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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reader Mail #28

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers:

Today’s word is bipartisan:

The word is used to describe a situation where two parties have ideas that are so atrocious individually that they could never be supported, but so important to the parties that they cannot be abandoned. Thus the parties compromise and both get what they want. The Republicans get what they want, and the Democrats get what they want, and the taxpayer gets the bill.

I liked this post on MacRaven. The government is complaining the the current crop of computer science graduates is woefully inadequate for the future.

Why would someone want to study computer science? All the computer jobs are moving outside the USA.

My experience with the programming sector is that it's way too heavily focused on specific narrow skills. Most of my experience is with C++. Most companies are asking for C# now. If you're an expert programmer, you can learn C# quickly, and rapidly be more efficient than someone who has used it for years. Unfortunately, that is not the attitude a typical hiring manager takes. Lacking technical skills themselves, they just are playing a game of buzzword bingo.

Why would someone want to enter a field where all of your experience is considered obsolete every few years? If you specialize in the "wrong" language, you will be SOL and unable to find a new job.

Would you advise your child to become a software engineer, unless they truly had a love of computers?

The ultimate problem is that the USA is not a free market. Once you're stereotyped as having a certain type of career, it's practically impossible to move to something else. The overhead for learning a new type of job isn't as high as employers pretend it is.

I liked this post on the Technology Liberation Front. It's a link to the web-based comic xkcd, definitely worth reading.

I liked this post on the Technology Liberation Front. It is about how common law developed. Common-sense judgments became formally codified as law. That is almost the opposite of how "laws" are passed now.

It's ironic that the current legal system is so messed up, that it's necessary to "re-derive" common law.

I liked this post on the Technology Liberation Front. It's about how members of Congress frequently see lobbyists as their "customers" rather than voters.

There's no place lower on the totem pole than being a constituent. They are to be avoided - buttered up if necessary, but dismissed one way or another as quickly as possible.

I also liked this bit:

A new friend I made there is involved in the State Department's new blogging effort, Dipnote (ambassadorial lingo for "diplomatic note," I take it). She described some of the reaction State Department folks have had so far to being part of an open blog. (Comments! Two-way communication - eek!)

Most red market workers hate blogs. They are accustomed to writing in a format where you can't be questioned and they have an information monopoly.

There's a commonly discussed story here and many other places about Robert Scoble getting kicked off Facebook. He wrote a script to scrape his friends' information off Facebook. He was planning to move to another social networking website. This automated scraping was considered a violation of the TOS, and he was banned.

Was it wrong for Facebook to ban him? It's their website, and they can make whatever arbitrary rules they choose.

That's the problem with using social networking sites. You're building content on someone else's website. With a blog, you're building your own personal brand. In theory, Google could kick me off Blogger. I would just move to another blog site or self-host. In practice, I don't think there's much risk of Google censoring me or kicking me off. I use Blogger for the convenient UI and free hosting.

Some people have said that social networking websites are a waste of time compared to blogging. With an RSS feed, anyone can read your blog conveniently. With multiple non-compatible social networking sites, it becomes a hassle unless you and all your friends use the same service.

I liked this post on Bill Rempel. If you know that the "Plunge Protection Team" is supporting the market, you should go long and buy!

However, there is a fallacy. You don't know exactly when and for how much the "Plunge Protection Team" is going to prop up the market. If you knew this in advance, you could profit immensely. As usual, insiders get to profit extra.

Inflation and negative real interest rates are a fundamental consequence of debt-based money. A lot of the stock market's gains are merely compensation for inflation. The Federal Reserve can always prop up the nominal value of the market by printing more money. As usual, the people with first access to the newly printed money receive the benefit.

I liked this post on, about the "New Libertarian Manifesto". It's a good read. I'm already looking for more advanced material. I also am on the lookout for ways to move from being a "theoretical anarchist" to a "practical anarchist".

I'm only going to seriously attempt counter-economic activity if the after-taxes salary is comparable to my corporate slave job! I'm not interested in sacrificing my personal lifestyle to fight the bad guys.

