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Blog entries from anciendaze

anciendaze has a total of 70 entries.

  1. anciendaze
    This is an effort to pull this discursive discourse together into something coherent. I'll start with the purely economic side. At the largest scale we have a macroeconomic view found in "This Time is Different". There is a great deal of dense material in this book, but I'm only going to mention a little. Their figure P-1 shows a graph of countries in default, weighted by their percentage...
    anciendaze, Aug 27, 2011
  2. anciendaze
    While some problems can be traced far back in history, the fundamental change in the economy before the current crisis can be conveniently bounded by the War on Terror. This is a touchy subject, and I will do my best to avoid unnecessary judgments. There is an economic aspect which needs to be highlighted, especially since the attacks were conceived as economic warfare. In short form, many...
    anciendaze, Aug 20, 2011
  3. anciendaze
    My last peroration concerned the way one major component of the economic fiasco of 2008 could have been made visible. A diagram, on a single (if large) piece of paper, of the way credit default swaps (CDS) connected major financial institutions could have made it obvious at a glance that the major financial institutions were joined at the hip when it came to risk of defaults. When it came to...
    anciendaze, Aug 19, 2011
  4. anciendaze
    The latest financial news seems to be that the U.S. economic system isn't as bad off as it seemed; paradoxically, this is because Europe may be in a bigger mess than previously thought. A meeting between leaders of Germany and France did not produce dramatic results, which markets were hoping to hear. Hidden by other excitement we now learn that German economic growth has been flat for...
    anciendaze, Aug 17, 2011
  5. anciendaze
    Our global education in modern economics continues apace. Recent financial news introduced many people to the unfamiliar term 'quantitative easing', as well as the acronym FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee). This is a measure designed to boost the money supply when ordinary fiscal and monetary policy have otherwise failed. Normally, treasuries and central banks use a kind of...
    anciendaze, Aug 10, 2011
  6. anciendaze
    My goals in starting this series have been obscured by subsequent events, but one underlying theme has been strongly reinforced. Individual humans exhibit 'bounded rationality', even when pursuing narrow self-interest defined in numerical terms. If any participants in the debate in Congress intended to raise the costs of borrowing, and contract the supply of money, they were very quiet about...
    anciendaze, Aug 7, 2011
  7. anciendaze
    Events have provided the excitement I feared. (Brace yourself for another digression.) S&P has announced that the U.S. government is about as reliable a debtor as Belgium, (which can scarcely agree on the language in which to debate issues.) Their published reasoning offers a little for each participant in the debate. They wanted firm commitments to larger debt reduction over the next decade....
    anciendaze, Aug 6, 2011
  8. anciendaze
    Today's financial news provokes yet another digression from me on the origin of the Eurozone. Don't expect this to match official histories. We have been asking what is this stuff called money, without pinning it down. One common assumption is that money is something issued and regulated by a government. This assumes a political entity must exist before the currency. This is not always...
    anciendaze, Aug 5, 2011
  9. anciendaze
    A long list of people who have tried to analyze wars from an economic standpoint have ended up with contradictory conclusions. In "Vom Kreige", Clausewitz couldn't find any separate purpose for war. "War is the extension of politics by other means." (Possibly true, but this begs another question. Two very different books to tackle the subject seriously are "The Statistics of Deadly Quarrels",...
    anciendaze, Aug 5, 2011
  10. anciendaze
    During the Great Depression there was a recurrent theme of "Where did all the money go?" It has been a constant surprise to me that scarcely anyone asks where the money which had fueled the roaring twenties came from. My answer is that the U.S. enjoyed prosperity because all parties in the European war now called World War I used deficit spending to finance the war, and the U.S. was late to...
    anciendaze, Aug 4, 2011
  11. anciendaze
    Today's news tells me the U.S. will not go out of business just yet. (This will prevent me from buying some choice items at the going-out-of-business sale.) Further down the page I find reports allowing me to add two more financial institutions to the list of those still figuring out what hit them in the past. The question of what to do about the present situation remains. (In the context...
    anciendaze, Aug 2, 2011
  12. anciendaze
    While I don't pretend to understand the current budget deal, I will hazard some observations about things noticed in the previous week. We had a House plan from Republicans, a Senate plan from Democrats, and a proposal from the Tea party for a balanced budget amendment, plus an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The bottom line is simple, rounded to the nearest trillion, the...
    anciendaze, Aug 1, 2011
  13. anciendaze
    I have previously suggested the problem with research on ME/CFS centers on a lack of funding for meaningful research with some chance of changing a dismal situation. I have also traced some current controversies to what I believe were scientific errors made decades ago, even before the label CFS had been invented. As a parallel example of the persistence of error and dysfunctional organization,...
    anciendaze, Jul 30, 2011
  14. anciendaze
    One aspect of the Lipkin talk at WPI was surreal, his appeal for someone to write a check for one million dollars to research CFS, MS, Parkinson's or diabetes. This at an institute which has been effectively blacklisted ever since they had the temerity to claim a new retrovirus was loose in the general population and blood supply. He had earlier covered how pyrosequencing could provide...
    anciendaze, Jul 22, 2011
  15. anciendaze
    The last landing of a Space Shuttle provided a poignant moment for those interested in space exploration. For the foreseeable future U.S. astronauts will be riding expendable Russian rockets into space at some $60,000,000 a pop. That this represents a considerable savings reveals quite a story of innovation gone awry. The Space Transportation System (STS) was intended to make frequent access...
    anciendaze, Jul 22, 2011