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About julius

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  1. julius


    Yes, I am very skeptical of all the hullabaloo about the gold apple watches. The math doesn't add up. Either there's not going to be much gold, or you have to be convinced that $10k watches that will be obsolete in 2-3 years will sell like hotcakes. Speaking of King World News, are they still doing their podcasts? The RSS feed went dead. I see at least they've revamped the website.
  2. Thanks, I wish I had seen this a few days ago. I'll look out for this when it's trading.
  3. I would think a few times before hosting 100kwh of batteries in my basement, particularly of an untested technology. That aside, obvious this is a rather prospective area for research and batteries could be hosted more centrally as well.
  4. Yes, and many of the pictures you have posted are beautiful. One unfortunate thing is that these communities frequentely bring along the HOA baggage and can make gardening annoying and having animals impossible.
  5. I'd like to see a greater diversity of housing types in general - currently, it's a herculean effort to build something not envisioned by the local zoning codes. I would point out that many folks do like to live in less dense communities and the major thing that would change their minds is going to be the cost of such an option. Higher gasoline prices will definitely be a factor there, but increased telecommuting could counterbalance that.
  6. julius


    Argentina's economy is very cyclical, both due to the dependence on commodities and the completely idiotic government. (Though those of us in more "developed" countries probably shouldn't feel too superior on the latter front.) But neither of those things is really a major negative for visitors, particularly if your destination is outside of BA. Casey and Bonner weren't starting a bank, but rather a resort, and if the Argentine government wants to destroy the financial system and make things even cheaper for people with currencies other than the peso, that's not good for the citizens of Argentina but it's probably a wash for people interested in vacationing there. That would all be more comforting if I thought the governments of the West were more ethical than the Argentine one, as opposed to slightly less brazen or less desperate. We may yet see nationalization in some form of privately held retirement portfolios in at least the US.
  7. julius


    Estancia de Cafayate I've been to the area. It is extremely remote, pretty, and thinly populated. Nothing like Buenos Aires.
  8. julius


    The macro structure of the USSR economy was far more damaged. There is still a lot of room for free enterprise in the US, even now, and still some productive activity. If permitted by the various governments that can mitigate things considerably. If not (price controls, etc) things could get quite exciting.
  9. I think that $188 billion is an average over the week, not per day, though the wording is confusing. http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2008...k-lending_N.htm
  10. julius

    Prepare for Deflation

    Could you clarify what you mean by this? Debt implies that someone owes someone else something, and since modern currencies are not redeemable, I do not understand "debt" in this context.
  11. Well, all of this is highly regulated, and regulated markets are in general inefficient. I don't personally know if there is skulduggery beyond the regulation. In the US, you can opt out by using a cash account, though I believe that also means you can't trade stock options. The argument for shorting is that is helps the price of the shares reach equilibrium sooner, and that seems plausible to me. Note that ordinary shorting has very substantial risks such that if you are not good at it, you are going to go broke. And if you are good at it, that would imply your negative opinions of companies at certain prices were correct. As for the brokers - the ones I referred to specialized in small-cap stocks, mostly resource. They have also heard all the excuses incompetent management can give for the poor performance of the stock prices of their companies.
  12. julius