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. Can you be *ABSOLUTELY* sure that all the Mathematics you've learned isn't a complete lie? Can you be *PERFECTLY* sure that the axioms of arithmetic lead to a contradiction that hasn't been discovered yet? According to the incompleteness theorem, you can NEVER be certain that arithmetic as we know it isn't somehow contradictory.

Ironically, I discovered that there are some statements I used to believe MORE STRONGLY than all the Mathematics I ever learned. For example, I used to believe that "not evil equals good". After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that "good equals evil". I was willing to consider "true equals false" before I was willing to consider "good equals evil".

It's pretty scary to be absolutely and completely convinced that true equals false, especially when you know as much Mathematics as I do!

Even if you aren't sure that Mathematics has a contradiction that hasn't been discovered yet, that doesn't mean you can't use it for practical benefit. Unlike other religions, you can have doubt in science and still beneficially use it!

I liked this post on Kung-Fu Monkey, referring to this post on United Hollywood. It's about the writers' strike.

Basically, labor negotiations are negotiations between two groups of lawyers. Lawyers want their client to think the other guy is trying to screw them over as much as possible. Lawyers measure their worth to the client by how much they screwed over their opponent.

When you consider that the studios have a monopoly, the strike is really stupid! The studios could grant *ANY* demand to the writers, and just pass off the expense as higher prices. The writers want a 2.5% residual on DVDs? Go ahead and raise the DVD price by 2.5%; you have a monopoly, so people will pay it.

Basically, the studios want to screw over their workers as much as possible. The workers are trying to prevent themselves from being screwed over.

The importance of residuals is that, if a TV show or movie is successful, the writers should get a greater share of the sales as reward for their labor.

The biggest fallacy of the entire negotiation is that each writer should negotiate his own employment agreement. Why can't each writer individually negotiate what % of residual income he gets? Novice writers would get 0%. An experienced writer would be able to command a premium.

I liked this post on Techdirt. It compares Google's PageRank algorithm to how a human brain works.

According to that article, a lot of "intelligence" is knowing what information is important and what to forget. A smarter person probably doesn't have a greater raw thinking capability. He has a greater ability to decide what is important.

That explains what Math training improves a person's thinking ability. That makes it easier to understand what is worth remembering and what is worth forgetting. I don't remember the proof of the Central Limit Theorem, but I could look it up if I needed it!

I liked this post on P2P foundation. "Open-Source" has proven to be a viable model for producing software. Can this model be extended to producing tangible goods, like washing machines and air conditioners?

The answer is "Yes". This is part of the plan for an agorist revolution. With the Internet, the cost of sharing information is practically zero. Agorists will readily share information on what techniques work and what techniques don't work. It's not clear that large factories are more efficient than a handful of skilled workers manufacturing in their basement. Large factories dominate now because of the massive government subsidies they receive; it's unclear if they're profitable without these subsidies.

The analogy given is the fall of the guild system, as it was replaced by the industrial revolution. Under the guild system, workers in a guild had a monopoly backed up with government violence. In a factory, the manufacturers did not need to respect guild rules. Unfortunately, the current system has degenerated to the point where most corporations have a monopoly/oligopoly, backed up with government violence.

The guild system had tremendous inefficiencies as it collapsed. Similarly, the current corporate system has tremendous inefficiencies. Guilds and factories existed side-by-side for awhile, until the guilds collapsed. The collapse of the current economic and political system will be similar.

I liked this quote from Life, Love, and Liberty:

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

I liked this post on Overcoming Bias. They like to talk about "Bayesian Reasoning". This means that you should assign a tentative truth value to every statement you can think of. If you're a strict Bayesian thinker, you should NEVER assign a probably of exactly 0 or 1 to anything. You should assign a truth value of less than 1 to whether Bayesian Reasoning itself is valid, but that doesn't prevent you from using it!

