Nassim Taleb sits down for a quite extensive interview based around his new book Anti-Fragile. Whether the Black Swan best-seller is philosopher or trader is up to you but the discussion is worth the time as Taleb wonders rigorously from the basic tenets of capitalism - "being more about disincentives that incentives" as failure (he believes) is critical to its success (and is clearly not allowed in our current environment) - to his intellectual influences (and total disdain for the likes of Krugman, Stiglitz, and Friedman - who all espouse grandiose and verbose work with no accountability whatsoever). His fears of large centralized states (such as the US is becoming and Europe is become) being prone to fail along with his libertarianism make for good viewing. However, his fundamental premise that TBTF banks should be nationalized and the critical importance of 'skin in the game' for a functioning financial system are all so crucial for the current 'do no harm' regime in which we live. Grab a beer (or glass of wine, it is Taleb) and watch...
Reconciling Opposites ...
If governments or central banks really can create wealth simply by creating money, why does poverty exist anywhere on earth? Why haven’t successive rounds of quantitative easing by the US Fed solved our economic recession? And if Fed money creation really works, and doesn’t create inflation, why haven’t Americans gotten richer as the money supply has grown? The truth is obvious to everyone. Fiat currency is not wealth, and the creation of more fiat dollars does not mean that more rice, steel, soybeans, Ipads, or Honda Accords suddenly come into existence. The creation of new fiat currency simply strengthens a fantasy balance sheet, either by adding to cash reserves or servicing debt. But this balance sheet wealth is an illusion, just as the notion we can continue to raise the debt limit and borrow money forever is an illusion.
A douche bag is someone who lets you know who and what he is without any need of explanation: Mike Norman
The recent fiscal cliff negotiations were almost a textbook case of the game theory's Prisoner's Dilemma... resulting in the same sub-optimal outcome. All the posturing and political strutting were more about trying to obtain personal advantage over the other players, not actually fixing anything. The fiscal cliff, in fact, stopped being about the US economy a long, long time ago. The uncomfortable truth that nobody in officialdom wants to admit (save outgoing Congressman Ron Paul) is that the fiscal situation is unfixable. Meanwhile, the debt ceiling has already been breached, and the Obama administration is scurrying to seize federal pensions as a temporary fix. Seriously, how long will it be before they start seizing private pensions, IRAs, etc.? How long before mutual funds and banks are required to hold a percentage of their assets in the 'safety and security' of US Treasuries? How long until everyone is involuntarily financing Uncle Sam?
Ron Paul To Congress: "Stop Legislating Your Ideas Of Fairness. Protect Property Rights. Protect The Individual"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/31/2012 12:57 -0400
As I prepare to retire from Congress I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian-constitutional approach to government in 2013. In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.... Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity ever than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom is freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.
Econophile's take on the 7 most important economic events of 2012 and why they will impact 2013 and beyond. This is not what the MSM will tell you.
In a little under three minutes, Ron Paul explains to a somewhat nonplussed CNBC anchor just how ridiculous the charade that is occurring in D.C. actually is. This succinct spin-free clip should be required viewing for each and every asset-manager, talking-head, propagandist, and mom-and-pop who are viewing the last-minute idiocy of the 'fiscal cliff' debacle with some hope that things will be different this time. "We have passed the point of no return where we can actually get our house back in order," Paul begins, adding that "they pretend they are fighting up there, but they really aren't. They are arguing over power, spin, who looks good, who looks bad; all trying to preserve the system where they can spend what they want, take care of their friends and print money when they need it." With social safety nets available to rich and poor, there is no impetus for change and "the country loses," but Paul concludes, the markets are starting to say "there is a limit to this."
