There's a famous piece of journalism on the causes of the ~2008 financial crisis, specifically the housing bubble, called The Giant Pool of Money. There's one part that always stuck out to me, and seems incredibly relevant here, so I'll highlight it [emphasis mine, at the end]:
Right, the global pool of money, that's where our story begins. Most people don't think about it, but there's this huge pool of money out there, which is basically all the money the world is saving now-- insurance companies saving for a catastrophe, pension funds saving money for retirement, the Central Bank of England saving for whatever central banks save for, all the world's savings.
A lot of money, it's about 70 trillion.
That's the head of capital market research at the International Monetary Fund, the place to go if you want to figure out how much money is in the world.
And by the way, before you finance enthusiasts start writing any letters, we do know that $70 trillion technically refers to that subset of global savings called fixed income securities. Everyone else can just ignore what I just said. Let's put $70 trillion in perspective. Do this. Think about all the money that people spend everywhere in the world, everything you bought in the last year, all of it. Then add everything Bill Gates bought, and all the rice sold in China, and that fleet of planes Boeing just sold to South Korea, all the money spent in every country on Earth in a year. That is less than $70 trillion, less than the global pool of money.
We're talking about a lot of money.
That is a lot of money.
And that money comes along with armies of very nervous men and women watching over the pool of money. Investment managers, they don't want to lose a penny of that. They don't want to lose any of that money, and, even more so, they want to make it grow bigger. But to make it grow, they have to find something to invest in.
So, most of modern history, what they did was they bought really safe and, frankly, really boring investments like treasuries and municipal bonds, boring things. But then, right before our story starts, something changed, something happened to that global pool of money.
This number doubled since 2000. In 2000 this was about $36 trillion.
So it took several hundred years for the world to get to $36 trillion. And then it took six years to get another $36 trillion.
Yeah, there has been a very sharp increase.
How does the world get twice as much money to invest? There are lots of things that happen. But the main headline is that all sorts of poor countries became kind of rich, making things like TVs and selling us oil. China, India, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia made a lot of money and banked it.
China, for example, has over a $1 trillion in its central bank. And there are office buildings in Beijing filled with math geniuses, real math geniuses, looking for a place to invest it. And the world was not ready for all this new money. There is twice as much money looking for investments, but there are not twice as many good investments.
gonna be a data scientist?
Got accepted to Lambda School! It's an intensive coding bootcamp I'll start in September: nine months of 40 hours a week online instruction, following instructors build applications and building our own under their supervision. I'm told that it's the same or more amount of coding as in a 4-year CS degree.
My acceptance is conditional on completing "precourse work" which I'm finding involves a steep learning curve. It dawned on me that this is their weeding out process. I'm not averse to the approach at all; instructional time is better spent on more complicated things than learning to define variables or importing libraries. But some of the later assignments which I haven't gotten to yet have names like linear algebra, pandas, training models with sklearn. Thankfully, there is a metric fuckton of resources online for learning the basics of python on your own.
I'll speak to my decision for the subspeciality--data science--at a later pubski.
summer 2019 curriculum
In addition to the coding I'm doing this summer, I'm training and coaching gymnastics. I'm basically living at the gym and a bagel place next to it. Had a really discouraging day today. I'm so old and stiff. Trying to remember that there are a lot of slow-going, sometimes deeply uncomfortable and miserable days that comprise the road to progress.
Officiating my best friends' wedding this Saturday; been reading my speech every day in preparation. It brings me chills. "I now have the privilege to announce--for the very first time as husband and wife--Andrew and Grace."
I think this is part of what gets at me. It's one thing if something done for the right reason happens to also be noble. It's another if a thing is done so as to telegraph to everyone watching that This Here is a Noble Act. This is mind-reading territory which can be dangerous. I don't want to second guess this reporter's motives. As far as I can tell, she wants to send her daughter to a segregated school to help her daughter's classmates, at the expense of a better school she could have sent her. But it also seems like there's a larger narrative the reporter wants her readers to read into, i.e. that white people in Dumbo are racists.
Two Fridays ago, I settled on my house. Overcome with gratitude and happiness.
Funny story. I was eagerly showing the house to a few of my friends the next evening when cop sirens and flashing red lights fill the street. We look amongst ourselves. Well, shit, we do live in Baltimore. There's always some foolishness bound to be going on. Then we hear a very stern sounding knock on my front door. Confused, I open it to greet my unexpected guests--Baltimore's finest. (Cue white privilege for not being immediately tackled to the ground.) "Sir, we're responding to a breaking and entering call, and possible house party." "Uhh... I closed on this home yesterday."
Then my next door neighbor steps outside and starts apologizing profusely. She's been living in her house for fourteen years, the last year and half of which my house has stood empty. She had no idea the house had been sold. Earlier I had knocked on her door but she wasn't home yet. The cops thought it was a rather cute use of their time and greeted me to the neighborhood.
All in all, I'm overjoyed. On the cusp of getting straight As this semester, my roommate is moving in just in time to help pay my mortgage, and I'm the block's most eligible bachelor. I'm less than two blocks away from one of Baltimore's biggest parks where I'm looking forward to a summer of soccer leagues and food truck rallies. Finishing and furnishing the basement will be my next project, so if anyone from Hubski wants to crash, have at it.