This actually like a decent collaborative Internet project. People assign a truth value, STRICTLY between 1 and 0, for any statement they can think of. You aren't allowed to assign a truth value of 0 or 1 to any statement.

Remember: If someone assigns a truth value of exactly 1 or 0 to any statement, that's a clear indication that they're insane!

When I say "I'm certain that taxation is theft!", I really mean "I assign a truth value of 1 - 10^(-100) to the statement 'Taxation is theft!'" You could, theoretically, get me to change my mind. I haven't seen any convincing counter-arguments since I realized "Taxation is theft!"

I've heard very few stories of people deciding "Taxation is theft!" and changing their minds again later.

I also liked this post on Space and Games on the same theme.

The "spam to content" ratio on the Ron Paul forum has gotten out of hand. I'm officially abandoning that site, (but I can't resist checking occasionally!).

On a discussion forum, an effective diversion tactic by professional trolls is "Flood the forum with junk". The posting rate on the "Sound Money Subforum" went from a few per day to a huge number. With a large number of lousy posts, it isn't worth a visit. Is it professional sabotage? Is it a bunch of fools? It's impossible to tell.

I liked this article on Techdirt. Is it illegal to buy targeted ads on search keywords that are trademarked by a competitor? Courts have ruled "it's OK" multiple times, but that doesn't stop people from continuing to sue.

The irony is that one company is suing a competitor for buying ads on searches with its trademark as a keyword, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DOING THE SAME THING!

I thought this article on Techdirt was really funny. When the FBI orders a wiretap, it reimburses the telecom corporation for its expenses. The FBI has gotten very sloppy when paying its bills. Some telecom corporations have cut off the FBI from wiretapping services for nonpayment of bills!

I was offended by this article on Techdirt. You buy the rights to a domain from registrar services. You can search for available domain. Some registrars sell these search results to spammers! In other words, searching for an available domain can cause someone else to buy it ahead of you!

I liked this post on P2P foundation. It is a collection of links, primarily criticisms of Wikipedia. My favorite bit is: If you have a website that is critical of Wikipedia, then people on Wikipedia are banned from linking to your site!

There's an interesting reason why Wikipedia gets uppity about who they link to. Wikipedia has a very high PageRank. If Wikipedia links to your site, that will boost your site's PageRank tremendously. Therefore, "non-approved" sites need to have their PageRank suppressed.

I liked this post on P2P foundation. It's about the problems with Wikipedia.

If someone is serious about fixing Wikipedia's problems, they need to switch to a better engine. With a page branching and page moderation feature, all the problems with Wikipedia would disappear. I was thinking of writing such an engine myself, but I think this blog is a more effective use of my time.

If you have page branching, that eliminates all "edit wars".

If you have page moderation, that eliminates all disputes over "Which version of the page is best?"

In many ways, Wikipedia's system is *DESIGNED* to be exploitable. For example, Wikipedia bans users who lose disagreements about what should be on their site. Why should an online community *EVER* ban users? (That doesn't apply to me giving a pro-State troll a hard time here. You aren't "banned" from starting your own blog if you don't like my blog.)

I think that someone should write a better Wiki engine and fork Wikipedia. I would do it myself, but I think my time is better invested blogging. IMHO, blogs and Google Reader are MUCH BETTER for getting useful information than Wikipedia. With Google Reader, it's very easy for me to filter for blogs with good content, and unsubscribe from blogs with lousy content.

There was one point I forgot to mention about the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Allegedly, she publicly said "Osama bin Laden is dead" several times before she was killed. It was never repeated that she said this.

You can't kill Emmanuel Goldstein! That's the entire point! Public enemy #1 has to be someone who can't ever be proven dead.

What do you expect the media to say? "Osama bin Laden is dead. We can stop the war on terror now."?

I liked this post on How to Save the World. Buildings built 400 years ago frequently are better constructed and need less maintainance than newer buildings. (For now, ignore the selection bias. A building that has survived for 400 years PROBABLY was build with substantially above-average quality for its time.)

