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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reader Mail #88

This post, via Hacker News, on "How I made a lot of money via AdSense" was amusing.

Basically, his business plan is "Take advantage of exploitable flaws in Google's search engine and AdWords/AdSense algorithm." He creates a site that specifically targets a keyword. He buys a domain for that keyword. He hires people to write filler articles for him. He buys AdWords for that keyword, and gets high SEO for that keyword. The cost of his AdWords traffic is less than his AdSense revenue.

That's the type of customer Google deserves. People write sites that specifically target defects in their search engine and advertising engine.

My blog is not a "Made for SEO" or "Made for AdSense" site. I wonder if that's the reason I have greater ad clickthrough rates than others? An ad clickthrough rate of less than 1% doesn't seem abusively high.



This article on arstechnica, via Hacker News, was interesting. Some P2P filesharing networks now have no public entry point. They're completely decentralized. The more the bad guys crack down on filesharing, all they accomplish is that they force the filesharers to use cleverer and cleverer tactics.

An agorist economy should develop similarly.



The Federal Reserve has a Twitter feed. They're announcing Fed Funds Rate statistics. That was amusing.



I liked this blog post about someone visiting APMEX headquarters.

It'd be neat to be able to buy directly from them in person. However, there probably still is a requirement that the transaction be reported to the State.

Creating a gold/silver/FRN barter network seems like a "high-reward, low-risk" way to start an agorist trading group.



This article, via Hacker News, describing a diamond heist was interesting.

Allegedly, some of the diamond dealers knew about the heist in advance. It turned out he had stolen some empty bags of diamonds. This allowed the diamond dealers to turn a huge profit. They could claim their diamonds were stolen, while they were merely storing their diamonds elsewhere.

I liked this comment:

Great story, and also gave me a flash of insight: when considering people to work with, "Would I plan a bank heist with this person?" isn't a half bad question to ask. It implies complete trust both in the person and their ability to perform.
Alternatively, "Would I perform an agorist transaction with this person?"



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Twitter now has a 100-person "recommended people to follow" list on its homepage.

Someone claims that being on that list is valuable. He offered $250k to buy a permanent spot on that list for two years.

That's amusing. A text-link-ad on Twitter's homepage is worth $250k (over two years).

Text-link-ads.com couldn't sell a single link on my blog for $20.

I never understood why anyone would be interested in Twitter.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. People have lower productivity shortly after the Daylight Savings Time change.

I recall another study saying that there's more traffic accidents the Monday after the change.

Another interesting comment said "Don't live to the West of where you work, if you commute by driving." You're driving into the rising sun in the morning, and into the setting sun in the evening. Daylight Savings time exacerbates the problem (depending on when you commute).



I liked this article, via MSN. The slang for "fired" has changed over time.



Via Google Analytics, I noticed this article on dailypaul.com, citing "Ron Paul Forums and Paid Disinformation Agents".

That sent quite a bit of traffic! I'm going to spend some effort promoting my blog there now.



I decided to try directly promoting my blog on dailypaul.com. I figured "Gold Outperformed the S&P 500 by a huge margin!" would be interesting.

[What I posted]

Over the past 10 years, gold outperformed the S&P 500 by 12% *PER YEAR* (200% total difference). That's a pretty severe discrepancy.

Check that article on my blog for the full details.

I'm always amused when the comedians on the Communism Channel (CNBC) say "People who buy gold are idiots!" Any mutual fund or hedge fund manager with the same track record as physical gold would be on CNBC every day bragging about how awesome he is.

I noticed this post citing "Ron Paul Forums and Paid Disinformation Agents" from my blog.

There's some other interesting bits on my blog besides that article. I figured I'd make some other posts here highlighting them, since that discussion drove a lot of traffic to my blog.

Recapping my conclusions from that post, there are several types of people who may troll a forum.

1. There's people who are just plain stupid. They get offended when they hear something that contradicts their brainwashing, and aggressively defend their false beliefs.
2. There's people who have a professional interest in disinformation. They might be journalists/bankers/politicians/lawyers/economists/professors/etc., whose profession depends on them not noticing the flaws in the current system. These people might not be on the direct payroll of the bad guys, but they're going to aggressively defend their false beliefs.
3. There's professional PR agents hired by a corporation. I'm convinced that drug company PR agents troll Wikipedia, censoring negative information about their drugs. Financial industry PR groups might be interested in disrupting discussions where people criticize the Federal Reserve.
4. There's spies directly planted by the State. I've heard that the police plant spies in citizen activist groups. Similarly, online discussion forums would be a target.

The trolls of type (3) and (4) are most dangerous. Spreading disinformation is their full-time job. They can easily create multiple identities and swarm a forum with disinformation. They can post, under 10-20 different identities, "FSK is wrong!", giving a superficial impression that a correct viewpoint is unpopular. They have nothing better to do than post all day. (It's their job!) They build up a huge posting track record and a high "karma" rating. Displaying the IP address of users isn't a full solution, because proxies can be used and a clever person can hide their IP address.

Professional disinformation agents can easily disrupt discussion, because the average person won't post unless he feels strongly about an issue. According to my Google Analytics statistics, most of my regular readers lurk and only a tiny minority leave comments.

On a Ron Paul forum, I'd be very suspicious of anyone who defends the Federal Reserve, the income tax, or big government. Anybody who supports any of those isn't really listening or understanding Ron Paul.

I got frustrated arguing with trolls/idiots on the other Ron Paul forum, and decided to start my own blog.

[/What I posted]

Someone commented (user PortlandOregon):

Productive labor will always outperform gold. Therefore, FSK's analysis is invalid.

Investing in the stock market is *NOT* the same as productive labor. Corporate management will always line their own pockets ahead of advocating for shareholders. For this reason, gold (with a 0% inflation-adjusted return) should outperform the stock market.

If you buy shares of stock, you don't actually get full allodial title. As a small shareholder, you can't prevent management from granting themselves stock/options, diluting your ownership. You can't prevent management from wasting/squandering corporate assets, such as giving huge consulting contracts to their friends.

