, becoming proficient at industries such as steel would be more valuable than another marginal increase in rice output.

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