Under the current economic system, anyone who spends money is "stimulating the economy". Therefore, the incentive is to build infrastructure that rapidly breaks. Therefore, you get to spend money when you repair/rebuild it again in a few years! There is no system for long-term planning. After all, if the current economic system is going to collapse soon, it's pointless to do long-term planning!

You see all these "jobs created" by people repairing/rebuilding shoddy infrastructure. Therefore, making shoddy infrastructure must be good. This is Bastiat's "seen vs. unseen" fallacy. You don't see all the productive jobs these people would be doing instead, if they didn't have to keep fixing infrastructure. Remember, when you "create a job" via taxation, theft, or waste, you're taking away other productive work that person would have done.

I came up with another useful blogging idea. Have a "test blog". This way, you can try out post styles, new templates, and widgets without screwing up your primary blog. I'm going to try this soon.

Someone showed me this NY times article. Under pressure from the media cartel, ISPs are contemplating filtering traffic for copyrighted material.

Such filtering is impossible without completely gutting the Internet. If ISPs start filtering for copyrighted material, then BitTorrent users will start encrypting their uploads.

I don't think the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants the Internet to be killed. From the point of view of the bad guys, they see the Internet as a huge economic engine. They aren't so eager to kill the golden goose, especially when they think the US economy requires constant growth to be sustainable.

From the point of view of the legal system, there are large corporations on BOTH SIDES of the "network neutrality" issue. This means the debate will most likely be decided fairly, because both sides will spend a ton of money lobbying. In a political debate where there are large corporations arguing both sides, the debate is usually settled based on its merits.

I like this post on Is voting inherently evil? Does voting merely give legitimacy to the bad guys?

If there's a candidate you really feel strongly about, like Ron Paul, it's OK to vote for him. However, don't expect to accomplish anything. The correct advice is "Vote if you think it's an effective use of your time." If I had a choice between spending an hour voting or on some other productive activity, the other activity is probably a more effective use of my time than voting.

I liked this webpage "War is a Racket". The primary purpose of war is huge profits for the corporations who provide supplies. The soldier who is killed or injured receives nothing.

War is only "profitable" in the context of a government. Government forces people to pay for the cost of the war, via taxes. In a free market, there's no war!

If you ever see a politician who says he wants to "end war", you should ask him "You're going to eliminate the government?"

If you say "war is needed to protect us from invasion", that statement is obviously silly. Can you imagine an invasion force of 10,000 or more landing in a big US city? How far do you really think they would get? When you consider armed local police and other people with guns, an invading army wouldn't get far at all. It's much easier to overthrow a government by infiltrating the leadership, than by an outright invasion.

That article does fall short of the true solution for ending war, which is agorism.

I liked this post on micro-credit on Marginal Revolution. Real interest rates are negative. Therefore, borrowing and investing in tangible assets REALLY DOES raise the living standard of really poor people.

A lot of candidates for President are running on a theme of "Change!". Unless they're advocating for "Get rid of government", they are not going to accomplish anything useful.

Of course, the Supreme Leader of Humanity is making sure the least qualified people get elected. This will ensure the collapse of the current economic and political system.

I liked this article on P2P Foundation. Suppose Verizon started charing Google for the privilege of carrying its traffic to users. Verizon is only 9% of the market. If Google failed to meet its demand, then there would be public outrage as Verizon customers were suddenly unable to use Google. Right now, the largest ISPs only control 20% of the users. This makes it hard for them to eliminate network neutrality.

I liked this article on P2P Foundation about the corruption of Wikipedia. In general, the more a group insists "Our internal discussions must be private!", the more likely it is that group is doing something unethical.

I no longer consider Wikipedia a reliable source for controversial topics. I think a fork is inevitable, but it will start by someone who writes a better wiki engine.

I liked this post on How to Save the World. What is the optimal size of a community? It depends on the purpose. For intimacy, 5-7 people is the limit. For enterprise/economic activity, 30-60 people is the limit. For political association, 120-150 people is the limit. For mutual protection and security, 1000-2000 people is the limit. Groups larger than that tend to be dysfunctional.