A comparison before 1990 or 2000 isn't valid, because central banks have been selling/leasing their gold reserves to keep down the price of gold. In 1971, most of the world's gold supply was owned by central banks (due to Roosevelt's confiscation in 1933, and it was illegal to own gold in most countries). Since then, they sell off a bunch of gold whenever the price rises a lot.

Someone then said:

PortlandOregon is a professional disinformation agent. He bashes gold investors at every opportunity.

That's supremely ironic, given the context of citing "Ron Paul Forums and Paid Disinformation Agents".

On the other thread, someone said:

He who smelt it dealt it. If you accuse someone else of being a disinformation agent, that is proof that you are a disinformation agent.

Such a policy is silly. If it's rude to call someone out for pro-State trolling, then the trolls win. If you cannot call someone out for being stupid, doesn't that encourage and reward stupidity?

Anyone who seriously believes "FSK should not ridicule pro-State trolls!" should look at dailypaul.com. That's a good example of a forum where the trolls get free reign.

My overall conclusion is "Posting on dailypaul.com appears to be a waste of time." I might try again. (I really should write my own forum engine.) Even though the trolls are giving me a hard time, it still might be a viable way to promote my blog.

(That's one of my biggest complaints about Google Analytics. It does not tell me "How my regular readers first found my blog!" That's trivial to do with the raw Apache logs. Just track the "referring site" when a new IP address appears (although that's not perfect for people with non-static IP addresses; Google Analytics uses a cookie to track unique users; Would it be immoral for me to do that?).)

Someone else mentioned a good tactic for Internet forum disruption. Suppose someone makes a thoughtful and informative post. Flood the forum with spam. The insightful comment will get loss in the morass of garbage. The problem is defective forum engine design.

Someone made an interesting comment:

The bad guys would be idiots if they didn't spend time infiltrating the Ron Paul forums.

It's hard to tell the difference between a professional disinformation agent and someone who's just plain stupid. Professional disinformation agents tend to be more persistent than the average person.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. Switzerland is ending its policy of allowing secret banking accounts.



This article, via Hacker News, was interesting. If you have rapid huge success, it's usually the result after years of hard work.

I've noticed that with my blog. 5%-10% monthly traffic growth is a much more reasonable goal than "This post will get 1M+ pageviews!"

Whenever I think "That article was awesome! It'll be a huge success!", then it gets practically no traffic. Some of my posts that fall under the category of "That was boring and obvious!" are widely cited.



Someone else on dailypaul.com was citing "Did the USA Declare Bankruptcy?"

According to Google Analytics, my effort to promote "Gold Outperformed the S&P 500, 1997-2008" drew practically zero traffic. In this case, other people citing my blog was more effective than directly promoting my site myself.

Oh well. It was a nice try.



By E-Mail, someone asked:

I came across an old post of yours on the Ron Paul Liberty Forest forums while searching for the REAL causes of the Great Depression. I am studying Political Science at my local Community College and am encountering an irritating amount of anti-free market sentiment. Currently in Political Science we are discussing the Great Depression and it's causes. My Professor continually blames an unregulated free-market for the Depression. He claims that the free market actually discourages personal responsibility in the name of short-term profit. When I mentioned that FDR devalued the dollar by raising the price of gold, he said that 'many historians' argue that FDR actually increased the value of the dollar by tightening the money supply, in turn prolonging the Depression.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Any suggested reading? I would really appreciate your input!

Your professor is an idiot.

The Federal Reserve 100% caused the Great Depression.

In the 1920s, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates artificially low, causing an inflationary boom. In 1929, the Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates, causing a crash. Insiders knew the crash was coming and converted their holdings to cash before the crash.

Similarly, from 2001-2005, interest rates were low, causing an inflationary housing bubble. The Federal Reserve jacked up interest rates (to 5.25%), causing the crash. The mechanism of the current recession/depression is exactly the same as that of the Great Depression. Allegedly, some insiders saw the housing crash coming, and started short selling mortgage bonds ahead of time. Some people purchased credit default swap insurance on mortgage bonds they didn't own, allowing them to profit from the crash. Some of the AIG bailout money is going to insiders who bet on the crash.

Periodic recessions/depressions are an inevitable consequence of fiat debt-based money. That's the whole point of the Compound Interest Paradox. During the boom, insiders loot via inflation. During the bust, insiders qualify for a bailout.

During the second half of the Great Depression, there was massive inflation. Financial industry insiders made huge profits, while the rest of the country was still in a depression. Similarly, a lot of banks are reporting good earnings for Q1 2009, while the rest of the country is still in a severe recession/depression.

Under the rules of the US monetary system, the financial industry is *GUARANTEED* a certain percentage value of the total economy. It's a natural of consequence of the Compound Interest Paradox, fractional reserve banking, and the fact that only banks may issue new money into circulation.

In 1933, President Roosevelt defaulted on the gold standard and started massively inflating. Insiders loaded up on debt in 1933, knowing they could pay with devalued dollars.

President Roosevelt defaulted on the gold standard *AND* demanded all US citizens turn in their gold for paper. This was theft. Your idiot history professor says that President Roosevelt was a hero for stealing all the gold from Americans.

Anticipating a default on the dollar, before 1933, many private debt contracts contained "gold clauses". If the US dollar was devalued relative to gold, then the principal and interest due would increase. President Roosevelt, Congress, and the Supreme Court broke all these gold clauses, ruling them invalid. Effectively, creditors were robbed and the proceeds given to debtors. Similarly, inflation and negative real interest rates benefit anybody who owes money. Insiders may borrow at the cheapest rates. In this manner, a central bank credit monopoly subsidizes insiders at the expense of everyone else.

Right now, insiders are saying "AIG's bonus contracts are sacred. Contracts are sacred and the State may not break them." When the gold standard was abandoned and gold clauses voided, the State breached *ALL* private debt contracts.

