Apr 18

It seems like whenever a particular market has hurt a bunch of people, and we all know that’s happened lately with a lot of markets and a lot of people, the chorus rises up against that group that surely must have made things worse: speculators.    But amidst the hysteria and hand-wringing, it’s instructive to calmly walk through the scenarios that speculators and their trading counterparties find themselves in as they go about their business.

Merriam-Webster defines “speculate” as:

1 a : to meditate on or ponder a subject : reflect b : to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively
2 : to assume a business risk in hope of gain; especially : to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuations

So it seems that to be a speculator, you need to have a view on something.   That’s generally the easy part, in that most people will express a view on just about anything.  Whether it is “correct” is another matter entirely, as is the issue of who decides what “correct” is.   But acting on those meditations and reflections results in the market itself:  two people having different views on the value of some tradable thing, each being willing to swap ownership.

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Apr 04

As I’ve written before, “Nothing is more dangerous than the combination of bad ideas and great communication”.    I want to add to that, by including voter apathy.

Witness the birth of ObamaCare, and the justifiable rage that has ensued as a result of the state taking one sixth of our private economy into its control.   In the days before the historic vote, note that not even the New York Times could produce a poll saying that a majority of Americans wanted this bill to become law.  Most remarkably, as of March 29th, a stunning 54% of likely voters would see it repealed.   In morphing their supposed mandate for “change” as pertaining to healthcare and health insurance policy into a supposed mandate for this bill, Obama’s operatives reached their peak (thus far) in disingenuousness.

The rage exists simply because our representatives did not represent.   Instead, they blatantly misrepresented.   Continue reading »

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