However, this is the limit to the number of your PERSONAL contacts. If you have a computer-assisted tool, combined with a "6 degrees of separation" phenomenon, it is possible to have a group larger than this limit. However, organizations larger than this limit must be non-dictatorship in organization. In other words, their interactions should be dictated by market forces. When I go into the store and buy a computer, I don't have to personally oversee the details of its manufacture. I only need to trust my relationship with the store, and market forces will ensure that the product is what I desire. When I buy a computer, I'm effectively buying part of the effort of all the people who worked on its components.

I liked this article on American Awakening. Germany is declaring homeschooling to be illegal, and may be cracking down on parents who homeschool. Some people are leaving Germany for this reason.

I was disturbed this quote:

the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies"

I liked this article on Boing Boing. According to EU rules, Dublin is forbidden to provide free wi-fi.

I liked this article on Boing Boing about a community Wi-Fi network in San Francisco. In theory, if each home Wi-Fi user acted as a node in a TCP/IP network, they could replicate an Internet-like network locally.

I liked this article on St. George Blog.

An organization's own legal counsel will, given the opportunity, take it to the cleaners and bill it dry.

I didn't know xkcd had an RSS feed! That webcomic is on my "read occasionally" list, but I keep forgetting to go back for updates.

I liked this article on The Corporate Cynic. The author is low/middle management at a small corporation that was bought out by a large corporation. They are transitioning everything to the new company's system, and then firing everyone.

When asked about a retention/severance plan, the buyer company said "We're too busy right now. We're working on it." This is a *COMMON* stalling tactic. Suppose you're expected a severance bonus a year from now, and suppose $50k is enough to entice you to stick around. Suppose they stall for 6 months and then offer you $25k to stay 6 more months. At this point, the 6 months are a sunk costs; it pays to stay for 6 months for the $25k.

If you're working for a company and don't get a WRITTEN retention/severance bonus THE DAY THE DEAL IS ANNOUNCED, assume your bonus will be $0. Until you have a SPECIFIC dollar amount and payout date, any severance package is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS.

I liked this article on News Target. Drug companies have been pushing anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs to be used on children. Evidence that these drugs are harmful has been suppressed and covered up. Millions of children are now addicted to these drugs.

Anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs are *EXTREMELY* addictive. Someone undergoing withdrawal shows symptoms similar to a severe mental illness, causing the false impression that those drugs are actually needed.

If you have been damaged by these drugs, your legal recourse is zero. The government protects drug companies from liability when the promote harmful drugs. Even in the rare case where they are caught, the liability is *FAR LESS* than a year's profits. Basically, promoting and selling harmful drugs is a no-risk proposition for drug companies.

Doctors trick parents into allowing these children to take these drugs. The doctors themselves are usually unaware of the danger. In some cases, a doctor can order treatment against the parent's wishes.

I liked this post by redpillguy. About 1% of the population are incorrigible psychopaths. These are the people who are attracted to positions of power in corporations and government. These are the people who use violence to impose their will on others. The management of a corporation is not directly violent themselves, but they are the beneficiaries of government violence.

The problem is that the leaders of government and corporations are *ALREADY* almost entirely composed of psychopaths. There's no mechanism for a non-psychopath to attain a position of leadership. There is no force that unites psychopaths in cooperation like an honest and intelligent person!

Redpillguy didn't mention something important in his article. About 1% of the population are incorrigible psychopaths. Similarly, about 1% of the population are honest people, who will try to do the right thing whenever they can. The vast majority of people will follow the model set by others. If they see psychopaths are role models, they will be psychopaths. If they see honest people as role models, they will be honest. Unfortunately, the US culture holds psychopaths as role models.

Under an honest economic system, psychopaths will still exist. However, they will suffer negative consequences whenever they do something dishonest that injures someone. Under a fair economic system, psychopaths would rapidly learn to correct their behavior.