When non-insiders invest and are wrong due to an unexpected bubble/bust/recession/
depression, they lose everything. Insiders always qualify for a bailout.

"Inflation is beneficial" is entirely pro-State trolling. When the Federal government, Federal Reserve, and financial industry inflate, they are stealing from productive workers and lining their pockets.

It is silly to talk about "failure of the free market" when you have a central bank. A central bank credit monopoly is the opposite of a free market.

Ask your history professor when the Federal Reserve was created. I bet he doesn't even know that the Federal Reserve was created *BEFORE* the Great Depression. A lot of people think that the Federal Reserve was created *AFTER* the Great Depression, as a solution to the crisis. The Federal Reserve was given greater powers after the Great Depression, especially after the default on the gold-redeemability of Federal Reserve Notes. This enabled the Federal Reserve to inflate at will. There was still a nominal gold standard, but non-insiders were not allowed to redeem their Federal Reserve Notes for gold.

This is the usual "Problem! Reaction! Solution!" paradigm. The State causes a problem. In the 1930s and the present, the problem was the Federal Reserve credit monopoly. The mainstream media says "OMFG!! This is bad!!" Then, the solution is always to give the State more power, which makes the problem even worse.

Even before the Federal Reserve was created, the financial industry was heavily regulated. There were banking acts passed during the US Civil War that heavily regulated the financial industry, essentially nationalizing it.

In the late 19th century, the US Supreme Court legalized limited liability incorporation. Limited liability incorporation combined with fractional reserve banking leads to disaster. Limited liability incorporation gives bank management a free put option to declare bankruptcy and cheat depositors/creditors. Management of a nearly insolvent bank has an incentive to cover up problems, because they can always declare bankruptcy and cheat creditors.

Due to the central bank credit monopoly, real interest rates are negative. This encourages people to load up on debt/leverage during the inflationary boom. During the inevitable bust, individuals lose their homes or their businesses. Insiders always qualify for a bailout, because they're "too big to fail" (really, "too politically connected to fail").

If you are 100% owner of a business, the incentive is for you to maximize its long-term value.

In most corporations, the CEO only owns a tiny fraction of the business himself. A typical CEO's ownership stake is less than a couple of percent. Via the Principal-Agent problem, the CEO is controlling other people's money. The incentive is for the CEO to line his pockets and maximize short-term revenue. Even if the CEO fails, he can usually find another job somewhere else. A clever CEO like John Thain always manages to switch jobs before things fall apart.

The problem is that greed, *COMBINED WITH STATE VIOLENCE*, causes evil. Greed is not evil, provided you do not use violence to impose your will on others. Most corporations have a market position that is backed directly or indirectly by State violence. Most businesses are regulated. The cost of regulation compliance hurts small businesses more than large businesses. Even though a large corporation is incredibly inefficient, the cost of State regulations makes it hard for small competitors to emerge.

Your professor is an idiot. If you want an A, you probably should learn to recite his pro-State troll gibberish. If you express free-market thinking, you will get a B or C or F.

This illustrates the problem of "peer review". All of your professor's colleagues are brainwashed pro-State trolls. If your professor were an independent thinker, then he would offend his idiot colleagues. Then, he would never get tenure or promotions. Once most of the academics in a field are brainwashed idiots, then academic life becomes a ****sucking contest rather than a true exchange of ideas.

Thanks so much for the great info! It was a breath of Libertarian fresh air!

I am frustrated with liberal professors and disheartened by my gullible and worshipful-of-professors peers. I feel like I am wasting so much time that I am considering dropping out and independently studying economics, history, etc.

Do you recommend any books, sources, or?????
Here's some sources:

- There's my blog (duh).
- You can look at my "Google Reader Shared Items" for other blogs I find interesting.
- You can look at my "Reader Mail" posts and see what other blogs I refer to.
- The various Ron Paul forums have a mixture of interesting content and trolling. I've been looking at dailypaul.com, because a bunch of people were citing my blog and it drove a lot of traffic.
- Mises.org has some good bits, but also a lot of pro-State trolling.
- LewRockwell has some good bits, but he also has a large volume of mediocre material.
- Freedomain has some good bits, but I find him a bit longwinded.
- No Third Solution has some good bits.

(This bit deserves its own separate post.)

You might as well finish your degree. Regrettably, it's a requirement for a wage slave job.

If your goal is to learn, you're probably better off pursuing that on your own.


What do you think about these arguments? I want to be able to discuss these issues intelligently in class. . .

The main argument they are pushing is that a free market left 'unregulated' (underselling, flooding the market, etc.), will result in big businesses crushing small businesses resulting in mass monopolies. Thoughts?

Re: FDR leaving the gold standard. My Prof claims that we should have left the gold standard sooner and the other countries that did leave their gold standard sooner i.e. England, emerged out of the Depression faster. Any ideas?

Another question. . . Does our government have ANY gold backing the dollar currently?

Monopolies are only sustainable when they're backed by State violence.

The central bank credit monopoly restricts access to capital. If you want to raise capital, the cheapest way to do it is through a bank. If a CEO wants to borrow $1B-$10B+, he can do so easily at cheap rates. If a non-insider wants to borrow, he must pay a higher rate or cannot borrow at all. Suppose I went to a bank and asked to borrow $100k-$1M to invest in a web startup, paying a 6% interest rate (what CEOs typically pay). The banker would laugh at me.

You cannot profitably lend me at 6%, because you don't get the perk of borrowing at the Fed Funds Rate (currently 0%-0.25%). The banksters borrow at the Fed Funds Rate and lend at 5%-6% or more. They profit the spread times their leverage ratio, without doing any real work.

If you lend me money at 6%, you're going to get ripped off by inflation. If you make a gold-denominated loan, then the implied interest rate is an extortionate 20%-30% or more. The central bank credit monopoly steals the power to finance businesses from individuals and gives it to insiders.