Despite the fact that myself and everyone else acting like they know what lays ahead are proven wrong time and time again, we continue to make predictions about the future. It makes us feel like we have some control, when we don’t. The world is too complex, too big, too corrupt, too lost in theories and delusions, and too dependent upon too many leaders with too few brains to be able to predict what will happen next. This is the time of year when all the “experts” will be making their 2013 predictions - but few will address where they were wrong in previous predictions. I’m more interested in why I was wrong. It seems I always underestimate the ability of sociopathic central bankers and their willingness to destroy the lives of hundreds of millions to benefit their oligarch masters. I always underestimate the rampant corruption that permeates Washington DC and the executive suites in mega-corporations across the land. And I always overestimate the intelligence, civic mindedness, and ability to understand math of the ignorant masses that pass for citizens in this country. It seems that issuing trillions of new debt to pay off trillions of bad debt, government sanctioned accounting fraud, mainstream media propaganda, government data manipulation and a populace blinded by mass delusion can stave off the inevitable consequences of an unsustainable economic system. Will 2013 be the year it all collapses in a flaming heap of rubble? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask an “expert”.
China Proposes Full Name Registration For Every User To Make Its Internet "Healthier, More Cultured And Safer"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2012 09:55 -0400
With various "gun control" proposals flying fast and furious (precisely the reactionary kneejerk reaction Ron Paul warned would happen), some of which as brilliant as RFIDing every gun in existence, supposedly including the tens of millions of illegal and unregistered ones, it is perhaps appropriate to see how another authoritarian government - China - deals with its own equivalent of the touchy Second Amendment, its "First", or the right to free speech in a society which for decades has had none, and where the internet makes free speech regulation impossible (very much any gun control in a nation in which there is one gun for every person is impossible). China's solution, according to Reuters, the requirement of a real name registration for internet access for every person, "extending a policy already in force with microblogs in a bid to curb what officials call rumors and vulgarity...A law being discussed this week would mean people would have to present their government-issued identity cards when signing contracts for fixed line and mobile internet access, state-run newspapers said."
Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence. Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided "security," a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America. Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.
The Crisis of Conflicts at the New York Fed: Circling the Wagons to Set Up Ex-Goldmanite William Dudley As PresidentSubmitted by EB on 12/17/2012 12:01 -0400
New Fed minutes reveal powerful CEO voted to make William Dudley president of FRBNY and grant him conflicts waivers for investments in CEO's own company.
What happened on December 14, 2012 was obviously a horrific tragedy that my simple mind can’t possibly wrap itself around, but what I can do is send my deepest thoughts, prayers and sympathies to all of those affected. I can’t imagine the level of pain and suffering you are all experiencing. This article; however, isn’t directed at you. There is nothing I can do to ease your pain. This article is for the rest of us who weren’t directly affected by the incident, but may be indirectly affected by certain parties’ emotional response to it and by those that will exploit it to justify agendas.
To the point of causing intestinal convulsions, there has been no shortage of analysis on the elections of 2012. The word “journalist” has today become synonymous with “whore”, simply because success in the field makes whoredom essential. One meme that is being spread widely in the mainstream that I do actually agree with is that the Republican Party is “dying”. During the 2010 mid-term elections, there was a mass resurgence in conservative voting based almost entirely on Tea Party optimism. That changed, though, when Neo-Con elites began weaseling their way into the club, gushing about how they loved freedom. What these vermin do not understand, though, is that it takes more than rhetoric to hold onto Liberty Movement voters. Those of us in the movement who have deeply considered the election aftermath have predominantly concluded that it is WE who have taken the mojo out of the GOP. Let’s take a look at just a few of the mainstream media and GOP leadership arguments and propaganda initiatives and why they are shameless fabrications meant to hide Liberty Movement influence... The GOP is dying and we are thriving. Whether or not the two are related, I leave for you to decide...
Many have wondered if Ron Paul would have run as an independent. Here is his answer: "[I didn't consider running as an independent because] it is absolutely not practical. This would have been a good year to have an alternative and you can't get much of a showing either on the libertarian side or the green side".... the Republican and Democratics "parties are going to linger because they are locked in by law. The laws are biased against us from competing." So how does one change the two-party system? "You go to the campuses. You rally the young people. You stir up a whole generation of people. Ideas do have consequences and that's where the good news is because the campuses are alive and well with these views and they know the system is bankrupt. And there is this illusion that you can spend endlessly and print endlessly and there will always be credit out there. And so far, so good, but credit can end quickly, the dollar can crash quickly and a new system will have to be developed."