Life is one long struggle in the dark.
BALTIMORE – In January of this year, the Empire Herald reported that a “meth-addled couple” had eaten a homeless man in New York City’s Central Park. Later, Now8News reported that a can of cookie dough had “exploded in a woman’s vagina”; the woman was alleged to be shoplifting.
The fellows depicted above certainly mesh perfectly with the image of meth-addled cannibals conjured by our imagination… A few interesting questions regarding this event remain unanswered to this day. Did they marinate their meal? Fill it with stuffing? What were their wine and salad choices? Was their dinner roasted on a spit, cooked in a jungle wok the traditional way, or were these pale gourmets connoisseurs of wino tartare?
Surface Temperatures Plunge – the Great Pause Continues
Last year’s El Nino phenomenon temporarily provided succor to climate alarmists, who were increasingly bothered by the “Great Pause” – the fact that the tiny amount of warming experienced since the last cooling cycle ended in the late 1970s had apparently stopped. Despite trace amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere continuing to climb, mother nature decided to disobey alarmist models and temperatures went sideways for about 20 years (or even longer, depending on the data set).
Too bad penguins actually don’t live at the North Pole! One probably should refrain from obtaining climate information from rabidly leftist blogs. Incidentally, the same very same ice-floe has carried lost polar bears in the past, in particular the species “ursus bogus”. If one looks around a bit, there’s also a version with three penguins…
Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
Ordinary ideals of Americana range as far and wide as the North American continent. The valued conviction of one American vastly differs from that of another. Joe from Santa Fe may have little connection with Joe in South Bend or Joe in South Boston.
Heaven and Hell
Illustration credit: Black Sabbath
Illusory Riches, Obvious Impoverishment
I address this essay to two groups. One group is those among the liberty movement, who believe that there’s nothing wrong with inequality. These are often Objectivists, who unknowingly defend a regime that artificially suppresses working people.
And suddenly, you feel much lighter…
A Monumental Work
In November of 1876, one hundred and forty years ago, Johannes Brahms’ monumental First Symphony was first heard, performed in Karlsruhe, Germany. The much anticipated work – which took Brahms over 20 years to complete – has become part of the canon of Western music. Ironically, the premiere of The Ring by Brahms’ supposed rival and fellow musical genius, Richard Wagner, was performed for the first time in the same year.
Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, in a 1981 performance by the Vienna Philharmonics Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
Curiouser and Curiouser
BALTIMORE – “How President Clinton Will Handle a Hostile Congress,” reads a headline in the Financial Times. The “pink paper” isn’t waiting for the votes to be counted. Many Republicans, too, have given up trying to get Donald Trump into the White House.
Let’s just skip this step!
Photo via usapoliticsnow.com
Lurid Media Coverage
In recent months, more and more of our clients and friends from overseas are asking us whether it is safe to travel to Europe. These fears are understandable, given the media coverage of the tragic events that occurred this year. The press painted a sinister and truly graphic picture of Europe as a war zone, as a target of global terrorism.
Inside the Brussels airport shortly after the bomb blast in March.
Photo credit: Pavel Ohal
There has been no greater advocate of mass Muslim migration into Europe than the purported head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis. At a recent conference, he urged that “asylum seekers” be accepted, “through the acts of mercy that promote their integration into the European context and beyond.”*
Before we let Antonius continue with his refreshingly politically incorrect disquisition, we want to remind readers of two previous articles that have appeared here on the topic of the current pope, one that contrasted Pope John Paul II’s deep understanding of economics and economic freedom with the muddled socialism of Pope Francis (see A Tale of Two Popes for the details) and our critique of Francis’ green-red encyclical Laudatio Si – Sulla Cura Della Casa Commune (see Papal Eco-Hysteria for the details on that one). Frankly, we have no idea what possessed the College of Cardinals when it picked him. Since when does the Church feel a need to pander to the left?
An argument against absolutely free markets comes up often. What about so-called natural monopolies? So-called infrastructure projects (e.g. sewage plants) have high barriers to entry, and are a challenge to true competition.
This is the kind of chart you will find in modern economics textbooks on the topic of “monopoly”. Allegedly, monopolies will achieve “abnormal profits” and their allocative efficiency will be sub-optimal as well, hence they are considered an example of “market failure”. Not to put too fine a point to it, this is complete bunkum (sorry, economics students – you are being taught piffle!). For one thing, there is not a shred of empirical evidence for this. On the contrary, over many decades, papers published in economic journals that have studied “natural monopoly” type situations throughout history, had to admit that the exact opposite of what this diagram suggests has actually happened in free competitive markets in which the State did not intervene on the suspicion that it had to counter the threat of a private “monopoly”. The theory on monopoly may look superficially convincing, if not for the fact that Rothbard came along in 1963 and completely debunked it in Man, Economy and State. We have a more detailed article on the topic in the works that will flesh out many of the points made by Keith here – stay tuned! [PT] – click to enlarge.
Mad as a Hatter
Somewhere, someone first said “bull markets don’t die of old age.” We suppose this throwaway phrase was first uttered in a time and place much like today. That is, in the midst of a protracted bull market where stock prices had detached from the assets and earnings of companies their shares represent claim to.
They may not die of old age… but they do occasionally die.
Photo credit: Brett Cole
Champion of the Downtrodden?
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
– H.L. Mencken
A mass e-mail has been making the rounds lately, and it is quite possible that many of our readers have already seen this. For those who haven’t, we wanted to share this moment of hilarity provided to us by Deep State candidate Hillary Clinton. It revolves around this picture:
Hillary Clinton delivers a speech – the topic was reportedly “inequality”.