If I try to raise money for my business via reinvested salary/savings, I'm stuck because my savings are continually eroded via inflation. When my savings are eroded via inflation, the profits are given to my larger corporate competitors. When I pay income taxes, part of the profits are used for welfare for my larger corporate competitors. If I have an on-the-books small business, I subsidize my larger corporate competitors via inflation and taxation. If I have an on-the-books small business, I pay a larger percentage of my revenue on regulation compliance, compared to larger corporate competitors.

Suppose there was no State credit monopoly. Suppose you were a skilled manager who could run a factory by himself. Then, it would make more sense for you to borrow money and buy/build a factory, instead of working for me as an employee. State restriction of the market forces the skilled manager to work as an employee, instead of opening his own factory.

State regulations restrict the market. State regulations are a tax on small businesses. The cost of regulation compliance is usually a fixed amount, independent of the size of your business.

Laws requiring milk pasteurization are a tax on small milk farmers. If you aren't big enough to own your own milk pasteurization plant, then you pay monopolistic rent to the corporate farmers that own a plant.

Sabarnes-Oxley is a tax on small corporations. Sabarnes-Oxley compliance costs about $3M per year, independent of the size of the corporation. This has hurt the market for web development startups, because "going public" with a valuation of $1B-$2B is no longer a viable exit strategy.

The auto industry is heavily regulated. People can't start car manufacturing businesses out of their garage because the auto industry is heavily regulated. In order to get a new car approved as "street legal", you have to pass a bunch of regulatory hoops.

Software is nearly completely unregulated. You can start a software company with almost no investment other than your time. Therefore, there is much innovation in this area.

History is a bunch of lies, so I have no idea exactly what happened. Based on what I read, the Great Depression was 100% caused by the Federal Reserve. From 1933-1940, there was massive inflation and a massive increase in State regulation of the economy. This exacerbated the problem. Insiders made huge profits in the Great Depression, while non-insiders suffered.

Central banks still have some gold reserves. They periodically sell/lease their reserves to keep down the price of gold.

There is no specific gold backing to the US dollar. You have no right to exchange your dollars for gold at any predetermined price.

The dollar is backed by guns/violence. Via the income tax, you must present dollars to the IRS in exchange for permission to work. The income tax means that the dollar is backed by all economic activity in the USA, via the IRS's taxation power.

The income tax and Federal Reserve are two closely related evils. The income tax prevents people from saying "**** this!" and boycotting the Federal Reserve.

Yes, it is tiresome to continue this debate with my prof. However, this is a required discussion assignment and I will receive points for it.

Specifically regarding monopolies . . . Could you explain further what you mean when you say that monopolies are only sustainable by state violence?

Your professor could fail you for disagreeing with him (or give you a lousy grade).

Monopolies are incredibly inefficient. The State prevents new competitors from emerging via regulations restricting competition.

For example, electricity and telecommunications corporations have an explicit State monopoly.

FRE and FNM have an explicit State monopoly. Their debt is backed by the Federal government. Even if I started my own mortgage financing business, I couldn't do better than FRE and FNM, because my debt would not be backed by the government. FRE and FNM profit from borrowing at the Treasury Rate and using the profits to buy mortgage debt. If I borrowed to purchase mortgage bonds, I would have to pay a higher rate.

GM and Ford have an indirect State monopoly. It isn't illegal to start a car manufacturing business. It's just so heavily regulated to make it effectively illegal.

The central bank credit monopoly makes it hard to start new businesses. A large corporation can always profitably borrow to buy out smaller competitors.

The answer to "How does the State encourage monopolies?" is:

- The proceeds of taxation go to insiders. Negative real interest rates subsidize large corporations. Corporations such as GM receive direct State subsidies.
- State regulations restrict competition.

If there were no State restriction of the market, monopolistic vendors would have to cut prices or face competition.

The ultimate unaccountable monopoly is that of government itself.



Jeff Atwood (http://codinghorror.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "StackOverflow Sucks!":

(Jeff Atwood is the owner of the StackOverflow website.)

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience on Stack Overflow. A few comments

1) We have now moved to a vote based closing system. So 5 users (of 3k+ rep) have to agree your question is off topic before it is closed. At the time you posted the 2 examples, it only took a single user. This was a mistake in retrospect..

That's still wrong. Suppose that 80% of the users think a topic is inappropriate, but 20% think it's a good idea. Then, discussion of that topic is banned. Over time, the users who have the most liberal idea of "appropriate site content" get disgusted and leave. You're left with only idiots who have a very narrow range of "What content is permissible?".

Suppose I posted on StackOverflow "What do you think of Obama's stimulus plan?" You would close that topic and censor all further discussion. I say the correct procedure is to move it to an "offtopic" folder, but not absolutely ban discussion.

2) We have an IT-centric site coming soon. This would be a fine place to ask your hardware and hosting related questions (they weren't strictly *programming related*). We believe it's important to stay somewhat on topic, otherwise the community is overrun and destroys itself. Gotta be programming related, though we admit, it is a grey area.

You are wrong. It's better to have an offtopic section, than to completely bar all offtopic discussion. Otherwise, you wind up having debates about "Is this on-topic?"

It depends on how well the alternate site is integrated. If a question is smoothly moved from one to the other, it might work. Otherwise, it'll just be confusing. You seem like an idiot, so I doubt you'll do it correctly.

I take a very hostile attitude towards sites with censorship policies. Here, my policy is to publish all comments except for blatant spam.

3) We'll be tweaking the close/open mechanics a bit more in the future. One thing I want to do is make it harder to close posts with many upvotes.

You haven't convinced me that you have a clue about what is needed to run a discussion forum or wiki. When you give a handful of users power to terminate discussions, you piss off the people who are victims of censorship.

I should write my own forum/wiki engine, so I can show how it's done.

4) If you need your account deleted, just email us via the link at the bottom of every http://stackoverflow.com page. We can do it no problem.

I thought about doing it, because my page on your site was ranking higher than my own blog, when searching for "fskrealityguide".