    Prepare for Deflation

    I am not sure I completely understand what you are saying here, but let me try approaching this slightly differently. Central bank rates are one step removed from the actual operations central banks do, in that they set a policy rate and then buy and sell some kind of bond - generally government bonds - to maintain that rate. To the degree that the market is already where they wish it to be, they do nothing. If rates are above, then they buy bonds, which increase their prices and lowers the rate, until the desired effect is achieved. If below, they do the opposite - sell bonds until the rate is high enough. There are two interesting things here: first, any money they spend in this process they create, and any received is destroyed. Second, these processes are asymmetric in that there is no limit to how much money may be created, but any given central bank has only so many assets to sell. (Bernanke made this point in his speech on deflation on November 21, 2002.) This is not the only way to create money, but the money thus created is "high-powered" money and may be pyramided on many times through fractional-reserve banking. (Central banks do have tools to control that such as reserve ratios and other regulatory powers.) Now, those of us who are not a fan of fiat currencies are generally concerned about them for some set of the following reasons: 1) The history of fiat currencies indicates that they are bad as a store of value. 2) The attempt to manage the business cycle is either unhelpful in moving towards the goal of eliminating the business cycle, or is the cause of our current severe business cycles. (See Austrian business cycle theory for one view on this.) 3) The ability of the central bank to inflate indefinitely, in concert with its lender of last resort powers, has has created significant moral hazard and postponed the reckoning for various bad practices of today's citizens and governments. 4) The temptation of inflating away the liabilities of governments and citizens will only grow greater as the situation deteriorates. The reason many then turn to gold is that it cannot be created by governments, it is reasonably scarce, portable, and so forth. Depending on how one holds it, one may not also depend on a corporation, government, or other entity honoring its promises. (Though of course governments can and have banned it.) Now, countering some of the prior facts is the potentially deflationary effect of debt destruction, recession, and perhaps a depression. The question is whether we will have general deflation in the money supply, or inflation. Partly this depends on which monetary aggregate you examine, and partly on what you think the governments will do if confronted with deflation. Many people that I respect have taken the view that we will have deflation. I tend to believe we will have inflation - but we could both be right if we first have deflation which is then countered with sufficient money printing. We'll have to see how it goes.
  13. When you short a share, your broker is supposed to borrow that share from someone who owns it, and then sell it for you to someone who has placed a buy order. In the US, shares may only be borrowed from margin accounts, not cash accounts - I do not know the situation in the UK. It is deemed that you have consented to having your shares borrowed by holding them in a margin account. If you "naked" short a share, the share that you are selling is never borrowed. It is replaced by an indicator of ownership - the end buyer (since you are the seller, there must be a buyer) thinks they own the shares, but they don't. Both of these acts obviously increase the supply of shares, and therefore will have some impact on the price, but the latter has no limit, unlike the former, where there are only so many shares in margin accounts to borrow. (And those who invest in penny stocks would be very unwise to use margin.) For what it's worth, while Puplava & co. definitely believe this is a big issue, the brokers I have spoken to are unconvinced.
  14. It's a great book, and your posting of those review has reminded me that I really should read it again. It's sort of proto-New Urbanist, as it was published in 1977. It crystallized a few things about house design and got me thinking about the different levels of structure in human communities. (Though I don't always agree with all the patterns, the smaller ones in particular make a lot of sense. The larger ones I am more dubious about, but I'm not coming at it from a New Urbanist perspective.) I haven't read (and don't have yet) any of his really recent stuff. I need to go to a bookstore and flip through a copy.
  15. Yes, there will be fewer "rich" people, but there will still be relative differences in what people can afford. I think one's viewpoint here depends on exactly how bad things will get. If you read the Oil Drum website, many folks there are essentially calling for something close to the end of modern civilization. I'm not that pessimistic at this point, though I think it's possible. (Note that modern civilization doesn't mean any particular government or nation.) A lot of why I am not quite that pessimistic is I think some of the doomsayers underestimate the adaptability of humans. But maybe that discussion belongs in a different thread. I think a lot of people choose suburbs because the cities have one or more of expensive housing, high crime, high taxes, and horrible schools. At least the last three aren't inextricably linked with the concept of cities, but in the US they usually are. Many also don't like the density, but the combination of all these factors tips them over the edge. And then once you need a car to get to a job, the city becomes either very inconvenient or very expensive, or both. It may be worth pointing out that the flexibility of workplace granted by automobile transportation is a significant benefit for anyone with specialized skills. HOA regulations almost always have things to say about what color you paint your front door, but in my area they also require, for example, permission for gardens, and forbid them entirely in front of the house. (Since one is also generally only permitted to cut down a tree per year, the lack of sun sometimes renders the garden problem irrelevant anyway.) In the condo I used to live in, one was not permitted to store bicycles or dry laundry on the porch to maintain a certain "atmosphere". All of this tends to drive me nuts, though that's mostly a matter of personal taste.