Photo credit: Getty Images
As Ye Sow…
DUBLIN – Dublin is a delightful city. But it is backward. It was warm last night. From the vent, no Arctic air issued at gale force. So, we did something retrograde… something that you can’t do in most U.S. business hotels: We opened the window.
Ha’penny bridge in Dublin. Where are the gun reports and the sirens at night? How can anyone sleep in such a quiet place?
Photo via ireland.com
Most read in the last 20 days:
- India: The World’s Fastest Growing Large Economy?
Popular Narrative India has been the world’s favorite country for the last three years. It is believed to have superseded China as the world’s fastest growing large economy. India is expected to grow at 7.5%. Compare that to the mere 6.3% growth that China has “fallen” to. India's quarterly annualized GDP growth rate since 2008, according to MOSPI (statistics ministry) - click to enlarge. The IMF, the World Bank, and the international media have celebrated...
- Don’t Blame Trump When the World Ends
Alien Economics There was, indeed, a time when clear thinking and lucid communication via the written word were held in high regard. As far as we can tell, this wonderful epoch concluded in 1936. Everything since has been tortured with varying degrees of gobbledygook. One should probably not be overly surprised that the abominable statist rag Time Magazine is fulsomely praising Keynes' nigh unreadable tome. We too suspect that this book has actually lowered the planet-wide IQ –...
- What is the Best Time to Buy Stocks?
Chasing Entry Points Something similar to the following has probably happened to you at some point: you want to buy a stock on a certain day and in order to time your entry, you start watching how it trades. Alas, the price rises and rises, and your patience begins to wear thin. Shouldn't a correction set in soon and provide you with a more favorable buying opportunity? Apple-Spotting – a five minute intraday chart showing the action in AAPL on February 1, 2017 - an...
- Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting, Q1 2017 and Some Additional Reflections
Looming Currency and Liquidity Problems The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Advisory Board was held on January 11, approximately one month ago. A download link to a PDF document containing the full transcript including charts an be found at the end of this post. As always, a broad range of topics was discussed; although some time has passed since the meeting, all these issues remain relevant. Our comments below are taking developments that have taken place since then into...
- Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Gold and Silver Divergence – Precious Metals Supply and Demand Last week, the prices of the metals went up, with the gold price rising every day and the silver price stalling out after rising 42 cents on Tuesday. The gold-silver ratio went up a bit this week, an unusual occurrence when prices are rising. Everyone knows that the price of silver is supposed to outperform — the way Pavlov’s Dogs know that food comes after the bell. Speculators usually make it...
- Trump and the Draining of the Swamp
Swamp Critters BALTIMORE – The Dow is back above the 20,000-point mark. Federal debt, as officially tallied, is up to nearly $20 trillion. The two go together, egging each other on. The Dow is up 20 times since 1980. So is the U.S. national debt. Debt feeds the stock market and the swamp. What’s not up so much is real output, as measured by GDP. It’s up only 6.4 times over the same period. Debt and asset prices have been rising three times as fast as GDP for 36 years! Best...
- Making America Great Again – How to Judge Policy
A Simple Formula MIAMI – How do we know if new programs will make the economy better... or worse? Here’s a simple formula: W = rv (w-w – w-l) That is, wealth is equal to the real value of win-win exchanges minus the loss from win-lose exchanges. Yes, dear reader, it’s as simple as that. Like a whittler working on a piece of wood, we’ve shaved so much off, there is nothing left of it... except the essential heartwood. When devising a win-win,...
- When Trumponomics Meets Abenomics
Thirty Year Retread What will President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talk about when they meet later today? Will they gab about what fishing holes the big belly bass are biting at? Will they share insider secrets on what watering holes are serving up the stiffest drinks? [ed. note: when we edited this article for Acting Man, the meeting was already underway] Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian and militarist, meets America's...
- Gold Sector Update – What Stance is Appropriate?
The Technical Picture - a Comparison of Antecedents We wanted to post an update to our late December post on the gold sector for some time now (see “Gold – Ready to Spring Another Surprise?” for the details). Perhaps it was a good thing that some time has passed, as the current juncture seems particularly interesting. We received quite a few mails from friends and readers recently, expressing concern about the inability of gold stocks to lead, or even confirm strength in gold of...
- The Great Wailing
Regret and Suffering BALTIMORE – Victoribus spolia... So far, the most satisfying thing about the Trump win has been the howls and whines coming from the establishment. Each appointment – some good, some bad from our perspective – has brought forth such heavy lamentations. Oh no! Alaric the Visigoth is here! Hide the women and children! And don't forget the vestal virgins, if you can find any... You’d think Washington had been invaded by Goths, now...
- Receive a One Percent Gift When Buying or Selling a Home
How to Save Money When Buying or Make More When Selling a Home In your professional capacity and perhaps also in your private life, you may be closely involved with financial and commodity markets. Trading in stocks, bonds or futures is part of your daily routine. Occasionally you probably have to deal with real estate as well though – if you e.g. want to purchase an apartment or a house, or if own a home you wish to sell. The people who took this photograph probably want to...
- Silver Futures Market Assistance – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
Silver Is Pushed Up Again This week, the prices of the metals moved up on Monday. Then the gold price went sideways for the rest of the week, but the silver price jumped on Friday. Taking off for real or not? Photo credit: NASA Is this the rocket ship to $50? Will Trump’s stimulus plan push up the price of silver? Or just push silver speculators to push up the price, at their own expense, again? This will again be a brief Report this week, as we are busy...