I'll leave my account active for now. I might stop by again sometime. I've found that Google gives me answers just as good or better than your site, especially for LAMP questions (my current interest).

My conclusion for StackOverflow is "It could have been cool, but wasn't." Defective engine design is the downfall. (I really should write my own engine.)



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ron Paul Forums and Paid Disinformation Agents":

Thank you for this terrific article! I am glad there are other people out there that are aware of this.

That's an old article! It's received a lot of citations on dailypaul.com lately.

I've given up arguing with pro-State trolls on other forums. It's very frustrating, there's very low return, and it's usually a waste of time. I'm focusing more on my own blog now, and reading other interesting blogs.

It seems "Write good posts!" is now a more effective method for promoting my blog than "Post links elsewhere!" When I had only 10 readers, getting another 10 readers by posting links elsewhere was a big deal. Now, it's a lower benefit percentage-wise. Other people citing my blog tends to be more productive.

I gave up on Ron Paul and "Restore the Republic!" My conclusions now are "**** this! Time for a completely different system! Who needs a government anyway? All services currently provided by government could be more efficiently provided by multiple competing vendors in a true free market."

The US government has crossed the moral event horizon. Reform is no longer possible. Complete collapse is the only plausible outcome.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Stewart vs. Cramer Fnord":

Both the questions and answers were disingenuous.
Jon Stewart: "Look what you did, you suck!"
Cramer: "Ya, but I did this and this!"
Stewart:"This isn't about you!"
---
Stewart:"Your network sucks, look at their reporting!"
Cramer:"Ya, but we did this!"
Stewart:"Shut up! You're worse! Look at what you said!"

It could have been so much better.

Could you imagine me interviewing Cramer?

FSK: Isn't the Federal Reserve just a price fixing cartel?
Cramer: ...
FSK: Isn't it silly to talk about "the failure of a free market banking system" when you have a central bank credit monopoly?
Cramer: ...
FSK: Isn't it immoral for you to advise people to buy stocks when gold has trounced the stock market for the past 10 years?
Cramer: ...
FSK: Aren't taxes and stealing the same thing?
Cramer: ...
FSK: When you said "They know nothing!", you're advocating for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. How come you never point out that the Federal Reserve is an immoral price fixing cartel?
Cramer: ...
FSK: When you glorify the Federal Reserve and government regulations, doesn't that make you a Communist?
Cramer: ...

I really should attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy." I wonder if I could get a mainstream media outlet to carry my content? If I had a popular act, it'd be very hard for them to not do it.



fritz has left a new comment on your post "A History of Successful Economic Intervention":

Gee wizz,, Good thing we have the state to keep our lives interesting. If it wasn't for them we just might be prospering...Good thing they are there to increase the level of difficulty . life might just be to easy for us to make it exciting.
fritz has left a new comment on your post "The Free Rider Fallacy":

Maybe if all the forced riders drag something out of the vehicle. It could cause enough friction to stop the ride completely. I personally have my foot out the door, trying to provide as much friction as I can.

You shouldn't feel obligated to comment on every single post.



Greg has left a new comment on your post "The Compound Interest Paradox":

A few people have pointed out how flawed this post is. It similar to the argument that I've seen posted by a few members of dailypaul.com claiming that "usury", or charging interest on loans, causes economic problems.

A lot of people have posted comments that were incoherent gibberish. In the interest of fairness, I published them. I don't waste time responding to idiots.

If other people find my ideas interesting and repeat them, that is not evidence that I am doing something wrong.

Here's a simple spreadsheet I've created to show how this isn't true:
http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=p7jSfNelm7FDJ47ek1DvxEQ&hl=en
Your example is so wrong I'm not going to bother providing details.

In a true free market with gold/silver/barter money, where there was no State central bank or regulated financial industry, then your example would be valid. The defect in your example is "The person who lends money by creating it must then spend money to pay his own living expenses. This causes the money supply to balance." That is true in a free market. That isn't the way the US monetary system works.

The type of interest, whether simple or compound, etc, is irrelevant. Whether or not the money is fiat or real is irrelevant. The only relevant problem is the fact that our banking system relies on the use of force to exist. If it were not being forced on us, we wouldn't be using it, and wouldn't be suffering the effects of price "fixing" and credit expansion/inflation/wealth redistribution through our money.

After reading your post about "dis-info agents", and then reading this terribly flawed post, it appears you (inadvertently, I hope) become a "dis-info agent".

If you're accusing me of being a paid or unpaid shill for the establishment, you aren't paying attention. The only money I make from my blog is $0.75-$1 per day via AdBrite. I'm looking into ways to spread the truth as a full-time job.

If I'm such a pathetic loser, then you're an even bigger loser for wasting time reading and commenting.

A lot of people have posted comments on the Compound Interest Paradox page saying "FSK's analysis is wrong!" (Go back and look!) Their counter-arguments seem like incoherent gibberish to me. I haven't found a single example that logically refutes my "examples page". I don't feel obligated to refute every stupid idea someone mentions.

If you want more details, look in the "Reader Mail" posts or the various other pages I wrote on the Compound Interest Paradox. (Due to a bug in Blogger, a trackback isn't generated for those other discussions.)

I don't waste time responding to idiots, but in the interest of fairness, I publish their comments. Don't think "FSK didn't respond to that comment critical of his analysis. Therefore, that criticism is correct."

The Compound Interest Paradox attracts a surprising amount of hate mail. That is a clear indication that it is a very important subject. I have not seen any convincing evidence that my analysis is wrong.

For those of you who are critical of my crackdown on pro-State trolls, go look around on dailypaul.com or other forums to see what happens when pro-State trolls get free reign. Are they paid disinformation agents, or merely clueless people? Either way, I'm not wasting my time.

One very interesting thing I've noticed blogging is "Only a tiny minority of my readers leave comments. (about 2%) The vast majority lurk." Only people who feel strongly about a subject leave comments. I should not let a vocal minority distort what I do.

