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The Popular Denunciation of "Profits"

The word profit has remarkably become synonymous with greed, avarice and gluttony per the modern lexicon. Hatred for profits has become so widespread that attendees of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, as one particular video illustrates, even banded together in agreement around the notion of completely banning them.

While it is understandable that so many Americans have become so distressed by the state of affairs in the United States, they are ironically protesting for the advancement of forces that will serve only to make their lives even worse.

Profits and savings are two of the main benefactors that are so popularly maligned in political circles that any shrewd and politically-correct economist will desperately squirm around them when describing the concepts of basic economics in front of a general audience.

A profit basically represents a case in which an individual, or collectively a market of individuals, assigns a value to a good which exceeds the value assigned to it by …
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America's Great Depression: A Cautionary Tale

Yet another YouTube video shares an incredibly myopic perspective on the subject of economics: this time, we’re dealing with a revisionist review of the Great Depression. 

For the reader in search of a deep dive into the events surrounding the Great Depression, American economist Murray Rothbard elucidates this subject in vivid, uncompromising detail in his 1963 treatise America's Great Depression

Unfortunately, far too many academics, broadcasters, columnists and policymakers rely on convenient shorthand explanations of history for the more robust and comprehensive history-telling to even temporarily thwart the social-inertial currents of conventional wisdom, which inexorably propagate from fanciful fairytales and comic-book strips that have been indelibly etched into the collective memory of the masses. Of course, nearly every follower of politics can appreciate the power of bumper-sticker ideology: if it doesn't fit legibly on a 3"x11.5" sticker, then it probably …

YouTube is (Economically) Illiterate

In yet another hypnotic YouTube video, a channel with more than 350,000 subscribers parrots nonsense about the nature of money.



In the following paragraphs, I will dispel some of these popular myths by adding clarity and historical context for improved understanding. 

For starters, we will focus on the reported symbiosis between China and the United States.

In characterizing this international dynamic, the speaker commits a common accounting mistake: "We send money to China in exchange for goods and services, but get very little back." Indeed, the United States' trade deficit with China means the precise opposite of this. 

It doesn't even require an economist to point this out, as the ubiquity of Made in China nearly speaks for itself, rooted in China's status as the world's greatest exporter to the United States.

In its most recent report on balance of trade, the month of October, the United States even posted its highest monthly trade deficit over the past ten y…

The Economics of Vintage Luxury: The Wristwatch Phenomenon

“After the electric light goes into general use, none but the extravagant will burn tallow candles.”

This prophetic proclamation by American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison, printed by the New York Herald on January 4, 1880, aptly characterizes the modern market for mechanical and automatic watches, which serve today as extravagant showcases of wealth, or pretense thereof.

Just as with the tallow candles of old, the mechanical watch returns its wearer to a treasured past, full of sacred ideals and aspirational grandeur.

A great many, however, confuse the end retail price for an expression of quality, rather than one reflective of the voracious demand for recapturing the former.

This is the very subject of this writing, to disentangle fact from fiction, and to expose the real causes of the costs incurred.

Despite the illogical rumblings of the luxury watch community, the retail price is dictated not by intrinsic or utility value, nor exclusively by the cost of production, but by fact…

The Total War on Poverty

In the history of combat, total war has been defined as the unrestricted use of weaponry, territory and combatants to achieve a political end, with a complete disregard for existing law.

The War on Poverty, officially introduced in the United States by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 State of the Union address, takes the same appearance, deviating only by tools, actors and optics.

In total, the two forms of combat tend to exclusively serve special interests at grave economic and personal cost borne by others who bear virtually no influence over their operation, who stand to derive little to no benefit.

As Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz promulgated, "War is the continuation of politics with other means."

The War on Poverty is scarcely any different, but its effects are far more insidious.

The mission to "end poverty" is always a false face for bureaucratic aggrandizement. The only way to produce this desirable end is by incidence,…

Never Confuse Brains with a Bull Market: Bitcoin's Capitulation Phase

Over the previous week, bitcoin has declined a full 30 percent, marking a 78-percent decline from its peak back on December 17, 2017. 

This hasn't kept the bitcoin bulls and hodlers from trying to sound smart.

Faux crypto advisors still abound on YouTube, conducting spurious technical analyses and setting target buy-in prices for a speculative risk asset that is primarily owned and manipulated by a narrow segment of the population, that is visibly non-correlated against market developments, and that plainly lacks sufficient trading history and stability to support such public claims which serve exclusively as a platform for fame-hungry YouTubers to get in on the prediction front so they can look smart if the crypto asset, or cryptocurrency, trades accordingly. 

Meanwhile, these talking heads have absolutely no idea about the asset's utility value, yet they stake claims about target levels which essentially operate from the yet-untested assumption of utility. 

Moreover, the crypto …

Bitcoin: An Ornately Compelling Transfer of Wealth

In a 2017 interview with Fox Business, venture capitalist Peter Thiel identified bitcoin (XBT) as the "cyber equivalent to gold." 

While talk of this comparison has endured for just about as long as the cryptocurrency itself, Thiel's statement showcases more acutely just how highly imaginative and seductive the mental gymnastics have become: not only have successful entrepreneurs bought into its functionality, they have also endorsed a comparison between one asset that is usable in and of itself, absent trade, and another whose usability stems exclusively from its tradability.

The fact that these figureheads are so confident plainly speaks volumes about an experimental asset, or cryptocurrency, whose identity, use case and value change by the minute. 

Of course, when the value of any asset proves wildly unpredictable, so, too, diminishes the tradability of that asset, especially when bidders intend to exercise that vaunted store-of-value feature.

Ultimately, a store of value…