One phrase that frequently gets me annoyed is the term "government conspiracy". Government is an abstract fictional entity. A more accurate term is "conspiracy by a handful of people to enslave everyone else".

I liked this post on the Liberty Papers. MSNBC didn't invite Kucinich to a debate. Kucinich sued and a judge ordered MSNBC to invite him.

Assuming the USA had a free market, this ruling is silly. NBC is free to invite whoever they want to their debate.

The problem is that the broadcast networks and cable networks have a monopoly/oligopoly. They can effectively censor a candidate by denying him coverage.

For example, Ron Paul would be *MUCH* higher in the polls if mainstream news sources touted him at every opportunity, like they do with the "frontrunners". If Ron Paul has no chance of winning, then Ron Paul gets no news coverage. Alternatively, if Ron Paul gets no news coverage, then Ron Paul has no chance of winning. This is the Fallacy of the Converse!

I liked this article on Techdirt. was barred from offering "free shipping" in France. It was ruled an anti-competitive, illegal discount. In France, the price of books is regulated!

According to this article on Ars Technica, is refusing to comply with the court order and just paying a fine of 1000 euros per day. is now conducting a PR campaign rallying support, saying they should be allowed to offer their "free shipping" discount.

I liked this article on Techdirt. Ford said it's illegal to sell photos of your car, due to copyright concerns.

I liked this quote on Life, Love, and Liberty:

“The Bible, which is a very interesting and here and there very profound book when considered as one of the oldest surviving manifestations of human wisdom and fancy, expresses this truth very naively in its myth of original sin. Jehovah, who of all the good gods adored by men was certainly the most jealous, the most vain, the most ferocious, the most unjust, the most bloodthirsty, the most despotic, and the most hostile to human dignity and liberty-Jehovah had just created Adam and Eve, to satisfy we know not what caprice; no doubt to while away his time, which must weigh heavy on his hands in his eternal egoistic solitude, or that he might have some new slaves. He generously placed at their disposal the whole earth, with all its fruits and animals, and set but a single limit to this complete enjoyment. He expressly forbade them from touching the fruit of the tree of knowledge. He wished, therefore, that man, destitute of all understanding of himself, should remain an eternal beast, ever on all-fours before the eternal God, his creator and his master. But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.”

If you analyze it carefully, the God of Christianity is actually an Evil God! The God of Christianity is really the God of Absolute Unopposable Evil! Whenever you worship the God of Christianity, you're praying to an Evil God!

The God of Christianity is really a proxy for the God of the State. One of the most frustrating things is "You should believe without evidence." If you condition people to believe things without evidence, you're training them to be slaves. Christianity is a slave religion.

Another example of slave training is: "If you suffer now, you will be rewarded after you die." Anyone who claims to know what happens after you die is a con artist. By definition, such knowledge is unattainable. This falsehood is believed because it approximates a truth "If you work hard and learn things, you will be rewarded with benefits later (if the USA were a free market.)"

Another example of slave training is: "You should accept abuse without questioning it."

Compare a prayer to the God of Christianity with a prayer to the God of Mathematics. If you know the proper rituals, if you pray to the God of Mathematics, you actually get a useful response!

An anonymous reader is still wasting his time on trolls on a car discussion forum.

Your position is well thought out and persuasive.

There is just one minor detail.

Excuse me, correction: There is just one gaping hole in the argument.

Nothing but standard trollspeak so far.

Banks do not create money. When they loan money out, it is not, as one of your sources says, "just a bookkeeping entry." Just like you or I do, banks also have to borrow money. Some of it comes from us in the form of deposits. Most of it however, comes from the only source large enough and wealthy enough to supply that kind of money: Bill Gates. Actually, it's the federal government.

The federal government has delegated its money printing power to the Federal Reserve and the financial industry. When new money is printed, the people who get first dibs on the new money get to confiscate wealth from everyone else. These people are financial industry insiders: bank management and hedge fund managers.