My blog readership is increasing. That doesn't mean my style is optimal, but it is evidence that my strategy isn't totally stupid.



Looking for a wage slave job is really frustrating. I'm getting practically no interviews, and I heard other people have the same problem.

I'm wondering if "Work on my blog!" has greater economic expectation than "Send out resumes and look for a job!" With blogging, I make $0.75-$1 per day, and my regular readership continues to grow.

I need 10k-20k regular readers for this to be viable as a full-time job. That's still a couple years away, extrapolating from past growth rates.



Fivemileshigh has left a new comment on your post "Agorist Philosophy Overview":

I presently live in Eastern Europe and can tell you from personal experience that the gray market is large but not significant to the big picture. You can easily buy labor (service) and locally made products in cash at lower than white market prices. The trouble is that there is a definite upper limit to what you can do. That limit is effectively all imported goods that have a pre-existing paper trail, and all goods that have to have a paper trail such as cars and real estate. Paper trails are very hard to hide. You can use gold to store wealth, by buying bullion with the proceeds of your gray market activities, the trouble comes when you try to spend a significant amount of your wealth at once, say to buy a home. At that point you can't have a pile of cash/gold come out of the woodwork because the establishment will start asking where it came from.

A very common way to people use to preserve what they earn is by using the enormously complex system to evade it. It's like your work is used to fatten up your master, but he has gotten so fat that he simply can't catch you 100% of the time. In practical terms this means buying stuff through your business for personal use and writing it off. Unfortunately, this still feeds the system. I don't have a solution yet, but generally the more corrupt and complex a state apparatus is the easier it becomes to circumvent, albeit if just for the small things.

"Buying stuff for personal use and charging it to your business" is very risky, if your income was reported to the State. The IRS *VERY AGGRESSIVELY* cracks down on small business owners, and I suspect it's the same in Europe. That is not the same as agorism, which is "generate wealth without it being reported to the State".

I agree that it'd be awkward to buy a house using gold. When the final collapse draws near, it might be possible to buy a house with gold! For example, you could agree to pay $200k on-the-books and 200 ounces of gold under-the-table for a house that's really worth $400k. It might be feasible to rent an apartment, and make arrangements to pay your rent in gold or cash.

You're missing the point. You're arguing "The grey/free market is small now. Therefore, it will always be small." I'm saying "Agorists should consciously work towards building the free market."

In the present, most grey market labor is low-paid unskilled labor. As the economy collapses, you may see more and more jobs moving to the grey market.

To get started as an agorist, do it 5-10 hours per week as a hobby. Once it's profitable, do it as a full time job. It's even better if you have some on-the-books income and some off-the-books income. Then, you can reasonably pay in slave points when the State requires it. Due to a progressive taxation schedule, if you can make half your income in the grey market, you *DRAMATICALLY* reduce your taxation rate.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Free Rider Fallacy":
Thanks for going over this topic in particular.

I have no idea what posts will be popular.

According to Google Analytics, this post didn't receive much traffic.

The metrics I use for post success are:
  1. Google Analytics statistics
  2. reader comments
  3. amount of hate mail received (more is better)



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Free Rider Fallacy":

Your commenting on the wrong post.

I did a lot of research looking for a registrar, as I have hundreds of domains. I ended up going with moniker.com They are cost effective and secure. They make their business on the assertion that they've never lost a clients domain. My hope is that they won't roll over to government attempting to sieze one, but I know that they will be harder to roll over than any other registrar in the USA.

A better registrar would be one outside the US and thus outside the US Government's control... but I haven't found one that isn't extremely difficult to work with.

The problem is that I live in the USA. I'm much more concerned about the bad guys seizing me physically, than I care about them seizing my website/domain.

So, I suggest moniker.com I would strongly suggest you avoid any consumer oriented or discount domain company (Though moniker is inexpensive they are professional domainer oriented.)

I'm totally confused regarding domains. I have no idea which vendor to choose. I just want to make sure I don't get ****ed over.

Regarding domain registrars, I've had as many different answers as suggestions.



Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Satanic Death Hospitals":

Rob is right...
and to me as a medic represents the wisdom to know when I can make a difference, the strength to do what is needed, and the beauty to accept what is

If you're a doctor, that makes you less likely to believe "The healthcare system is completely broken!"

The snake is a symbol of rebirth and of healing....and also of wisdom.
the stick a symbol of strength.

In that regard, I think the original blog post is just simply nutty.
Given my personal experience, I find that logo disturbing. Anyway, it's just one post.



Zargon has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #87":

"I'm surprised that the ads getting clicked are spammy ones."

Perhaps someone created a **** spammy ads extension/tool. It wouldn't be much harder than a **** adsense extension or tool.

Maybe someone has created such a tool. However, then the distribution of ad clicks would be uniform, wouldn't it? I'm noticing disproportionately many of the clickthroughs were on spammy ads.



Kiba has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #87":

I do have a lot of traffic, but rather it was located on a different site called http://libregamewiki.org.

According to ProjectWonderful, you're only making $0.02 per day, and you have about 800 daily unique pageviews (twice as many as me). That's only a page eCPM of less than $0.02. I'm doing way better with AdBrite.

That site was interesting. It's a collection of open source game projects. I've been considering developing an open source game. (I should work on my RSS reader first! I've been lazy about working on it!) The article on the main page was a clone of 1602 A.D., which I played.

Also, I am going to start that anarchist blog when I finally got my hand on Rothbard's Man Economy, and the State with Power and Market. Some time ago, Jeffery Trucker of Mises.org promised people a free book in exchange for live blogging about it. I happened to request that book.
I just read about anarchism/agorism via free resources on the Internet, and figured out the rest for myself. I'm more interested in moving forward with practical agorism, than reading stuff that's 10+ years old.

About coins, I also don't have a metallugry skills but I am willing to learn how.

