I’m on what the English call a “holiday” in Prague. I’ve finally recovered from my jet lag and am glad I didn’t publish the first post I’d written when unable to sleep and suffering its effects.
This is the first time I’ve been to Europe in five years, six years since I was really on the continent (does Scandinavia count?). It’s also the first time I’ve been to a Slavic country, though I have been to Hungary. It’s quite beautiful. It actually feels like a coherent, rooted society unlike urban north Texas, which is really just a place to make money and go shopping. Though I like Texas, don’t get me wrong.
What also stands out, compared with Texas, are the near total absence of the waddling obese or even regular old fat people. This, combined with whatever selective process made the Slavic phenotype distribution, also means there’s, you know, impossibly high numbers of gorgeous women. So that’s pretty cool. The buildings are great too. A nice mix of everything from the middle ages up to the early 20th century, which was a good place to stop. There are plenty of 1990s and 2000s buildings, and thankfully modern architecture had become a bit less of an insult to the human spirit by that time.
One thing I want to look into over the next few years is buying property, if it is possible as a foreigner, in one of the Visegrad countries, or possibly the Baltics. I understand that one can’t do this in Poland, due to understandable concerns that the Germans would try to buy their land back, buy hopefully it can be done in some of the other high-functioning central European countries. I expect tourism to boom in central Europe in coming decades, and perhaps even for western Europeans to move here in some numbers. It’s really nice.
I was just drinking a Bitbuger shandy (about as good as it gets), and it occurred to me that with beer, there are real limits on how much trouble you can get yourself into.
Think about the really dysfunctional drinking cultures: The Irish, The Russians, The Weekend Swede, American Cowboys. All of these are fueled by spirits. Contrast this with the jolly west-Germanic-language-group beer drinker, or the various Black sea and Mediterranean sea wine cultures.
Obviously there’s an element of population adaptation here, the longer you’ve been under agriculture the more your genes have been selected to be resistant to alcoholism, and thus Italians and Lebanese are damn nigh impervious to alcoholism. I used to find it amusing when I’d drink with Finns, how I’d always be the last man standing, as my North Sea dairy farmer genes, bested their hunter-gatherer, forest-elf genes. Apparently many people in South China have a gene which makes them physically ill when they drink booze, now that’s a protective adaptation, unless you’re trying to close a business deal in Beijing, but that’s a story for another time.
The point is that we should be discouraging kids from drinking hard liquor, by encouraging them to drink beer. I remember back in high school all sorts of hilarious things happening because people were drinking hard liquor, or attempting toget it, which was prized in the high school party economy for its compactness and stealth properties. We should just let people aged 16 and over buy nasty light beer, 3.5% ABV or less.
Here’s a book title for you to write, if anyone has free time on his hands:
Australian Economics: How the Lucky Country Refutes the Economic Dogma of Crazy People on the Internet
Seriously, Australia should have had all sorts of booms and busts by now, what with the central banks ‘artificially’ steering interest rates. Yet it’s 25 years without a recession.
I see headlines and blog posts about “stocks at an all time high”. After the tendency of financial media to report daily changes in the DOW or S&P 500 in terms of meaningless index points, instead of % changes, this is my single biggest peeve in the area of stock discussion.
Stock prices are linked to long run expected corporate profits, and some discount rate on those profits. It doesn’t matter if many or even most traders in the market don’t play the game of forecasting corporate profits, some can be hedging, some can be randomly buying and selling. What matters is that corporate profits are ultimately what disciplines the market, you can see this in how sensitive stock prices are to individual company news, as well as central bank statements which affect the big macro aggregates and by extension aggregate corporate profits. If equity prices didn’t tend to line up with reasonable expectations of future discounted profits, there’d be free money sitting in plain sight for investors to swoop in an pick up, buying stocks cheap (or shorting dear) and waiting to reap the out-sized profits from the dividend payments and buyouts.
In an economy with inflation, or an economy with more or less no inflation, but some growth, stocks should always be drifting higher, because profits will be drifting higher. Thus, it’s nothing special at all that stocks are currently at an all time high, they should be! You know what else is at an all time high? The CPI! and Nominal GDP! and just about every other nominal spending/income aggregate series! It doesn’t mean the economy is doing particularly well, merely that stocks are slowly being bid up in line with expected long run, discounted, corporate profits. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
In general I’m disdainful of academia, and think 95% of economic research papers are much less useful than cab driving or toilet cleaning. The typical academic economist is, when you think about it, totally wasting his/her big brain, especially if he/she is not an effective teacher, and focuses on irrelevant research. In fairness though, you’d be far less likely to make the mistake of getting worked up over “all time highs” in an environment of waning monetary momentum such as ours, if you’d taken some econ classes, than if you’d learned econ from cranks on the internet with no training in mainstream macro. So anyway, don’t get worked up over all time highs, look at the big picture.
If we’re going to have a democracy we might as well set it up for maximum drama.
Here’s what we should do: instead of have the general election on one day, we should spread it out over months, like the primaries. Have an few states vote every week for like six weeks. That’d be exciting, and would mean more debates.
Scott Adams says we should demand drug tests of our elected overlords. I think this makes a lot of sense. Crooked Hillary looks to be struggling with a seizure and balance disorder, and may have some sort of head-and-neck cancer or HPV given her coughing and the mysterious lesion on her tongue. Trump is probably on testosterone replacement therapy, given how vigorous he is at age 70. Though perhaps Melania is a form of natural TRT. We should demand blood samples at the first debate!
A contact sent me the this recent interview between Chuck Todd and Wikileaks boss Julian Assange
It’s well worth watching, Assange is someone who’s stepped back into relevance in a big way with the DNC leaks and promises of more on Crooked Hillary. There are two things I’d like to point out in addition to sharing this with you.
- Notice Assange’s face the moment after Todd says “foreign government” for the first time. He starts blinking rapidly, giving away that it’s probably a foreign government, or at least that he suspects it is. What Assange should do is hire a neutral person (such as me) who doesn’t know the source, to be spokesman.
- Mark how Todd wastes an 11 minute interview worrying about who the source is, and not the fact that the Democratic National Committee sabotaged Bernie Sanders. It’s not irrelevant here to point out that Todd was exposed in Assange’s leak as a shill for corrupt, husky-voiced, party boss Debbie Wassermann-Schultz . Say what you will about dirty communist Bernie, but he shops at Hannaford’s Supermarket off North Ave. Bernie once snatched a head of lettuce my sister was going for, he’s real people, not a Davos Man.
Really think about what #2 means. We basically don’t live in a democratic system, but instead, in a managed oligarchy. We were supposed to choose between low-energy Jeb Bush and Crooked Hillary. Trump snuck in and befouled the punch bowl (spoiling the party), and Bernie would have without this DNC-media-Clinton collusion. Why won’t the media focus on this massive issue? It’s the story of the year in my opinion, not who leaked the information.
UPDATE Aug-10-2016: Looks like I was wrong, Assange now suggests a murdered DNC staffer was the leaker!