Banks *DO* create money. Suppose I have $10,000 on deposit at my bank. The bank issues a fractional reserve loan for $9,000. I still have my $10,000 demand deposit, and someone else has $9,000 of new money. Banks are constrained by the amount of existing bank reserves, up to the 10x reserve ratio. Only the Federal Reserve has the power to create new bank reserves.

According to a strict interpretation of the US Constitution, Congress does *NOT* have the power to delegate its money-printing authority to a private corporation.

New money is not introduced to the economy by banks pulling it out of a hat, but instead when banks borrow it from the Federal Reserve Bank Discount Window. And even then, the Federal Reserve doesn't create money out of thin air. The money supply is constrained by the economy and people's faith in the US government. The more money it puts out, the less each dollar is worth.

New money is created by the Federal Reserve. There is no limit on how much money the Federal Reserve can create. As long as the Federal Reserve doesn't create so much money that people entirely lose faith in the US dollar, they can print as many dollars as they want.

Banks can borrow from the Federal Reserve in two ways. They can borrow at the Discount Rate, which is currently 0.5% more than the Fed Funds Rate. They can also borrow at the Fed Funds Rate. You are missing the Federal Reserve's open market operations.

The job of the Federal Reserve is to balance the money supply by controlling how much money is added into the economy. Too much will raise the rate of inflation to damaging levels; too little reduces liquidity in the economy preventing the market from functioning. It is able to add money into the economy simply due to the fact that the American economy has steadily grown increasing its value. Ultimately, the true creators of money is us, people who work and thus add value to the economy.

How is "a handful of people manging the economy" different from "a handful of people enslaving everyone"?

As an individual, I do not have the magic money printing power that banks have. My work gives value to the Federal Reserve's fiat money, but I don't make money when I work. As the US economy grows, there is deflation. When the Federal Reserve prints more money, there is inflation. The Federal Reserve tries to keep a constant rate of inflation.

Every sane person knows that "Taxation is Theft!" Similarly, and more subtle, "Inflation is Theft!"

Indeed the schema you and your sources paint has a very simple test. During economic downturns, as foreclosures increase, banks would be in a great position. They would be gaining a real asset (foreclosed property) for nothing as the money they lent out was created by them for nothing. As luck would have it, we are in an economic downturn, some even call it a recession (some luck, I know).

So, how are banks doing right now?

Your reasoning is invalid. Just because banks sometimes lose money, that does not mean the economic system is acceptable. Banks do no real work that justifies the profits they receive. Bank profits are entirely a government subsidy. The current model for the banking industry exists solely to exploit a government subsidy.

Rather poorly it turns out. They're losing money hand over fist. How can this be? The money that they had lent out for mortgages came from someplace else. And just like those nasty letters you or I get when we fail to pay our bills on time, Bank of America gets them too. Sure they can foreclose, but in times of downturn, property values tend to drop. So that million dollar McMansion you bought only sells for $600,000 and the bank is out not only $400,000 (less the amount repaid) but also the interest due to the party that lent the bank the money. Luckily for the bank the interest rate is lower than the one you or I pay and the money is financed over a much shorter period of time (generally 28 days). Get enough situations like that, and you end up like these guys.

The list given on that link is misleading. A lot of *SMALL* mortgage lenders have gone bankrupt. The big banks, such as Citigroup, Bank of America, etc., have not gone bankrupt. They are currently losing money, but they will make it up during the next boom phase of the economic cycle.

As usual, an economic boom/bust cycle is leading to consolidation of an industry. This time, it's the mortgage lending industry.

On The Ultimate Seduction Technique!, an Anonymous reader writes:

Maybe you should become a 'love doctor' lots of money to be made in that racket. have a couple of luv doctors.

That's not such a bad idea. However, you need a "reputation" before you can get anywhere with that.

The problem is that most "seduction" guides assume you're playing a master/slave game with your seduction target. Your goal is to be the dominant one in the relationship.

Ideally, the goal would be to cooperate with your seduction target. Most people confuse "cooperating with your partner" and "dominating your partner".