There's two metallurgy skills I want:

- Being able to identify fake gold and silver coins, or other metals. In this respect, platinum is superior to gold or silver, because it's harder to fake. Gold-plated tungsten allegedly is good fake gold coins, and would fool a density test. There are alloys of cheaper metals that have the same density as silver.
- Being able to mint my own coins. They don't have to be high quality. If I mint them myself, I know they aren't fake! If I melt down coins, I can remelt a random sample of my collection to audit against fakes! Regrettably, operating a coin forge is probably illegal where I live in NYC. I'd probably have to live in a remote rural area if I were going to mint my own coins.

My operation will be small and will cost me money since I will be giving out coins as gift to fellow agorists. My coins won't be as good compared to on-the-book companies, but everybody have to start somewhere.

You should do it for a profit. Otherwise, why not just buy from an on-the-books coin dealer and resell them? With so much State surveillance of the financial industry, I bet you could buy from an on-the-books dealer and resell in the grey market for a profit!

One of my agorist business ideas is starting a gold/silver/FRN barter network.

When the time are ripe, my skills improved and I'll have the economy of scale to compete in the agorist currency market. Hopefully, I have the first mover advantage as everybody else is scrambling to start their own coin mint.

The only type of coin I want that I can't easily find is coins smaller than an ounce of silver. That would be useful for making change. In the meantime, I can use junk silver or slave points for change.



Sphairon has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #87":

Thanks for responding.

Personally, I think Myers-Briggs is fairly devoid of any obvious pro-state influences.
Huh? "Your personality falls into one of these slots!" sounds like pro-State trolling to me!

Now that I've cracked my pro-State brainwashing, I don't think I fit into any specific box on the scale.

The multiple choice aspect is unfortunate, but in order to have some way of categorization, you need a predetermined set of variables.

That's my complaint. The Myers-Briggs scale is "defective methodology, defective conclusions". Any multiple choice personality test has a hidden bias, because you can't say "none of the above".

Are there characters that do not fit at all into this system? I'm still not sure what "cracking your pro-state brainwashing" entails in its entirety, so it may or may not be possible.

My pro-State brainwashing was not merely about recognizing "Taxation is theft!" There are a whole bunch of subconscious attitudes that I had internalized. For example, in "Employer as State", an ***hole abruptly terminated a phone interview because I said something he didn't like.

When I was pro-State brainwashed, I would have thought "Whoops! There's another social interaction rule for me to learn. I'll remember that rule and do better next time!" That's the anti-pattern of "Asperger's syndrome" or "high functioning autism". Now, I realize "That guy was a jerk! I couldn't have satisfied him no matter what I did. My behavior was perfectly reasonable." The pro-State troll reaction is to defend the ***hole; the ***hole is in a position of authority, and therefore is behavior is correct. My parents sided with the ***hole when I told them what happened, which would have reinforced in my mind "I have to learn all these stupid social interaction rules."

Now, I no longer think "I have to memorize all the social interaction rules, lest I offend jerks!" Now, I realize "I don't care what jerks think! I'm not going to be able to relate to them anyway!"

That's a key aspect of breaking your pro-State brainwashing. For this reason, I say I no longer fit into that scale.

I'm not surprised you scored INTJ, though. A number of people on the Mises boards got these results as well (according to some source, even Mises himself) and those who were receptive to my anti-state sentiments also had INT/FJ personalities. I do give a lot of credit to this method. It explains a number of strange social phenomena quite satisfactorily.
The "INTJ" personality type is the "Remnant" personality type. However, you cannot conclude that the distribution of personality types is natural. It may be a consequence of pro-State brainwashing.

For example, in elementary school, I was the best math student. This caused me to focus more on Math, and other students to get discouraged. That's a natural consequence of "grading on a curve". I spent more effort on Math and Computers than other people. Therefore, a positive feedback cycle develops. Age-sorting and ability-sorting students guarantees that, statistically, 1% will wind up with the INTJ personality type.

Your thoughts on auto-ignoring emotional feedback are interesting. My personal observations are that self-conscious, productive types attract abusive types. After being subjected to abusive behavior too often, they shut down any social activity completely to avoid further exploitation or turn into eccentrics to decrease attraction. A natural protection mechanism, so to speak.
That's the Matrix at work. If you're logically strong, you're emotionally weak. The logically strong people are used to being abused by jerks. They're trying to figure out what's going on, and work on their logical thinking skills.

If you're emotionally strong, you're logically weak. If you can manipulate other people to your will, then why bother learning to do something useful? If you encounter someone who's immune to your abuse, you can always manipulate the situation to eliminate them. This isn't genuine emotional strength. It's more abusive-type strength.

If you're logically strong and emotionally weak, you can't wind up dating someone else who is also logically strong and emotionally weak. Things just won't be able to progress. You'll seek someone who's emotionally strong, but those people tend to also be jerks.

The parasites exhibit "fake leadership" behavior rather than genuine leadership. A fake leader continually criticizes other people randomly, to keep them on edge. A genuine leader criticizes people only when they do something wrong. It's a subtle distinction.

Some logically strong people wind up emulating the behavior of parasites, or converting to the dark side. This is what "fast seduction" and "NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) courses" advise. Those tactics work, because the vast majority of people are pro-State brainwashed.

If you're logically strong and emotionally weak, you'll seek out someone who is emotionally strong, because that's what you're weak at. Either you "settle" for being with a jerk, or you give up.

I'm now logically strong and emotionally strong, so I'm looking for a partner who's logically strong and emotionally weak. I can't wind up with a partner who's logically weak and emotionally strong/abusive, because they won't accept a situation when they're being treated fairly. Before I cracked my pro-State brainwashing, dating someone logically strong wouldn't have worked, because things wouldn't be able to progress.



Josh has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #87":

Yes, you will get a better deal if you spent time shopping, whether or not you get your own equipment and use your own labor. If you have $2000 to invest, you can probably get t-shirts down to $1-2 for blanks (probably even less, try your luck).
If possible, I'd like to buy my blank T-Shirts from another agorist (or buy printed made shirts from another agorist)! Of course, if I buy in an on-the-books store in Chinatown with cash, the store owner (if he isn't stupid) isn't necessarily reporting the sale to the State.

