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Category Archives for "Zeitgeist"

The “Spirit of the Age”, what is happening at a macro level and what sense can we make of this grand arc of history as we, mere pebbles in the surf, are carried along on its great waves

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This is Politics

I managed to catch a glimpse of Arif Virani’s campaign headquarters when I was driving down Jane St. in Toronto the other day. Virani is the Liberal MP for Parkdale / High-Park, whom I went up against in 2015 when I ran for the Libertarian Party of Canada. Read on

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If urgent climate action is needed, then let’s #BanPrivateJets

As the din of climate hysteria grows ever louder, the eco-pious and super-rich call for urgent and drastic action on climate change. Justin Trudeau, still licking his wounds from being outed for his multiple episodes of blackface and brownface, took more heat today as he’s criss-crossing the country ahead of the forthcoming federal election with not one, but two private jets. Read on

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Never Go Full Rhino

Last night I made the mistake of putting Ben Hunt’s The Long Now Part 2 on a tablet and brought it to bed to read. My kid had an early morning soccer practice at school today and the plan was I’d read this before turning in early. By the end of it I couldn’t sleep.

It articulated something I’ve been grappling with for so long, so clearly and so lucidly that it got my mind racing. I’m sure you all know how it is when you’re galvanized by an idea at night. You lie there in bed with your brain completely overclocked, scribbling in a notebook beside the bed. I ended up padding over to my office and emailing Mr. Hunt around midnight and he gave me permission to attach a PDF of the The Long Now Part 2 with the email I’m sending my list. It’s also online at the EpsilonTheory website.

From the very opening line, I should have known I was in for a sleepless night….
Read on

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Socialism isn’t a failure. It’s a fraud.

“Want to be rich? Start a good business.
Want to be really  rich? Become a socialist.”
— Unknown.

There is no shortage of empirical data that socialism fails every time it has been tried, and leaves the largest body count in it’s wake. Dr. Kristian Niemtietz’s “Socialism: The Failed Idea that Never Dies” documents the three distinct stages socialism goes through

  1. The Honeymoon Phase
  2. The What Aboutery Phase
  3. And finally, when all that’s left is a smoking crater and a pile of bodies, “the not real socialism phase”

Niemietz documents each occurrence of socialism in the 20th century in his book to show that central planning and redistribution simply do not work.

Then there’s the Black Book of Communism, which tallies up the body count of the socialist regimes of the 20th century (over 100 million souls).

So it’s curious, why are our intellectual, cultural and sundry political and economic elites decrying capitalism and promulgating socialism as a cure for societies perceived ills?

Read on

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The Disturbing Rise of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

(Read on Medium)

Lately, we’ve suddenly been hearing a lot about Modern Monetary Theory (“MMT”) in the mainstream media. It could be that with the election of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to congress, MMT’s star will rise with hers as she is reportedly an adherent and possibly views MMT as a means to fund her Green New Deal.

As we see below, MMT has been around for some time, having come out of the Chartalism school in the first half of the 1900’s and was made into MMT in the early 90’s by Warren Mosler, apparently after a “long steam” with Donny Rumsfeld, who then referred him to Art Laffer (creator of the Laffer Curve). MMT mostly flew under the radar until around the time of the Global Financial Crisis and is now clearly spiking into public awareness. Read on

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Shut Up and Play Yer Cards

A few months ago I had formed a useful metaphor about the underlying mechanisms at play when those concerned with social justice want to improve things for the greater good. This is nothing new, Bill Bonner & Lila Rajiva wrote an entire book on this called Mobs, Markets & Messiah’s wherein they examined the trail of wreckage left behind by what they called “world improvers” like Che Guevara, Pol Pot, Stalin, the list goes on. Read on

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Escape from the BUMMER Machine

(read on Medium)

(A long overdue review of Jaron Laniers’ “10 Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now“)

In 1978 a former public relations and advertising exec, Jerry Mander wrote “Four Arguments For the Elimination of Television”. Mander in essence argued that “the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology itself, and thus cannot be reformed.” In his preface (“The Belly of the Beast”), Mander spoke of:

“learn[ing] that it is possible to speak through media directly into people’s heads and then, like some otherworldly magician, leave images inside that can cause people to do what they might otherwise never have thought to do.”

That was television. At the time it was the killer app of mass manipulation in the tradition of Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud who created the art and science of “public relations” in the first place. As I’ve observed in a much earlier writing, it was Bernays who was among the first figures in modernity to fully grasp the the power of using the technology of the day to create all-pervasive narratives to shape public opinion. He embraced the term “propaganda”: Read on

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The End Of An Empire in Two Data Sets

[ Read on Medium ]

There is an ever-widening recognition that started some time ago that we are living through an age of transition from a unipolar world that existed after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to a new multi-polar one.  This has been spoken about outside polite company for at least the past decade (I remember William Buckler, the Privateer, was already saying as much as far back as 1998-1999 when I became a subscriber, if not earlier). It was never a matter of “if” as much as “when” and what the ultimate catalyst will be. Read on

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Should You Delete Your Facebook Page?

In 1994 Wired magazine ran a short story entitled “Hack the spew” . This was back when Wired was actually cutting edge and not the insufferable Silicon Valley stroke job it became after Conde Naste acquired it. In it our antihero “Stark” finds himself inexplicably recruited as a kind of data scout, looking for viable consumer trends emerging from the fully immersive, all encompassing data field known as “The Spew”.

“When a schmo buys something on the I-way it goes into his Profile, and if it happens to be something that he recently saw advertised there, we call that interesting, and when he uses the I-way to phone his friends and family, we Profile Auditors can navigate his social web out to a gazillion fractal iterations, the friends of his friends of his friends of his friends, what they buy and what they watch and if there’s a correlation.”

The Spew of course, was the near future analogy of where the internet was headed, and when I went looking to link to it for this post, the piece turned out to be written by none other than Neal Stephenson. That means I read “Hack The Spew” and it made an impression on me before I even knew who Stephenson was or perhaps was on his way to becoming. Few would argue that Stephenson has a gift for seeing the general ambience of our oncoming future.  Cryptonomiconuncannily anticipated the impetus toward crypto-currencies; the current systemic dysfunction of national sovereignty worldwide was foretold in Snow Crash; so it follows that all this will likely culminate in something that resembles The Diamond Age. Read on

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Welcome to Bitcoin’s “Trough of Disillusionment”

 

The Gartner Group is widely credited with formulating the “Hype Cycle”, a trend curve that is said to model the adaptation of a new technology or paradigm.

Simply put it looks like this:

via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle

(read on Medium)

It certainly seems to have held sway regarding the Internet revolution, where the Peak of Inflated Expectations culminated in the Nasdaq blow-off-top of 2000 and the ensuing “Tech Wreck” crash. I remember that well, for a number of reasons including that my co-founders and I were still in “start-up” mode with our company, easyDNS.  I remember profoundly misunderstanding what was happening in those final few months.

I remember thinking, literally “this is an entirely new economy, it’s not about running profitable businesses anymore, it’s about running up your stock price.” There was a Sun Microsystems commercial that was near music video length, set to the soundtrack of the iconic rock track “Hocus Pocus” whose sole call-to-action at the end of the ad was the “SUNW” ticker symbol. And then it all imploded. That was when I started seriously learning about economics, history and finance.

I remember sitting in a diner one night having a coffee with a friend, mere months before the crash. Bullshit .COM’s were getting funded all over the place and everybody else, except me it seemed, were becoming millionaires overnight. Read on