The reason most people don't notice is that there are two axes of intelligence/dominance. There is emotional dominance and logical dominance. People who are emotionally dominant tend to be logically submissive. People who are emotionally submissive tend to be logically dominant. Of course, "emotionally dominant" is abusive. "Intellectually dominant" means that you're thinking clearly and logically. You can't intellectually dominate someone by cheating!

I noticed something else. White women tend to be emotionally dominant and white men tend to be logically dominant. In African Americans, it tends to be the opposite. Black women tend to be logically dominant and white men tend to be emotionally dominant. That's the reason more black people are in jail than white people. This is not a genetic disposition; it is a cultural thing. It also is not universal; there are exceptions.

The problem is that two "logically dominant" people can't hook up with each other. Their mate selection strategies are incompatible, because they're both emotionally submissive.

Universally, when you see a pair of people interacting, normally one person is dominating and the other person is being submissive. Two emotionally submissive people can interact "normally" (logically), provided both are fairly strong intellectual dominants, because dominating someone logically is not abusing them.

By E-Mail, redpillguy asks:

Given the Compound Interest Paradox and bank profits, why can't one profit by buying stock in the banks and the Federal Reserve banks?

You can't directly buy stock in the Federal Reserve banks. Those shares are not publicly traded. Besides, the perk of Federal Reserve ownership is insider information regarding what the Federal Reserve is going to do. Shares of the Federal Reserve itself only profit at a rate fixed by law.

There are a couple of problems with investing in bank stocks.

First, the management gives themselves huge salaries and stock options. A lot of the Federal Reserve subsidy does not wind up in the pockets of bank shareholders, but in the pockets of bank management. After correcting for this, banks are no more or less profitable than other stock investments.

Second, suppose you were an insider who knew in advance what the Federal Reserve is going to do. Would you work at a large bank, where you have to share your gains with the shareholders? Or, would you work at a hedge fund, where you and your buddies are the shareholders? A lot of the Federal Reserve subsidy winds up in the pockets of investment funds that are not open to the general public.

The *BIGGEST* perks go to the people who know in advance what the Federal Reserve is going to do. Those people aren't going to work in a publicly traded company where they have to share their spoils with others.

On The Giant Evil Computer that Rules the World, an anonymous reader writes:

"it's impossible to be both intelligent and evil" - You're joking right?

Yes. If you're evil, there's a limit to how intelligent you can get. Evil is stupid. If evil were really intelligent, it would figure out that being evil is a bad idea. If you're intelligent and evil, you'll decide that treating people fairly is better than abusing them.

On FSK Asks - Should I Try Podcasting or Vlogging?, the responses were interesting:

Redpillguy, David_Z and an anonymous reader said that text was sufficient.

Zhwazi and another anonymous reader said that a vlog or podcast could potentially read a wider audience:

Zhwazi said:

Some things are better said in voice, some are better said in text. If you have something that you can say better in voice, vlog or podcast, go right ahead. But if you vlog, don't do what lots of people do and stare at the screen reading off it, failing to even address the camera except to have it pointing at you while you do this. It's a pet peeve of mine.

Just reading a transcript is pointless. In that case, I'm better off posting text.

I'm considering creating a standup comedy act based on my blog. I would tape them and put them up on the Internet/YouTube. Annoyingly, YouTube put a 10 minute upload cap. I would break them up into pieces or use another service.

For now, a text blog is the most efficient use of my time.

1 comment:

Ineffabelle said...

You wrote "You don't see all the productive jobs these people would be doing instead, if they didn't have to keep fixing infrastructure. Remember, when you "create a job" via taxation, theft, or waste, you're taking away other productive work that person would have done." I would add the sentence "In a free market".
In an oligopolistic fasco-capitalist market, there is a relatively fixed number of opportunities to create wealth through the oligopoly. So this kind of "churning" is a sort of welfare program for people who would otherwise be unemployed in an oligopolistic market. This is explicitly a part of the Keynesian program.

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