My gut reaction is that I'll get the best price printing my own and buying my own printing equipment. If I get a reputation as "a guy who owns a T-Shirt burning machine", other people might hire me to make T-Shirts for them. I should be able to always undercut an on-the-books vendor on price.

I'll buy the first 10-50 shirts from a vendor, to test the market.

Another advantage of owning my own burning machine is that I can have "just in time" inventory.

I'm not going to attempt this experiment for another year or two anyway, so this is premature optimization. It's infeasible while living with my parents. Right now, I'm just speculating about my agorist business ideas. I'm still a year or two away from beginning implementation.

"Sell agorist-themed T-Shirts" is one of my agorist business ideas. If I print my domain name on the shirts, it would be a promotion tool. If I attempt "Promote agorism via standup comedy!", it would be a way to promote my act. My most likely customers would be regular readers of my blog, or people who attend my live performances.



Zargon has left a new comment on your post "I Added Two More AdBrite Widgets":

It makes perfect sense that CPM ads have higher clickthrough than CPC. The quality of a CPC ad doesn't really matter to the advertiser, they'll always pay X dollars for Y clicks. But with CPM, the number of clicks they get per dollar is highly dependent on how good the ad is. Thus better ads are CPM, worse ads are CPC.

Incidentally, I see where you've added the adbrite widgets, but all I ever see is the "Your Ad Here" link to adbrite itself.

I can think of two reasons you might not be seeing the AdBrite ads:

- If you're using antivirus software, make sure it isn't blocking AdBrite. Someone else's antivirus software was blocking AdSense.
- If you're using NoScript, make sure you aren't blocking AdBrite.

I see why scammers prefer CPC, and genuine advertisers prefer CPM.

AdBrite gives me full statistics of all ads served and clicked. I've noticed the CPM ads tend to be legitimate products, and the CPC ads tend to be scammy.

If someone has already written the "**** Google!" Firefox extension, then CPC is an invalid model for advertising. Some people intentionally scam AdSense, AdBrite, or any CPC ad network. They probably have such a program.

I prefer CPM (pay per impression) or pay-per-day ("Project Wonderful"). Project Wonderful is a nice try, but the only ads I saw on that site were for a lousy rate. One disadvantage of pay-per-day compared with pay-per-impression is if a user visits multiple pages on your site. With CPM, he'll get a different ad every time. With pay-per-day, the user will be served the same ad every time. Pay-per-day is suboptimal if readers visit multiple pages on your site.

It's definitely a buyers' market for online advertising. On Project Wonderful or AdBrite, I can run campaigns on a bunch of sites for only a couple of dollars. I may try that in a year or two. For now, "Promote my blog via organic growth!" is working fine. At this point, "Other people cite FSK's blog." is more beneficial than "I promote my own blog!" I'm focusing most of my blogging effort on "Write good content".

4 comments:

Aaron said...

To the gentleman that is taking the econ course:

>>The main argument they are pushing is that a free market left 'unregulated' (underselling, flooding the market, etc.), will result in big businesses crushing small businesses resulting in mass monopolies. Thoughts?

As FSK pointed out, that's complete hogwash. In fact, the opposite is true. A free unregulated market will result in exactly zero big businesses, because they are so inefficient compared to small businesses. The only way they can exist is to have the cost of their inefficiencies put onto other people through violence (the state). This is done, as FSK points out, through taxes, regulations, etc.

>>Do you recommend any books, sources, or?????

Read Kevin Carson's Organization Theory. A lot of mainstream libertarian thought still think big business is the norm when there is no state. Carson has some very good thoughts on that.

Download it for free from http://www.4shared.com/file/79845141/f2038585/Kevin_Carson_-_Organization_Theory.html

or buy from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Organization-Theory-Libertarian-Kevin-Carson/dp/1439221995

Greg said...

MFA sites, I thought they went out of style around 2-3 years ago. Nothing new about that or PPC arbitrage ( for example buying clicks on Yahoo and showing them Google ads).

As for niche marketing in general and making sites around keywords and domains- that's just good business sense.

MFA was never my thing. But I do buy domains, create content,and make money. Which takes a lot of work and research skills, at least compared to the average non-thinking person. I usually monetize with affiliates, but Adsense will do in some cases. The only thing I regret is I wish I hard started buying domains a lot sooner as all the really premium generic domains are taken and worth a lot of money. But I can make more cashflow than domain parkers, at least.

Sphairon said...

I'll concede to you the point about Myers-Briggs being biased to a certain extent. I hadn't thought of statistical distribution of personality types according to curve grading incentive systems yet, that's quite intriguing. Somebody should conduct a study on how homeschooled/unschooled children fare in this kind of tests. I'm afraid, though, that pro-state parental impressions may simply replace the bad influence of generic state schools here.

I can very much relate to your experiences with abusive social behavior. When I was still pro-state trolling, I would simply dismiss any abuses as "the way things work" and try to adapt. Gladly, this process worked out very unsatisfactorily for me or I might have become an abusive parasite as well. Assuming, of course, that I am no abusive parasite already, which is what I hope for.

Which brings me to your statements about NLP/progressive seduction. I've been reading into this and even applied it in real life in a few situations. It worked surprisingly well, but on the other hand, I didn't really push it too hard. It's just astonishing how easily people get caught in this Stockholm syndrome type of clinging to those with obvious abusive character traits. The sad truth being that sometimes, I can't help doing so either. I've always wondered why this rather awkward way of "approaching" others can be applied to such a great number of targets. Pro-state brainwashing may indeed be an answer.

Concerning your mating choices, I'd be afraid that an emotionally labile partner tries to superficially imitate you in an attempt to make you happy. So while you are trying to genuinely build them up, they actually just pretend to become less of a pro-state troll to please you. But don't bet on my advice on that one, I have 0 practical experience with the matter.

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