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Friday, March 30, 2012

That Guy Is at It Again

More on social cycles at ThinkMarkets.

4 comments:

  1. I'm noticing a cycle.

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  2. This is great, Gene. Now instead of the really long posts where you dissect a demonstrably false claim by a blogger you've found a nut crazy enough that you can just link to him without further explanation.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I've been using traffic as a mental model for economics for a while. I think it's almost as good an analogous relationship as using plumbing to think about basic electrical circuitry.

    - physical speed -> velocity of $, trade
    - distance of travel -> accumulation of wealth
    - fuel -> spending of wealth
    - stopping for fuel -> capital expenditure
    - driving recklessly -> excessively leveraging capital (or short termism)
    - accident -> default (the greater the speed going in, the greater the disruption)

    The interesting thing (at least it looks that way while sitting on the LIE) is how it works to some degree when you think about how traveling and industry have changed over time. When people were being drawn around by horses, a "disruption" had a much more limited blast radius, roads weren't the only way to get around, etc. Also, if you were to take a person out of the 19th century and put them into a car on a freeway, he would think we were out of our minds, and I tend to think he'd be right. See Jim Grant's speech to the NY Fed a couple weeks ago for one person's guess about how our ancestors would regard current events.

    The analogy mostly falls apart with the consequences of bad behavior. Traffic is ruled, ultimately, by the laws of nature. The economy can be manipulated in turns by government and those with the most to lose, to the point where it looses touch with reality.

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