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comment by Isherwood
Isherwood  ·  217 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Today's NYT is brought to you by the letter 'secular stagnation'"

Very interesting stuff. Tangentially related - I've always wondered how a currency with a half life would work, where the longer you sit on it the less it's worth. Would that be enough to keep currency in circulation, or would it just create an industry of individuals who just launder old money for new?

kleinbl00  ·  217 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Nice to see you again, man!

"Half-life" is a useful way of thinking of inflation. I'm old and can remember when candy bars could be had at the grocery store for 40 cents. Now they're 85. The purchasing power of a dollar dropped by more than half there, at least as it relates to candy bars.

If you look at the CPI, a dollar in December 1989 has the same purchasing power as $2 in January 2019. That puts the "half life" of the American dollar at about nineteen years.

So. American money has a half-life in the same regime as strontium-90. Sit on it and it will be worthless. This is basically what drives investment - you put your money in a bank rather than under the mattress because the hope is that you make interest that at least keeps up with inflation. It never does, though. You have to put your money in bonds and stocks and real estate and capital projects for it to beat inflation which is the "engine that drives the economy" or some shit - investing, in a nutshell.

Things get into trouble if the risk of losing your money is greater than the gain of investing. Then everybody locks their money up in the bank because a guaranteed rate beats a high risk of loss. "locks their money up in a bank" is bad for "liquidity" - there's cash, but nobody can spend it. So you lower interest rates so that people are forced to invest their money. You create a disincentive for saving rather than an incentive for investing.

Right now, something like a third of the world's money is under negative interest rates - the banks charge you money to hang onto it. That's because the world's central banks can't provide enough disincentive to make you invest. It is economic crazytown and it's only numbness that doesn't have economists howling from the rooftops (they did a bunch when ZIRP and NIRP - Zero and Negative Interest Rate Policy respectively - came to town). In other words, the smart guys in the room are real close to the metal here; they're running out of reasons for you to not put your money under the mattress.

Because that "half-life" characteristic can be influenced. It's called the "rate of inflation." Central banks usually shoot for 3-6%. They don't hit it very often. But as you can see, if it's too high things go crazy. If it's too low things collapse.

A lot of my guys are linking to that horrible "turning japanese" video because they're 80s guys and they're scared to death of that "half life" reaching the point where money is no longer "radioactive."

Your reactor works like shit on depleted uranium.

Isherwood  ·  217 days ago  ·  link  ·  

"they're running out of reasons for you to not put your money under the mattress."

I feel this. I just had a bunch of stock vest in the company I work for and I want to sell it off because I don't want that many eggs in that basket, but I have no idea what to invest in. Everything just seems on its head crazy right now and I don't want to deal with the risk. The only thing I can think to do is put it towards the mortgage so that, if it comes to it, we could refinance and lower our payments.

I was was also going to ask here if everyone who was hot on ETH is still hot after the latest bubble, but that's not an investment as much as a novelty for me.

kleinbl00  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have thoughts.

It doesn't help that our latest bot detector cannot show a difference between a human Reddit post and a SubredditSimulator post. the chatbots that control the stock market don't know that there are fundamentals that underly their trades. (1) they're bots, they don't "know" shit (2) that's not their training data. So we've got a probability fan between two extremes:

A. The market never crashes again because it no longer means anything economic. It means what the bots think it means.

B. As soon as enough factors go Minsky, the market will behave exactly like a 737-Max8 autopilot. After all, the Max8 Autopilot doesn't "know" it's attached to a plane full of aid workers. It only knows that when it sees variable X, it responds with control Y and if you keep it within the regime it knows, it performs flawlessly.

Cryptocurrency is not, in my opinion, a good investment. It's a good speculation. You shouldn't spend more than you can afford to lose because there are way too many x-factors controlling what's going to happen. That said, the impetus of cryptocurrency in the first place was removing money from the control of central banks; Bitcoin doesn't happen without Occupy Wall Street.

If your mortgage is young you get an outsized benefit from paying into it. When crypto was high I didn't do that because (A) I was slow (B) our financial planner treated me like shit (C) we're far enough along that it wouldn't have saved us that much money. But if you're just a few years into it? BOMB that fucker.

Isherwood  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We're 3 years into the 30 year ARM with a credit union that adjusts every 5 years at a consistently reasonable rate (not max every time). Thanks to a few windfalls and moving from a real estate boomtown to a real estate mehtown, we've already managed to pay off about 1/5 of the mortgage, I just keep putting money into it. My 401k is stocked and has a steady flow, we have a stock portfolio, and I just can't think of a better way to diversify, so I guess house it is.

The bot thing is interesting. It gives me a lot to think about. I work for an ecommerce software company that makes a nifty bot for sellers. It looks at a product, finds that product for sales on amazon, and sells it for a penny less. This ensures our sellers are the ones that you're buying from. A lot of people use these pricing bots and they compete all the time to the benefit of the consumer. The problem comes not from the bots, but from the person that thinks they know what they're doing on setup. They forget to put a minimum, or to put in noncompete clauses with known "price cheats" and this will cause the market for that item to flash crash. It usually resolves itself quickly, but it costs the sellers a lot of money and, if they really bugger it up, it can put them out of business. It's kind of scary thinking the same basic premise is our economic underpinning.

kleinbl00  ·  215 days ago  ·  link  ·  

ARMs scare me on principle, but I cannot make a rational argument that interest rates are going to be rising any time soon. I don't even really remember the '70s; really, I would say if it's working for you keep on keepin' on. I understand that ARMs are the norm in Canada.

If you have ready cash in the 401(k) and an interest in keeping things agile, I've been rolling over 90-day CDs. It allows me to make a little cash with zero risk while also saying "well I don't think I'll need to buy anything for three months, anyway" and then forgetting about it.

Your bot is on point. 85% of trades in the public market are bots... but we don't even know about the dark pools.

You know what calms people down? The Run Lola Run soundtrack. So let's use that to look at 500 milliseconds of dark pool trading... in a single stock... in a single dark pool... in 2011.

Rhetorical question: what real world information could they act on if they had the ability? Those are bots making three and four bid/ask combos per millisecond. How much do you think the inherent value of any given equity changes in 0.001s?